ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Alarmingly Simplified Data Gathering

The Aadhaar Effect: Why the World’s Largest Identity Project Matters by N S Ramnath and Charles Assisi, Oxford University Press, 2018; pp 328, 350.

Dissent on Aadhaar: Big Data Meets Big Brother edited by Reetika Khera, Orient Blackswan, 2019; pp 288, 406.

We Are Data: Algorithms and the Making of Our Digital Selves by John Cheney-Lippold, NYU Press, 2018; pp 268, $14.19.

In 2009, without any public discussion, the Government of India issued an executive order setting up the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), creating it as an office under the Planning Commission. The first chairperson, Nandan Nilekani, until then chairperson of a private company, Infosys Ltd, was conferred the rank of a cabinet minister.

Given this status, he was able to quickly launch what was publicised as a portable identification system, claimed to provide India’s first national digital identity for persons who were said to lack access to any documentation at all. This would, it was said, provide anytime access to guaranteed welfare benefits under a range of such schemes. Without this, it was said, the functioning of such schemes led to widespread “leakages,” ensuring that vast amounts of moneys paid out by the state were not reaching the intended beneficiaries at all, and this would put an end to such problems.

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Updated On : 24th Aug, 2020
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