Dumb Ideas of 2009 #2: Nilekeni's Unique ID Project

On December 23, 2009 By pramitsingh Topic: 2009, UniqueIDproject

Take a technologically ignorant Cabinet of Ministers, an entrepreneur who made big on selling code monkey services and an army of bureacrats eager to make money from the IT spending gravy gravy train ( One has not read a word about itemized costings, usage of open source software related to the project so far). Did I miss a pliant and lazy business media as well as the poor villager who still doesn't know who stole his NREGA card. What do you get, Dr. Franlkenstein? The Unique ID card is what you get.


The UID will be a privacy nightmare in tomorrow's highly computerized scenarios where more of our identities and activities are stored in other 'people's' servers. Apparently, the UID smartalecks have proposed to make it mandatory for children to have the UID at the time of admission to school once the process of issuing the UID gets under way. Their reasoning? So that children can be tracked for academic progress besides being targeted for direct benefits. Remember, all evil schemes begin as innocent  little things.

Some reasons why one just hates the Unique ID card idea:

1. Some years back we had the huge PAN card scandal  - stolen PAN cards, fake PAN cards, multiple PAN cards...anything is possible with the great Indian jugaad.

2. There are people in my native district in Bihar who proudly show off 5 Voter ID cards under similar name.

3. Stories about BPO staffers and Income tax clerks selling contact details are not uncommon.

4. When will we get over with government is 'MAI BAAP' syndrome?

5. People in the United Kingdom, yes the same country that has gven rise to a whole culture of ubiquitous surveillance cameras, have spoken a lot against the UK government's plan for Unique ID card project. Look at what a simple Google Search says on the Unique ID backlash.

6. Even if Nilekeni says that it is all full proof, you still remember the saying, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."  The group of people collectively knwon as the Indian government is something you just can't mistrust enough.


Meanwhile, let people make millions out of the project. And some manufactured heroes as well. God knows how dearly we all need the business.

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