In the village last week in which I met a man who had an Aadhaar card but could not use it because manual labour had erased the lines on his fingertips, nobody was literate. There is no road to the village, electricity is erratic and clean water impossible. Village water is so awful that villagers regularly get sick, but to get to the nearest hospital they have to walk 2 km to the highway where they take a bus to the nearest town.
To find work they catch the same bus to a stone mine 50 km away, where they earn Rs 300 a day, of which they spend Rs 60 on transport. The rest on somehow staying alive. It has always been this way, but when the BJP government came to power and the Prime Minister promised ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ they hoped that things would change.
The one thing that has changed is that they are all forced now to have an Aadhaar card, and if they want work under the MNREGA, they need to upload their details to get a job card. Nobody in the village has a cellphone so they need to go to the nearest town to do this as well. A village elder said, “We still believe Modiji is a good man and that he wants to do something for us, but please tell him we cannot spend Rs 100 a day on photos and going online.” If anyone needs proof that it is India’s poorest citizens who are most hurt by Aadhaar, let them travel to a village like the one I went to and do a reality check.
At this point I need to remind you that I have been a conscientious objector to the Aadhaar card. I did not get one for as long as I could because I thought it was a dangerously irresponsible idea, but in the end was forced to get one because it is impossible to do anything in India now without this wretched card… read more:
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