Union IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Sunday that he was personally not in favour of linking Aadhaar cards with electoral photo-identity cards (EPIC) of voters as the two serve different purposes.
“I am not saying this as an IT minister. My personal opinion is Aadhaar should not be linked with the voter ID card,” Prasad said at an event here.
He said the government was not willing to face accusations of spying on people.
“If we do this, our detractors will say,’PM Narendra Modi is snooping on us to know what we eat, which movie we are watching’ and so on. I don’t want that to happen,” the minister said.
The EPIC card has been linked with the web portal of the Election Commission of India and you will get election-related information such as your polling booth and its address.
Aadhaar is not related to this,” he said.
The minister, however, strongly defended the linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts.
Saying it would bring in transparency in reaching the benefits of welfare schemes through direct benefit transfer (DBT).
“There is a clear difference between the Aadhaar of Modi and the Aadhaar of Manmohan Singh. While Singh’s Aadhaar had no support of law, Modi’s Aadhaar is backed by law, and security and privacy are completely ensured,” he said.
He sought to highlight that over 80 crore mobile phones had been linked to bank accounts as part of the Centre’s JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and mobile numbers) trinity.
He said over 31 crore Jan Dhan accounts had been opened and over 120 crore mobiles had been linked to Aadhar.
“Once former PM Rajiv Gandhi had said that of the one rupee spent by the government for welfare of the downtrodden, only 15 paise reach the needy.
Now, if the government sends Rs 1,000, it directly gets deposited in the bank account of the beneficiary,” he added.
Defending the need of the unique identification number, he said Aadhaar is the digital identity that supplements the physical identity of people.
“If you want to travel by train, you have to buy ticket online for which you have to give data. If you don’t want to give data, then take a bicycle.
If you want to eat at a restaurant, you will get an electronically-generated invoice and people will know what you have eaten.
But the government respects privacy and the data is perfectly secure,” he said. The minister said the government would not tolerate any unauthorised use of data for abuse.