Aadhar ID available to anyone for a price, says Cobrapost

25 March 2014

The much-hyped Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is running a flawed enrolment process that allows people from other countries to get an Aadhaar number, portal Cobrapost reported in a sting operation.

The revelations made through videos of a sting operation in which a Cobrapost reporter posing as ''a benefactor'' of refugees from neighbouring Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal approaches several Aadhaar enrolment offices saying, "these immigrants have no proof of identity or proof of address but need help in getting an Aadhaar card,'' but gets the assurance of getting the job done.

The uniqueness of Aadhar is that it can be used to enrol all and sundry, including refugees from neighbouring countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal, at prices ranging from Rs500 to Rs2,500, according to Cobrapost.

"Aadhaar has almost unvaryingly been extended to anybody residing within Indian territory," the portal has said.

A senior UIDAI official also acknowledged the fact when he said that Aadhaar was never meant to verify citizenship status. Instead, its purpose was to assign a number to all residents.

"We needed to be expansive. No one should be deprived of welfare programmes for want of the number," the official said.

This also proves that Aadhaar can facilitate creation of false identities. As enrolment can be made either by providing proof of identity (like a driving licence), through a letter from a verifier (a local MLA, a gazetted officer, etc) or even through an introducer, it easily becomes a means of creating false identity, being used by terrorists as well.

And, with the option to enrol without proof of identity the UIDAI has come under home ministry's flak, in response to which UIDAI had halted all enrolments between January and May 2012 . It has not, however, address the security concerns, although it brought in new enrolment processes.

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