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Rejection of Congress's Hand Symbol, A Vote Against
Aadhaar/UID/NPR And Biometric Profiling

By Gopal Krishna , Vinay Baindur & Anivar Aravind

07 March, 2012

Delhi, Patna, Chennai & Bangalore: Electorate in Uttar Pradesh have rejected the proposal of the Indian National Congress to allow themselves to be identified with their biometric data like iris scan and thumb impressions. Rahul Gandhi campaigned in UP using the Aadhaar as an election agenda. Now that he has taken responsibility of his party’s defeat, he should call for stopping Aadhaar project because the verdict is against it.

Supporting Home Ministry and Planning Commission’s scheme of uniqueidentity, the party had showcased aadhaar and related National Population Register (NPR) for Multipurpose Identity Card (MNIC), voters in general and poor have given their verdict against it. The party had claimed that the Aadhaar/NPR card will also address the discrepancies in controversial Below Poverty Line (BPL) list by hiding violation of the provisions of Census Act with ulterior motives. It was used like a fish bait to entrap citizens against democratic and legislative mandate. The message for P Chidambaram, Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Nandan Nilekani is that UP electorate who were promised Aadhaar/NPR/MNIC has rejected it. This project is applicable to vehicles and animals too through Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) in later phases.

In our country, a surveillance regime has been proposed by Indian National Congress led United Progressive Alliance for the people but not for biometric and other intrusive technologies. Besides India’s Parliamentary Standing on Finance, countries like UK, Australia, Philippines and China have rejected aadhaar/NPR/MNIC like projects respecting people’s mandate.

It has reliably been learnt that officials from Infosys company have been giving leadership training to leaders of Indian National
Congress. This may have impacted decision making with regard to aadhaar/NPR/MNIC but it has clearly not worked in UP elections.

Recent reports of efforts to put Union Finance Minister and Defence Minister under surveillance reveal that there is paucity of capacity to monitor or regulate these technologies. If this is the plight of the ministers and technologically challenged political class, the threat for citizens can easily be understood.

Post UP elections, government must review its capacity to regulate an emerging technology regime that is undermining democracy and sovereignty and should not be misled by unelected cabinet ranked officials who say, “Technology has no history and no bias, it treats everyone the same way.”History of technologies reveals that it is their owners who are true beneficiaries especially when it is used for social control. There is a compelling need to urgently assess the claims and risks of biometric and surveillance technology and how some companies made UID/NPR/MNIC politically persuasive for the ruling party and intertwined the systems of technology with crying need for governance.

UP verdict is also a mandate against diluting federal structure of the country, FDI in the retail sector, free trade agreements (FTAs) that were aimed at turning India into a market democracy where executive and legislative decisions are driven by profit mongers not by public interest.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL), New Delhi,
[email protected]
Vinay Baindur, Bangalore, Email:[email protected]
Anivar Aravind, Chennai, [email protected],


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