Tuesday, January 18, 2011

MCIT Must Be Put Under Direct Control Of PMO

The decision of department of telecommunications (DoT) to use Aadhar numbers issued by the unique identification authority of India (UIDAI) as proof of identity and proof of address for getting new mobile connections is once again without much deliberations and planning.

According to DoT notification numbered 800-29/2010-VAS dated 14-01-2011 Aadhar number has been allowed to be used for abovementioned purposes. According to the notification the Aadhaar number shall be taken as valid proof of identity (PoI) and proof of address (PoA) after details of identity and address are confirmed through Aadhaar authentication procedure. After implementation of the Aadhaar authentication procedure, it can be used as valid PoI and PoA in Jammu & Kashmir, Assam and north-east service areas also.

This notification is absurd to say the least. Neither Aadhar project/UID project nor UIDAI are governed by any legal framework. They are operating without any law and Parliamentary oversight. According to Praveen Dalal, a Supreme Court Lawyer and leading techno legal expert of India, even after the National Identification Authority of India Bill 2010 (Bill), both Aadhar project and UIDAI would remain “Unconstitutional”.

In this background, DoT India must analyse it decision. DoT is supporting a project that has no legal significance and endorsing a number that has no legal sanction. In fact, government of India is imposing Aadhar project upon Indian citizens piece by piece and through a backdoor. It is making Aadhar “mandatory” through dubious means and arm twisting techniques.

It is high time for the Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh to intervene before it is too late. Further, the prime minister’s office (PMO) must also put ministry of communication and information technology (MCIT) directly under its control to avoid future scams and controversies.

The cabinet reshuffle is expected very soon and it would be a good idea if PMO reserves MCIT under its own control rather than allotting it to some Minister.