‘Ensure children’s Aadhaar data is deleted from schools’

Pranita Roy
Thursday, 27 September 2018

“Parents and students should demand an affidavit from schools, colleges and universities who have used their Aadhaar details and ensure their details are deleted,” stated Anupam Saraph, Right to Information (RTI) activist.

Pune: There was a mixed reaction from citizens in Pune to the Supreme Court (SC) verdict striking down linking of Aadhaar number to mobiles, bank accounts, school documents, jobs, although it has still to be linked to PAN number.
 
Parents  were relieved that Aadhaar will no longer be required for school admissions. Their main concern was that children who enrol for Aadhaar at a  younger age, will have to enrol again as their biometrics are likely to change with growing age. 

Similarly, University Grants Commission (UGC) had issued a notification for all higher educational institutions to modify their identification mechanism of students in their certificate sans Aadhaar details. It had stated that printing of Aadhaar number on degree/ certificate would be accessible to people, thereby breaching the security and confidentiality of the Aadhaar numbers, violating the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016. It has been omitted from requirements of exams like National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) conducted by Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). 

“Parents and students should demand an affidavit from schools, colleges and universities who have used their Aadhaar details and ensure their details are deleted,” stated Anupam Saraph, Right to Information (RTI) activist.
 
“The SC’s decision has reinstated the agenda that Aadhaar will be used as an instrument to deliver public services. Originally, the purpose to establish Aadhaar card was to facilitate beneficiaries of government schemes. However, later, private entities started demanding Aadhaar details for job recruitments, schools, mobile phones, which were not required,” said Shankkar Aiyar, political and economic analyst and a visiting fellow at IDFC Institute.

However, the decision has left several question marks, stated Aiyar. “The SC has not clarified how the Aadhaar data collected by private entities like banks, telecom companies, educational institutes and others will be deleted. They said nobody will be denied benefits whether having  an Aadhaar card or not but if the system is made to facilitate poor with public services then how will others be included in it? They have said no link to bank accounts, but beneficiaries who access through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) will have to link it. Further, they need to reintroduce the Aadhaar Bill in Parliament, as initially it was proposed as a money bill. Therefore, for these reasons SC will have to hear the petitions again,” added Aiyar, who has authored a book on Aadhaar.

The SC has also struck down Section 47 of the Act, which stated that criminal complaints for data breach can be filed only by UIDAI. Section 33 (2) permitted disclosure of information under Aadhaar Act, made in the interest of national security. Section 57 of the Act permitted private entities to use Aadhaar information to authenticate identity of the person. Anupam Saraph said, “This is an empowering decision. Now individuals will be able to register complaints if any case of security breach occurs. They can also cross-question the private parties who demand UIDAI details.”

While, Pan card remains to be linked with Aadhaar card, Saraph added. “Another petition will be followed in regard to this. As one of the identity proofs used to make Aadhaar was Pan card, therefore it is invalid to use a secondary identity card to validate the primary identity proof.” They should scrap the entire structure of Aadhaar system and develop a new system for unique identification of people which has no flaws, said Saraph.

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