(by Umang Poddar | Scroll.In) – On Wednesday (December 15), according to news reports, the Union Cabinet approved the voluntarily linking of Aadhaar, a unique 12-digit ID given to residents of India based on their biometric data, to voter identity cards on the basis of an Election Commission recommendation. But many Aadhaar activists and civil society organisations have raised the alarm about this move: they say it could lead to voters being excluded from the rolls and compromise the privacy of their data.
The push to link linking Aadhaar with voter IDs is not new. Neither is the criticism. The Election Commission had started linking the two in 2015. It had already completed the process for around 30 crore IDs when the initiative was stayed by the Supreme Court as part of a case about the constitutionality of Aadhaar.
With the latest Cabinet approval for the initiative, there is a legitimate cause of concern. In 2015, when the Election Commission linked Aadhaar to the voter ID list, about 55 lakh names were deleted from the voter database of two states, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
What is the proposal?
The government is considering certain major voting reforms based on the Election Commission’s recommendations. These include reforms to make it easier for first-time voters to enrol by allowing enrolments four times a year (from one time currently). The proposal to link Aadhar to the voter ID database is purportedly aimed at weeding out duplications.
According to news reports, this linking would be voluntary.
Aadhaar + Voter ID linking is being considered.
This is going to be an absolute disaster and mess up voter roles drastically.https://t.co/tt7wtYLm4U
— meghnad 🔗 (@Memeghnad) December 16, 2021
Why is this a problem?
There are several concerns about why this proposal: these include privacy concerns and the possibility of voter manipulation, since large amounts of personal data linked to Aadhaar would now be linked to the Election Commission’s voter database.
Historically, the attempts to link the two has not been encouraging. In 2018, an attempt to link Aadhaar to voter ID led a large number of voters in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana being deleted from the rolls. Read Full Article >