Once upon a time, a 25-year-old person named Shanta, lived in a little village far away with her husband and three children. Her husband was mostly unemployed and engaged in odd jobs. Shanta, on the other hand, worked overtime but her family struggled to make ends meet. So she decided to migrate to your city in search of work.
You employed Shanta as your maid. She now works long hours. She cooks your meals, looks after your children and keeps your home clean. She does this year after year. Every month, she spends as little as she can on herself, just to be able to send most of her income back home to feed her children and to pay for their education. She’s determined to give them a better life than her own.
After many years, when Shanta is old and unable to work, she returns to her little village far away. Her children have grown up. They are educated and married but have migrated to other cities for work. Shanta and her husband live alone. But with no savings of their own, they once again struggle to make ends meet. Their children want to help, but they have their own expenses to meet and their own children to educate and feed. For Shanta and her husband, each new day is more difficult than the last. They will live like this, without much dignity, day after day, month after month, for another 20 years.
This could be the story of your cook, your guard, your driver, the person who cleans your car or delivers your newspaper or tends to your plants. Not a happy tale. Nevertheless, a story that’s quietly unfolding all around us. Could Shanta’s story be different? Happier perhaps? Let’s try this again.
You employ Shanta as your maid. You encourage her to apply for an Aadhaar number. So she walks up to a neighborhood Aadhaar station and provides her fingerprints, demographic information and her mobile number. A few days later, Shanta receives a packet containing her Aadhaar (or social security) number. And a package of new benefits from the government —