Aadhaar to be mandatory for property sale, IT minister assures safety of platform

Sunny Sen July 11, 2017

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Aadhaar will be made mandatory to buy and sell property in India as the move will help reduce property disputes and litigation, a top government official said on Tuesday.

“This is to reduce litigations and property disputes that is quite common. But the use of biometric will reduce such problems,” Ajay Bhushan Pandey, CEO of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) said.

“We will soon make Aadhaar mandatory for sale and purchase of property… The thumb impression will curb fraud and litigation in real estate,” Pandey added. His comments come at a time when there’s much speculation about government wanting to link land records with Aadhaar.

Last month, a letter, purportedly, from the government, asking people to link their property with their Aadhaar numbers, had gone viral on social media and on WhatsApp. However, the government had issued a clarification stating that the letter was fake.

Over the past six-seven months, the Narendra Modi-led government has made Aadhaar compulsory for a number of things — from getting subsidies on gas connections and ration to MNREGA payments. Then it was linked to PAN cards and discussion is on to put it to use at airports.

Pandey added that Aadhaar is an integral component of Digital India, and helps reduce leakages. For example, ration (foodgrains on subsidy) is now allotted to beneficiaries only after verification of fingerprints, ensuring there is no duplication and that the ration is going to the right person.

This move, however, has received a lot of criticism from anti-Aadhaar activists and NGOs who claim that ration has been denied to many as fingerprints don’t match in many cases.

Also read: Unable to verify fingerprints, leprosy patients denied ration in Haryana CM’s constituency

Meanwhile, there a lot of questions have been raised over the government’s seriousness about ensuring safety of citizens’ privacy and data.

A minister’s appeal

Jab garibo ko koi dikkat nahi hai, yaha Dilli mein logon ko dikkat kyon ho rahi hai (when the poor don’t have a problem, why do the people in Delhi have a problem),” said Ravi Shankar Prasad, minister of law and justice, and information technology.

“Every day, two crore authentications are done. Some people are jealous of Aadhaar’s success… We have saved Rs 50,000 crore. This money was gobbled up by middlemen,” said Prasad.

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Minister of information technology Ravi Shankar Prasad

The Indian government’s claim of having saved nearly Rs 50,000 crores has been questioned by many. To quote from a December 2016 article in The Economic and Political Weekly: The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) of the PAHAL – Direct Benefits Transfer for LPG (DBTL) scheme concludes that more than 90% of decline in subsidies can be accounted for by the fall of crude prices and only Rs 1,763 crore out of the total reduction of Rs 23,316 crore was due to reduced offtake of cylinders by consumers. “To be certain about the level of impact and “phenomenal success” of DBTL and to extend it to other spheres, more research and analysis is needed, along with a transparency in data and methods used,” the article said.

Jab garibo ko koi dikkat nahi hai, yaha Dilli mein logon ko dikkat kyon ho rahi hai (when the poor don’t have a problem, what’s the problem with the people in Delhi)” — Ravi Shankar Prasad, minister of information technology  

Also read: Dear Mr R S Sharma: Aadhaar has no place on the open web

He also appealed that Aadhaar is safe and secure, and asked members of the Common Service Centre (CSC) to tell people who visit the centres about its benefits. Recently reports surfaced that 13 crore Aadhaar numbers were leaked on four government websites in one of India’s biggest data breaches.

However, this doesn’t seem to bother Prasad, as he continues to praise Aadhaar.

The minister added that Rajiv Gandhi, the sixth Prime Minister of India, had once said that the Centre sends Re 1 to the villager, but due to middlemen, the villager only receives 15 paise. “In the Modi government, if Rs 100 is sent by the Centre, the villager receives the entire amount,” Prasad added.

Since inception, 66 crore bank accounts of 48 crore people have been linked with Aadhaar. In the future, people will be able to use Aadhaar Pay, a mobile payment mechanism to allow digital transactions, to make purchases at shops.

A buyer can go to any shopkeeper, who will have a small biometric device, and once the thumb impression is taken, the buyer will be able to transfer money straight from his account to the shopkeeper’s account. The buyer will not require a mobile phone, explained Prasad.