UIDAI website, 1 February 2012
"Some of the resistance", The Economist said, "is principled, but much comes from the people who do well out of today’s filthy system. Indian politics hinge on patronage—the doling out of opportunities to rob one’s countrymen. [UIDAI's Aadhaar initiative] would make this harder. That is why it faces such fierce opposition ...".
The resistance to UIDAI at government level comes from the Home Ministry and the Finance Ministry. Are these "the people who do well out of today’s filthy system", as The Economist put it? Are they the ones "doling out of opportunities to rob [their] countrymen"?
The Economist may or may not be wise to jump into bed with UIDAI. But they run the risk – surely quite unnecessarily – of putting some very powerful noses out of joint. No more juicy stories coming their way from the Home Ministry and the Finance Ministry for The Economist any more.
Which is a shame, because there are some good stories around:
- UIDAI are fighting a turf war with the Home Ministry, who have a rival identity management scheme of their own, the National Population Register (NPR).
- And the Finance Ministry were opposed to funding any more work by UIDAI, who were about to run out of money – until the Prime Minister sorted out a (slightly ham-fisted) truce.
- Not only that, but the statutory basis for UIDAI's work is questionable. The National Identification Authority of India Bill 2010 still hasn't been enacted.
NB For anyone who reads the articles linked to:
- 1 crore = 10,000,000. 1.2 billion Indians = 1,200,000,000 Indians = 120 crore Indians = 12,000 lakh Indians, because
- 1 lakh = 100,000. 100 lakh = 10,000,000 = 1 crore and
- £1 = 78.7618 Rupees