[Answered] Discuss the rationale behind the Aadhaar-Voter ID linkage. What are the issues associated with it?

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Write some points related to the rationale behind the Aadhaar-Voter ID linkage. Also, write some issues associated with it.Conclusion: Write a way forward.

The Election Commission had launched the National Electoral Law Purification and Authentication Programme to link the Aadhaar number with the voter ID number. As per the government, linkage of Aadhaar with voter IDs will assist in ensuring that only one Voter ID is issued per citizen of India.

Rationale behind the Aadhaar-Voter ID linkage:

  • To weed out duplication of voters, such as migrant workers who may have been registered more than once on the electoral rolls in different constituencies or for persons registered multiple times within the same constituency.
  • Ensure authenticationof entries in the electoral roll.
  • Facilitate elector registration in the locationat which they are ‘ordinarily resident’.
  • Eliminate proxies casting their votes using multiple voter Ids.
  • Aadhaar captures biometric data, which is useful in validating uniqueness. All revisions for changesin residence, etc, can be easily done and verified in future. Thereby allowing all citizens to vote freely.
  • Aadhaar based authentication and verification is considered more reliable, quicker and cost efficient when compared to other IDs.

Associated issues:

  • Aadhaar is only a proof of residence and not a proof of citizenship. Therefore, verifying voter identity against this will only help in tackling duplication but will not remove voters.
  • The estimate of error rates in biometric based authentication differ widely. The Supreme Court hold in Puttaswamy case that a person would not be denied of benefits in case Aadhaar based authentication could not take place.
  • Linking of the two databases of electoral rolls and Aadhaar could lead to the linkage of Aadhaar’s “demographic” information with voter ID information, and lead to violation of the right to privacy and surveillance measures by the state.
  • There is also evidence that it will lead to the arbitrary deletion of eligible voters on a large scale. It was seen in the Assembly elections in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh recently.
  • There is an absence of data protection law. It can possibly lead to misuse by agencies that can access the voter’s database, as Aadhar cards are now used at various places for different services.

It is important that the government clarifies through that the linking is not mandatory and expedites the enactment of a data protection legislation that removes concerns of unauthorised processing of personal data held by the government.

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