Coriander and an apple, as per the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), are residents of India as they have been given an Aadhaar number. And this, perhaps, has been the last straw.
Expressing shock at this, not to mention there having been several complaints of impersonation, the Union home ministry has asked UIDAI to get an internal as well as external security audit done by a third party to fix the lacunae in the enrolment system and avoid any more goof-ups.
The ministry had told UIDAI last month. It shot a reminder last week after seeing some more bizarre reports. If UIDAI doesn’t reply, the ministry may have to seek Intelligence Bureau’s (IB) help for the audit, sources told DNA.
According to a report, an Aadhaar card with the number 4991 1866 5246 was issued in the name of Mr Kothimeer (coriander), son of Mr Palavu (pulao), resident of Mamidikaya Vuru (raw mango village) of Jambuladinne in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh. The card had the photo of a mobile phone instead of a person.
The ministry is in possession of about a dozen more such astonishing examples where a number has been given to non-entities.
“As the Aadhaar and NPR database are complementary to each other and are being used to enhance security and strategic processes, the ministry has the right to seek a security audit of any of its process,” a ministry official said.
Overruling Chidambaram’s objections on UIDAI’s security, the Union cabinet on January 27 had come out with a compromise formula and given a go-ahead to the UIDAI to expand its project to 600 million people.
It was agreed that both projects will continue simultaneously and each would use the biometric data collected by the other. In case of any discrepancies, the NPR data would prevail as it is collected by government officials who are accountable.
In the same cabinet meeting, Nandan Nilekani had said, “We will review the security concerns in six to eight weeks and begin data collection from April.”
“In spite of all its assurances, the UIDAI is yet to get back to us and apprise us of the changes. We have no clue what are they up to,” said the official.