Mukesh Kumar, a 44-year-old pharmaceutical trader in Uttar Pradesh, believes Aadhaar can deal a body blow to fraudsters thriving on fake identities and scamsters who sell food grains meant for Public Distribution System. Kumar speaks from his personal experiences:
I must confess that I have little expectation from our political leaders, irrespective of which party they belong to. However, from my personal experiences, I would say Aadhaar card has been a game changer. Let me begin with my own example first.
I am a pharmaceutical traders and my work entails buying medicinal products in bulk and sell them to retailers with our own branding. We deal with far-flung retailers and are constantly looking for producers/suppliers to source trusted products at a lower price. We, my brother and I, have come across several suppliers who offer attractive pricing but want money to be transferred to their bank accounts in advance.
Most of our customers as well as suppliers want to cut corners by evading taxes. There were days when they would give us benami account numbers and we were left with no other option than to play ball. This is where the risk lied. A couple of times, we transferred part of the payments to a specified bank account and found the next day that we were dealing with fly-by-night operators.
Aadhaar has saved me those sleepless nights. Now, I merely ask my dealers to send me a copy of either PAN Card or Aadhaar Card, before I transfer the money. This is our first security check to ensure we are dealing with a “genuine party”. An Aadhaar-linked bank account means that the account-holder is traceable. He has a proven identity.
During my years in this business, I have come across middlemen and conmen of all hues, waiting to prey on the desperate. One thing that they thrive on is fake identity. Aadhaar scheme takes away this edge from the fraudster.
I have seen media reports on fake Aadhaar cards. But I have also seen from my own eyes how a child was reunited with his parents due to his biometric record.
A few months ago, I was travelling by a train and I saw some commotion at the Sultanpur junction. The Railway guards had found a four-year old boy loitering on the platform but he was unable to give details about his parents. A passenger advised the GRP men to put his thumb on an Aadhaar machine, for if the boy had a biometric account, his parents could be traced.
The guards were hesitant initially but finally they took the boy to a nearby mobile phone sim card seller. Several of us accompanied the guards out of sheer curiosity. Much to the surprise of the guards, the details about the boy’s family could be traced through the device soon after his finger was scanned. All the passengers cheered the event.
There is more. I frequently visit my village and have seen how the rural households have benefitted from the scheme. Earlier, they were at the mercy of the sarkari ration shop owner and most of the food grains was sold in the black market. With the new system, the seller is left with no option than to sell the grains to the customer, while the subsidy is transferred to their bank accounts linked with Aadhaar. No frauds, no bungling.