Keep UIDAI independent
This refers to the edit ‘Boosting Aadhaar’ ( January 28). Aadhaar is expected to play a critical role in a number of areas of governance and serve a number of ministries in executing their programmes. Direct Benefit Transfers ( DBT) itself runs through a number of ministries, likely to cover LPG, kerosene( petroleum ministry), social security payments (of a number of ministries), MGNREGA (rural development), fertiliser (agriculture) and many more. Similarly, its role in Know Your Customer guidelines, remittances of money, attendance in offices are other examples. It will require ongoing dialogues with banks, NPCI Ltd, RBI, SEBI , PFRDA, etc to create and continuously expand authentication infrastructure at last mile locations in remote villages. The real test of UIDAI will start after it has finished the task of issuing the Aadhaar numbers to almost all residents. There will be tremendous pressure on the UIDAI infrastructure to serve a billion users online by confirming their identities. Moreover, UIDAI will need to continuously upgrade its IT infrastructure and also take various stakeholders along in its important but arduous journey. UIDAI has achieved a lot partly due to its enlightened leadership being given a high profile/status within the government and also the hands-off approach of the governments—both past and present. This tradition needs to be continued if the good work done by UIDAI is to be seen spreading in the future also. The new government wisely continued Aadhaar and shall be still wiser if it maintains its independence also. Despite all its best intentions, the IT and Communications ministry will not be able to contribute much, where it is likely to become another departmental undertaking. The UIDAI and Aadhaar are still works-in-progress and need not be disturbed. Keeping in view its vast scope, a separate ministry for it .
Indo-US ties really better?
Though the visit of the US president Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama has created a lot of goodwill among the people of both the nations and appears to have enormously enhanced trade relations between India and the US, we have to wait and see how this visit is going to be really beneficial to our nation in the long run. Both Obama and Modi must be patting themselves in silence on their achievements in favour of their respective countries but no one knows on which side it is going to be a real mismatch.
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