'Was determined to make Aadhaar scheme happen': Pranab Mukherjee says in Shankkar Aiyar's book

A new book — timed to coincide with the eighth anniversary of the announcement by then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee that led to the creation of 'Aadhaar' — will be released on 6 July 2017. Titled Aadhaar: A Biometric History of India’s 12-Digit Revolution, the book has been authored by analyst/journalist Shankkar Aiyar, and traces the history of the identification system.

President Pranab Mukherjee addressing the audience after the release of commemorative publication of National Herald at a function in New Delhi on Saturday .PTI

President Pranab Mukherjee. PTI Photo

Aiyar's book arranges a linear history on the ups, downs and turnarounds of Aadhaar under two governments with diametrically differing ideologies. He provides anecdotes of power games and turf wars that sought to shore up or undermine the project. He also examines how the scope and application of Aadhaar has spread beyond what was originally envisaged. And finally, the book creates a dialogue around the infirmities embedded in the system, data protection and privacy laws.

President Pranab Mukherjee — the prime mover of the world’s largest identification project — has shared his insights on Aadhaar in Aiyar's book. "I was not satisfied with merely letting it happen. I was determined to make it happen," Mukherjee is quoted as saying.

Interviews with key figures connected to the project, including Nandan Nilekani, former Home Minister P Chidambaram, former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and current Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Prime Minister Modi, who in April 2014 had dismissed Aadhaar as a ‘political gimmick’, observes that the ‘problem was not with the idea of Aadhaar but with the inadequacies’ of it and adds, "For them (UPA 2), it was just another scheme. I had suggested many ideas but they simply didn’t want to accept any suggestions from Narendra Modi."

Aadhaar: A Biometric History of India’s 12-Digit Revolution is published by Westland. Publisher VK Karthika said of Aiyar's book: "There are so many questions we all have on the subject of Aadhaar and the changing relationship between the state and the citizen. This book seeks to answer them even as it lays out the terrain for future conflicts and possible resolutions."

Updated Date: Jul 09, 2017 11:56 AM

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