India: National ID scheme mired in corruption allegations

This next story may not be such a surprise in essence, but the details might be.

Since its launch in 2010, India’s Aadhaar unique identification number FCA - cobrascheme is an ambitious project, costing billions of dollars and which could ease financial inclusion for large swathes of the Indian population who neither identification documents nor fixed abodes. It should also provide investigators with leads in criminal cases, not least in tracking terrorist financing. That said, any project of this scale – Aadhaar is attempting to track down and record data on 1.2bn people – will certainly spring a few leaks.

An undercover reporter for Cobrapost, a portal for investigative journalism, has revealed more than a few leaks in the Unique Identification Authority of India’s master plan.

The reporter posed as a broker for Bangladeshi, Nepali and Pakistani immigrants in India. He asked several regional Aadhaar officers to help him acquire ID cards for these people and in almost all cases, the officers asked the fake broker for a fee to process the cards, without performing due diligence on the applicants and without verifying their identities and addresses.

There are also rumours that the companies enlisted to collect and hold the biometric data from the Aadhaar system were not subject to due diligence checks.

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