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Information Scan


One of the primary reasons behind the opposition to the NRC and NPR is the desire of many vested interests to scuttle the creation of an accurate data base that would service and inform the development initiatives of Government. It has already been seen how much harm Aadhar has done to those conducting various kinds of scams across the country. In Uttarakhand, alone, linking Aadhar with benefits has led to the sudden disappearance of fake LPG connections, ration cards, scholarships, MGNREGA and other kinds of beneficiaries, numbering in the lakhs. The opening of bank accounts for the poor and direct benefit transfer also squeezed the space for corruption.

Despite all these reforms, there still remains enormous scope for diverting public funds into private pockets. In fact, going by the amount of money unearthed during raids by various departments, only a small dent seems to have been made on the level of corruption. It is also no surprise that gathering of data by government is also vociferously opposed in the name of human rights by various activist organisations, given that tens of thousands of NGOs have had to down shutters because of the inability to explain their funding sources and for what purposes these were obtained. The informal sector, which was most impacted by demonetisation, was a parallel economy that rode on the back of taxpayers but, ultimately, filled the coffers of the corrupt. Who these were is revealed by exactly who laments demonetisation the most. The same goes for GST, which has deprived lakhs of government functionaries, along with others, of the opportunity to drain the public coffers.

Is it not strange that people are afraid to provide even the names of their parents and the place to which they belonged? As the PM stated in Parliament, such information had become even more necessary in the age of mass migration to provide appropriate and targeted benefits. It is a fact that bureaucratic functioning is notoriously sluggish and self-serving when it comes to providing necessary documentation to people. It is worth the effort, however, for the nation to create a database that contains all the necessary information, which can become available almost instantaneously. This would make decision making faster in a host of areas where delay proves fatal to human life or human enterprise. Of course, there has to be a consensus on what data is necessary for these exercises and what belongs to the private domain. However, this should not be used as an excuse to scuttle database development altogether, which would only benefit those thriving in the grey areas.