The government’s claims of massive savings by expanding the use of Aadhaar are false and the controversial biometric identification project is denying vast numbers of people their legitimate benefits, activist Nikhil Dey said on Wednesday.
In a conversation with HT, Dey – a member of the Mazdoor Kishan Shakti Sangthan who has worked on Aadhaar over the past decade – alleged that the 12-digit unique identification number failed to stop corruption at the ground level.
“We have received thousands of complaints that ration dealers are still corrupt and forcing people to give their fingerprints or not giving receipts or saying that the biometrics aren’t getting authenticated,” Dey said.
“The claims of savings are false. This is savings at the cost of lives. Elderly people can’t put thumb impression. They are dying.”
Aadhaar was mooted about a decade ago to plug leakages and corruption in the delivery of government schemes and benefits. But many have flagged privacy concerns and fear of spying.
The Supreme Court has repeatedly said that Aadhaar couldn’t be made mandatory for accessing benefits but approved the government’s recent move to make the number necessary to file income tax return or for PAN card and driving licence.