Aadhar is an ambitious project of the Government of India which seeks to provide unique identity to 130 crore Indians. It is indeed a mammoth task whose pros & cons have been discussed widely.
There have been discussions on various aspects of Aadhar like its effectiveness in service delivery, its infringement on the privacy of citizens or if Aadhar should be made mandatory to avail some government services. This article does not venture into the above mentioned grey areas, it rather focuses on facts to prove how a scam is happening in the name of Aadhar.
Aadhar scheme is implemented by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). As per its directive, no fee has to be charged for Aadhar enrollment for any person. Yet centres authorised by UIDAI are charging anywhere between ₹30 to ₹200 for making Aadhar.
The fees is charged in multiple ways. Some centres ask a direct fee for making Aadhar. Some ask a higher fee of ₹100-200 for making laminated Aadhar card, which costs merely ₹10. This is unnecessary as UIDAI has confirmed that just a normal print out of Aadhar works fine. Further, some centres charge higher amount for other services like Aadhar updation etc.
With a population of 130 crores and enrollment percentage of ~99%, it is safe to assume that virtually every Indian is now enrolled in Aadhar. Now, considering an average fee of ₹100 charged for every citizen , the total comes out to be ₹13000 crore. Even conservative estimate of ₹30 per Aadhar pegs the figure at ₹3900 crore of corruption scam.
A charge of ₹100 or ₹200 may be a small sum for some people, but consider this : A whopping 21% of population(28 crore people) live below ₹33 per day, as per Tendulkar committee, which estimated poverty in India. So, these 28 crore would have had to shell out an earning for a day or two and would have skipped a day’s meal. This population being largely uneducated, is more vulnerable to harassment by Aadhar centres.
It is rather preposterous to say that the corruption did reach higher echelons of the government or politicians, but it is equally unlikely that corruption of this scale is happening without the tacit approval of those in power.