Trai chief whose Aadhaar gamble went viral gets 2-year extension

10 Aug 2018


Ram Sewak Sharma, chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), whose Aadhaar gamble went viral recently, has since been given a two-year extension of his term as head of the telecom sector regulator.

Sharma was appointed as chairman of Trai in 2015 on a three-year term and will now serve as head of the telecom sector regulator till September 2020.
Sharma had recently revealed his Aadhaar number on the microblogging site and challenged critics of the government’s unique identification programme to do him "any harm", but failed even after he gave the wrong ID as hackers had all his details even without the Aadhaar number.
RS Sharma will continue as the telecom regulator till September 2020 when he turns 65, a government order said.
A former IAS officer Sharma was first appointed as telecom sector regulator in 2015, when he was nearing 60 and was about to retire.
The failed Aadhar challenge had caused a flutter on social media and in Parliament, where opposition parties have repeatedly raised questions about the security of citizen's data.
Sharma, who had once led the unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) that runs the Aadhaar programme, however, claims that no harm had come to him.
The challenge was intended to demonstrate that mere knowledge of the unique number could not be used to harm him.
The UIDAI had initially backed him but later, reportedly on the government's nudge, put out a statement that appeared to frown at his challenge.
Aadhaar was launched by the previous UPA in 2009-10 to target government’s subsidy and other social benefits to improve the delivery of services.
Privacy activists and experts have raised concerns about privacy and the safety of the biometric data and the misuse of data for profiling or increased surveillance.

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