Now UIDAI feels the heat, forced to change tag-line

  • Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 17, 2014 01:27 IST

The spectacular victory of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi has forced the Nandan Nilekani-led Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to do a re-think on its tag-line — Aadhaar Aam Aadmi Ka Adhikar.

On Thursday, the UPA government came up with a new aim for the UIDAI — One India One Identity — in the process, taking a pot-shot at arch-rival BJPas well.

With the tag-line on over 560 million Aadhaar letters generated so far — almost half the Indian population — the authority had unknowingly been giving publicity to AAP, spreading its name to every nook and corner of the country. It was a precarious situation for Nilekani, the probable Congress candidate from south Bangalore.

“The use of aam aadmi on Aadhaar letters is in a generic sense and does not refer to any party,” Nilekani clarified on Monday — the day he accused the AAP of trying to check corruption through television screen.

The use of the phrase “aam aadmi” by Arvind Kerjiwal’s party has also reached the Bombay high court, with a public interest litigation challenging the Election Commission registration. The petitioner has claimed the phrase cannot be used by a political party as agencies like UIDAI use it for the delivery of their services.

Till now, the government claimed that Aadhaar was primarily a system to improve the efficacy of service delivery of schemes worth R 3,00,000 crore annually. It was also described as a tool to check corruption by reducing human intervention in service delivery to a bare minimum.

“The Aadhaar is a unifying factor, as it gives a national identity number to every resident, enabling easy mobility and residency anywhere in the country,” said a senior UIDAI functionary. “The unifying factor of Aadhaar was always there, but it now being promoted for the first time. It is a binding force for a people who come in various hues.”

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