How J&K’s proposed family ID will work, and why it is being criticized

Source: The post is based on the article “How J&K’s proposed family ID will work, and why it is being criticized” published in Indian Express on 15th December 2022

What is the News?

J&K Lt Governor’s announcement to introduce a family Pehchan Patra (identity card) for residents of the UT has been criticized by the opposition parties in Kashmir as a surveillance tool.

What is Family Pehchan Patra(FPP)?

It will be an identity card with a unique 8-digit alphanumeric number, which will contain details of all members of the family, including their names, ages, qualifications, employment status, etc.

The card will be linked with the Aadhaar and bank account number of the head of the family.

While Aadhaar contains information about an individual, the family ID card will collate a database about families, with the consent of the family.

No consent is likely to attract practical difficulties because benefits such as subsidized rations will be linked with the family ID card.

What is the significance of this initiative?

The FPP aims to create an authentic, verified, and reliable database of families in J&K to ensure speedy and transparent doorstep delivery of welfare schemes to eligible beneficiaries. Such a system would facilitate the direct transfer of benefits to their bank accounts with minimum human interference.

The database will also help in identifying and weeding out duplicate ration cards and Aadhaar and will help the government identify families that have a number of educated youth, but without jobs.

What are the criticisms against this initiative?

The opposition parties have criticized the idea of FPP describing it as a ‘surveillance tool’ to keep a watch on Kashmiris. They claim the “unique family IDs” as a symbol of the widening trust deficit among the people of J&K.

Further, it has also been criticized as a waste of time and resources as a similar system – Aadhar – already exists.

There are also concerns regarding the ability of the government in protecting the personal data of the residents in the wake of recent cyber and ransomware attacks by Chinese entities.

Which other states have similar initiatives?

Haryana was the first state to introduce the concept of the family Pehchan Patra and Punjab introduced it last year.

UP Parivar Kalyan Card, Rajasthan’s Jan Aadhaar and MP’s Samagra ID are other examples.

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