UIDAI will surely benefit from the Aadhaar-related media monitoring exercise it is planning

By: | Published: July 28, 2018 3:32 AM

The UIDAI wants a dipstick for the public opinion on Aadhaar—it has put out a request for proposal for media monitoring agencies to track coverage of Aadhaar in the media.

uidai.aadharWith so much at stake for Aadhaar—the Supreme Court’s final verdict on the Constitutional validity of Aadhaar is yet to come—it helps if UIDAI has its ear to the ground.

The UIDAI wants a dipstick for the public opinion on Aadhaar—it has put out a request for proposal for media monitoring agencies to track coverage of Aadhaar in the media. The selected agency will have to mine all media—from the traditional TV/print media (there are close 150,000 registered newspapers/magazines) to blogs and micro-sites. All compilation has to be in near-real-time—UIDAI even has penalties in mind. Strictest confidentiality is expected, as per a Business Standard report. You won’t be faulted if this seems akin to war preparations to you.

In the age of information, big companies pin survival to gathering business intelligence and staying informed. With so much at stake for Aadhaar—the Supreme Court’s final verdict on the Constitutional validity of Aadhaar is yet to come—it helps if UIDAI has its ear to the ground. So, the media monitoring makes sense. Only, UIDAI’s strict conditions and the ambitious tracking goals it has set could prove difficult to meet. The amplifying effect of internet-enabled media platforms, including social media and messaging services, is something that the UIDAI’s media monitoring exercise will have to give special focus. It is easy to build political opinion on such platforms and translate it into on-ground activism. The larger challenge for UIDAI, however, will be figuring out how public opinion can be influenced. For that, it must go to those whose lives have been most impacted by Aadhaar—say, PDS beneficiaries whose rations are now protected from leakages, women with new, subsidised LPG connections, thanks to Aadhaar weeding out ghost beneficiaries.

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