For sometime now, I have been thinking of the UID scheme and wondering why the negative side of the system has not been getting any attention, while there seems to be a lot of euphoria around the scheme (Gulzar’s articles on UID, for example). May be I did not look hard enough, but there has been very little debate on the issue, at least in the mainstream media.
There are some serious issues involved: issues like invasion of privacy and huge cost of the scheme. A more worrying prospect is the of misuse of information and the lack of any meaningful laws to prevent the same. If you think misuse of personal information is limited to e-mail and facebook hacking, think of the way riots in ‘shining’ modern India are organised around voter list print-outs. One more issue is that all this information is going to be available to a significant number of bureaucrats – people who are notorious for complicity in government backed crimes.
Today I found this article on Forbes India Business, that talks about some of these issues. I hope the dissenting voices get heard. But then, these voices got picked up by Forbes is no reason to hope that the debate would become mainstream.
What do I mean by that? I am just thinking about the length of time it took for the Radia tapes to break into headlines, even after the transcripts were put on the web.