In a bid to allay fears around the safety of Aadhaar data, Attorney General K K Venugopal on Wednesday defended the Aadhaar scheme and said that is “safe behind thick walls”. Defending the introduction of Aadhaar, the Attorney General told Supreme Court that the data was safe in the Central Identities Data Repository, which was fortified by 10-metre-high and 4-metre-wide walls.
Venugopal added that Aadhaar will help identify genuine beneficiaries of subsidies, services and benefits, and eliminate problems like fake PAN cards and plug leakages in the public distribution system. The Attorney General was appering in front of the five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra on behalf of the Centre.
AG Venugopal further said that Aadhaar would not only help identify the beneficiaries of various schemes, it would also ensure better delivery of benefits by bringing in transparency and eradicating corruption. While talking about the data being safe behind thick walls, he said Aadhaar was “not a fly-by-night effort to get some brownie points”, but a serious effort to end corruption.
The Attorney General further added, “According to me, nothing would succeed if the mindset of people at all levels, were to continue… Many countries that gained independence much after India are higher than India in the corruption index. What does this mean? It means that corruption is no more treated by families, which are able to profit through corruption, as something tainted.”
The Centre reffered to various international economic reports and surveys to emphasise on the need for Aadhaar. “Historically, respective governments allocated trillions of rupees towards subsidies, scholarships, pensions, education and other welfare programs. But it was seen that nearly half of it never reached the intended beneficiaries,” the government said. It added,
“Several studies initiated by the government as well as the World Bank and Planning Commission revealed that food grains did not reach the intended beneficiaries and that there was large scale leakages due to the failure to establish identity.”