Aadhaar — the 12-digit biometric identity — has been a centre of controversy lately over privacy issues, while the Narendra Modi government kept pushing its mandatory linking with various services. The Aadhaar matter is likely to get a verdict from the Supreme Court of India. However, a survey shows that even as 97% Indians value their privacy and are concerned about their Aadhaar information, 87% also support the mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various services.
“Approximately 87 percent of people approved of the government’s mandatory use of Aadhaar, while 76.9 percent approved Aadhaar’s mandatory use by the private sector,” a household survey conducted by IDinsight said. Using Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act 2016, central and state governments have required beneficiaries of 252 schemes to authenticate themselves using Aadhaar.
What’s more interesting is that of the 13% people who do not approve of mandatory linking of Aadhaar, about 6.5% are neutral about it, which leaves only 7% disapproving mandatory linking. In August last year, when the Supreme Court ruled that privacy is a fundamental right, it opened doors for a slew of petitions challenging Aadhaar for infringement of privacy. However, the judgement maintained that the right to privacy can be subject to reasonable restrictions where such an invasion must be justified by law and a legitimate state aim.
“An overwhelming majority of Indians care about their right to privacy,” the survey noted, adding that it is important for 96% of them to know how their information is being used by the government. The respondents in the survey rejected the contention that privacy is “an undeveloped and elitist concept”.
Earlier this year, a report by Chandigarh-based Tribune said that some of the Aadhaar details were up for sale for just Rs 500. Even as the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) rejected the claims of the data breach, a lot of questions were raised on data protection by government authorities and private players involved in it, including during Aadhaar hearing in the apex court.