Identification numbers issued to every Indian under the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) will play a crucial role as domestic movement within India is slated to escalate manifold, said UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani.
He said this would be because of factors ranging from climate change, population profiles to development parameters.
“Mobility is key to progress today and the mobile Indian must have a mobile identity which can be verified anywhere and everywhere within the country,” he said on Friday while speaking at a lecture series “India Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” organised at the YB Chavan Auditorium to celebrate the 90th birth anniversary of communist leader YB Chavan.
The UIDAI aims at giving a unique identification number to every Indian, irrespective of his financial, residential status.
Other speakers in the event were historian Ramchandra Guha and journalist Kumar Ketkar. As the UIDAI, or Aadhaar grows, Micro ATMs will be installed as the first service for inclusion of the poor in the banking system and put the unique identification number to practical use, said Nilekani.
“The main aim of issuing these numbers is to ensure better service delivery to those who have been historically excluded in such schemes. This is where utility of technology lies, in a way it is what the political systems like communism had envisaged, to empower and include the poor in the mainstream service delivery, whether it is food or finances,” he said. One of the challenges, however, was to avoid de-duplication for which the systems were being set up, he added, so that one person cannot get two numbers.
Guha narrated tales from cricket history about how one of the first Dalits to have broken the barriers of exclusion was P.R. Balu, a bowler who was part of the Hindu team in the pentangular series that the British used to organise.
He was felicitated after a tour of England where he claimed 120 wickets at an average of 16.
“The barriers were broken when Balu won a final for the Hindu team against the British team. He was carried off the field on shoulders of higher caste Hindus which would have been unthinkable at the time otherwise,” he said.
Ketkar said that India’s future was now inextricably linked to that of the world, and the sequence of events at a global scale. “Left is almost an abuse now in the way the word ‘Right’ used to be in the socialist regime of the country. People have had to accept this change that has swept the globe over past two decades,” he said.