Oh, to stand up and be counted. Recognising this basic human need, the very astute Government of India has proposed that every Indian be assigned a number. If that sounds too Orwellian, worry not. The Union government has notified the setting up of a National Authority for Unique Identity and will provide citizens with their UIDs — which isn’t a new contraceptive device but the short form of ‘Unique Identity’. New Delhi has asked nine states and Union Territories to provide details of coastal villages by February 1 to ensure that UIDs reach these areas by 2010. Excellent idea.
After all, which Indian doesn’t want to be confirmed as an Indian — except tax-evading ones. With passports, voting ID cards and restaurant discount coupons available only to a small percentage of our populace, a simple number-with-a-name should get everyone aboard the mothership.
The purpose of this exercise, a variation of which was proposed by ex-Chief Election Commissioner T.N. Seshan long ago and subsequently trashed, is to get everyone, including the majority unaccounted for, on the roster (and pounce on those living in our midst who aren’t really Indians). One fervently hopes that this head-count starts from scratch and doesn’t only take note of existing passport-, voting ID card- and restaurant discount coupon-holders.