The Aadhaar technology design has inbuilt safeguards to prevent unauthorised access to personal data of people, and the social benefits of the unique identity project would be immense, said Nandan Nilekani, chairman of the UIDAI.
Addressing the Australia India Institute annual oration titled ‘India’s transformation: The role of Information Technology’ in Melbourne on Tuesday, Nilekani avoided a direct response to the recent Supreme Court intervention that stopped the government from making Aadhar card mandatory for availing public services and subsidies, but emphasised that the under-construction platform can revolutionise governance.
“Technology diffusion is never an instant process. It takes time, even when the technology is highly useful,” he said. That the state could use the centralised data for intrusive surveillance could be “one point of view,” but the key objective of the project was to bring into “the formal system millions of people, who are now outside it and therefore face a lot of difficulties,” Nilekani said.
“It is the poor who are more enthusiastic to obtain an Aadhaar number,” he said, adding that the fact that it is digital, and therefore portable, will empower the poor.