Guest Post- Shailesh Gandhi
I have been hearing about problems of identifying a person through the
Aadhar card system.
However, my touching faith in the integrity and capability of India’s IT
professionals made me believe that the technological solution must be
very sound and the errors if any would be negligible. My friends Aruna
Roy and Nikhil Dey had told me that workers who work with their hands have
their thumbs getting worn out and hence being deprived of their legitimate
rations, pensions and other entitlements. I had again believed that these
may be rare occurrences which were being anecdotally described.Other
friends have also been highlighting serious flaws. I trust and have great
faith in all these friends but felt that they were perhaps picking holes in
one of the greatest technological feat of India for small discrepancies.
However, yesterday my personal experience alters my perception, and I think
there may be serious flaws which are being wished away. I have taken my
Aadhar card in the last three years, and have only shown it or quoted the
number sometimes. I do not wash clothes or do manual work which could lead
to my finger prints changing. My bank,-HDFC Bank at Santacruz (w),- said I
must get my KYC done. They said my Aadhar card would serve the purpose. I
gave them my Aadhar card and they asked me to put my thumb on a small
I could see my thumb impression on a screen.
But the system would not validate me!
The bank employee asked me to try again and we did this
over six times with the same result. The bank employee told me that this
happened very frequently with many customers.
Most of these customers would not be working with their hands, and yet
the system of Aadhar verification was not working.
I could do my KYC by giving other documents, but the horror of this hit me.
If the system cannot recognize people from its database with the thumb
impression, what would happen to those whose foodgrains, pension or EGS
wages depend on it? I think there is an urgent need to check over a large
sample of maybe 10,000 people in different places to validate whether the
system does what is claimed. Otherwise we will only have a pretension of
having a system to identify every individual in the country. It is
necessary that the truth be revealed by actual verification of a large
sample across different parts of the nation.