His savings stuck in data mismatch between his Aadhaar card and bank account, Anil Dev from Sonebhadra, Uttar Pradesh, thinks the unique biometric identity is another cruel joke played on poor people like him. Running from one government department to another, Dev trashes the benefits promised by government authorities. His story:
Fooled by government advertisements a few years back, I thought Aadhaar card was a revolutionary idea which is going to change the world for the poor. I remember watching a video clip which showed how this biometric identification will provide us a unique card that will transform our lives.
How silly of me to take everything on face value! I had no idea that, as always, our leaders were taking the ‘aam janata’ for yet another ride. My first and last question to Aadhaar proponents is: if I cannot prove my identity by Aadhaar card to access my own hard-earned Provident Fund, is it worth even the piece of paper it is printed on? This is another sham, a joke on poor people like me.
I work for a metal factory in Sonebhadra (Uttar Pradesh). Around six years back, when I heard about ‘magic of Aadhaar card’, I fell for the blitzkrieg. This will soon be must if you want to get any social benefit from the government, we were told. I received messages on my phone to link my Aadhaar card to bank account, to mobile phone etc.
I enquired around and found there was an Aadhaar service centre camp some seven km from my place. The camp could move away any day. So I took half-day off from work and travelled by cycle to the center. I was told I was late and it was last day of the camp. Soon, a man tried to be helpful and said pay up Rs 300 extra per card to get the biometric identity for four members of my family.
We had arranged fresh residential and birth certificates for the Aadhaar card. This was usual as in my village, most people do not know their exact dates of birth and provide random figures when asked for any official purpose. When my Aadhaar card came and I linked it to my bank account, I found to my horror that the digitized figures did not match with the date of birth submitted at my factory.
The shock came at a time when I wanted to withdraw a large chunk of money, around seven lakh, from my PF account for some family function. When I filled the withdrawal form, it was rejected. Official flagged me a notice that mentioned that my Aadhaar data was not matching with the one with PF account.
Ever since, I have been making rounds of one government office to another and our HR department but no solution is in sight. If this biometric identity is so unique why can’t it establish that I am Anil Dev. This remind of an old story of a man trying to prove he is not dead in order to get his own pension.
So much for the benefits of Aadhaar card. And they call it hi-tech unique identity card! People tell me I made the mistake. I should not have given them dual dates. I accept that it was an error in haste. So, will it cost me my entire life savings? Is this justice?
Many in my locality say they have benefitted by availing government schemes linked to Aadhaar card but I still cannot understand the purpose of this card. There could be some beneficiaries but there are many more who hurriedly made this card paying bribe money to camp officials but none of them has been able to avail any benefit from it. Ration card, bank passbook, election card and now Aadhaar card. Just a house of cards!