*****The need to speak Aadhaar clearly – The Economic Times

Clipped from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/opinion/et-editorial/the-need-to-speak-aadhaar-clearly/articleshow/91899710.cms

Synopsis

UIDAI is a critical piece in the cogwheel, underscoring the need for robust governance with systemic checks and cross-checks. India must also swiftly enact a robust data protection law.

GoI has rightly withdrawn a May 27 notice by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) under the

aegis

NSE -0.66 % of the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY), warning Aadhaar-holders not to share photocopies of the UID, and, instead, share images masking the Aadhaar number. The withdrawal came after the notice caused some amount of public confusion and panic. Public communication gaffes of this kind can erode confidence and trust in the Aadhaar ecosystem, a key identity document to avail welfare benefits and operate bank accounts. Aadhaar-holders have now been advised to exercise usual prudence while using or sharing numbers. UIDAI must develop a well-thought-out standard operating procedure for public communication. This means a separation of roles and responsibilities between UIDAI and MeitY.

RBI routinely issues guidelines cautioning the public on the dos and don’ts of online banking and payments through apps. Two-factor authentication is used as an extra security measure. As phishing is a rising threat, the citizenry is cautioned not to share PIN (personal identification number) or password with anyone, including bank officials. Digital banking has promotional measures and is not mandated on citizens, unlike Aadhaar that is mandated for many crucial services.

The growth and success of the Indian digital ecosystem critically depends on Aadhaar, and is the springboard for innovations like India Stack and Unified Payments Interface (UPI). This calls for enabling institutions and processes to attain maturity and stability. UIDAI is a critical piece in the cogwheel, underscoring the need for robust governance with systemic checks and cross-checks. India must also swiftly enact a robust data protection law.

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