Much of opposition to Aadhaar mere nuisance: K J Alphons

Says the biometric-driven identification system is revolutionising the delivery of services in India


Much of the opposition to the use of Aadhaar cards for delivering government services on grounds of privacy being violated is a mere nuisance, Union Minister K J Alphons said here on Thursday.

Even getting a visa often requires providing a lot of personal information, which can run into several pages, the Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology said at a session on the inaugural day of the fifth edition of the Global Conference on Cyber Space (GCCS) in New Delhi.

"While people need to provide all personal information to a foreign country just for travel, all one needs to share to get an Aadhaar Card is their name and address," said Kannanthanam, while adding that the biometric-driven identification system is revolutionising the delivery of services in India.

It is benefiting the poorest of the poor by reducing the cost of service delivery, the minister said.

"Aadhaar is driving the country," Alphons said.

The move to make the use of Aadhaar obligatory for availing several benefits, including under the public distribution system, has attracted criticism from different quarters.

In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court of India has declared privacy a fundamental right.

But the Minister emphasised that the Aadhaar card is actually helping empower the poorest of the poor.

"India is witnessing the biggest digital revolution in the world for the past three years. The objective is to give a voice to the voiceless," Alphons said.

Speaking at the session that focused on bridging the digital divide, Ghana's Minister for Communication Ursula Ekuful said: "We salute the progress India has made and continue to monitor its progress.

"It is a great initiative," said Houlin Zhao, Secretary General, International Telecommunication Union, while referring to the Aadhaar identification system.

"India has engineered some marvellous innovation. Indian leaders should be more active in encouraging such innovation and bringing them to the world stage for the benefit of people in other parts of the world," he added.