As the government is in the process of linking Aadhaar cards with an array of schemes and programmes amid criticism, the system has been lauded by World Bank chief economist Paul Romer. He feels that other nations should also adopt this system.
“The Aadhaar system is the most sophisticated identification programme in the world,” said Romer in an interview with Bloomberg.
Romer asserted that it is best to develop one standardised system so people can carry their IDs wherever they go in the world.
“It’s the basis for all kinds of connections that involve things like financial transactions. It could be good for the world if this became widely adopted,” Romer said.
Interestingly, countries like Tanzania, Afghanistan and Bangladesh have shown interest in the Aadhaar system and visited India, Nandan Nilekani, former chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), who created Aadhaar said.
In 2016, RS Sharma, chairman of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) told Mint that Russia, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia have also shown interest in Aadhaar.
However, many critics suggest that Aadhaar could put privacy at stake. In 2013, a group of petitioners, including a retired judge of the Karnataka High Court, approached the Supreme Court saying that the Aadhaar scheme is an “infringement” on the right of privacy of citizens.
In countries like UK, France and USA similar plans are widely debated. In 2010, UK announced that it was scrapping a plan for a national identity register after objections that it infringed on civil liberties, but it continues to issue biometric residence permits for foreigners. In France a mega database for biometric details of citizens is under the scanner. In US, identity theft complaints were the second-most reported in 2015, Federal Trade Commission said.
Romer rubbished such concerns saying, “It should be part of the policy of the government to give individuals some control over the data that the private firms collect and some control over how that data is used.” (READ MORE)