Saturday, 1 September 2018

The Sham ID, called 'Aadhaar': Hoax of the Century

The Sham ID, called 'Aadhaar': Hoax of the Century
by Mathew Thomas

"Achche din is finally here", says the condemned man on the front cover of Mathew Thomas's book.

"Achhe din aane waale hain" was the campaign slogan of Narendra Modi's BJP party in India's 2014 election, "happy days are coming".

For years Mr Modi had opposed Aadhaar. Bad news. That's while he was in opposition. Then he became Prime Minister and now he's a fan. Happy days are here again.

"Stop! He has no Aadhaar card", says the lawyer on the front cover of Mathew Thomas's book.

The funny thing is, no-one does. There is no such thing as an Aadhaar card. Aadhaar cards are part of the extraordinary Indian delusion that is the subject of Mr Thomas's book.

UIDAI, the Unique Identification Authority of India, the people in charge of Aadhaar, have pulled off "the hoax of the century". Not only are there no Aadhaar cards, there is no unique identification either.

Aadhaar doesn't work. One big broken promise, it was meant to help the poor to claim state benefits and it doesn't. It can't.

The politicians know that. The civil servants know that. The media know that. So do the lawyers and so does everyone else. Not least because Mathew Thomas has spent 10 years or so patiently telling them.

And yet ...

... UIDAI goes from strength to strength.

Aadhaar was meant to be a voluntary scheme. First it morphed into being mandatory for state benefits and now it's trying to insert itself into more and more walks of life. You want a passport? Give us your Aadhaar number. You want a mobile phone? Give us your Aadhaar number. You want a bank account? Give us your Aadhaar number. Etc ...

What's going on?

It's baffling.

The politicians and the civil servants et al aren't stupid. And yet they connive in funding Aadhaar.

Alice in Wonderland? The emperor's new clothes? Tulipmania? Pick your metaphor. Whichever you choose, India is undeniably in the grip of some sort of of an extraordinary delusion, a nightmare from which it will finally wake up.

For years, India's Supreme Court has been hearing the tireless Mathew Thomas's cases asserting that Aadhaar is unconstitutional. The court is due to promulgate its latest decision soon. Independent of political parties and of business interests, the judges have the opportunity to rouse India from its slumbers, to say achhe din aane waale hain and to put an authoritative stop to this Aadhaar nonsense.