US majors now eying Aadhaar benefits, claims government

NEW DELHI: Commanding 111 crore enumerations, the Aadhaar Card service is now catching the fancy of global corporate biggies. While some domestic telecom companies have already shifted to the Aadhaar-based verification, the government claims that a number of US majors also want to use the unique identification platform for their Indian operations.

Chief executive of Microsoft Satya Nadella has informed the government that the Skype platform would be completely banking on Aadhaar for user verification in India, sources close to the Union Minister for Information and Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad told Express.

With the Union Cabinet having recently approved the scheme for promotion of digital villages, the government is keen to rope in top global IT giants. “Nadella explained one of the initiatives by the company in villages in Maharashtra to the IT minister. They have been leveraging Aadhaar to link educational and health initiatives which has been a success,” added sources.

“Nadella has also informed the minister that its social networking platform, LinkedIn, would bring employees and employers together on the platform while using Aadhaar number to verify credentials of the job-seekers.”

However, privacy activists are skeptical about the potential fallouts of corporate companies tapping into the database. “We have a robust law in place to protect the privacy of the Aadhaar subscribers and the data could only be used for the intended purposes. If there is any violation, it will amount to a criminal breach liable with jail term for the offender. The Centre will swiftly and strictly punish those who violate the secrecy clause of the Aadhar Act,” claimed sources.

The government, however, is enthusiastic about the response of global biggies to the ‘power and appeal’ of Aadhaar. “In the recent times, senior ministers in the Modi government have held a number of interactions with the chiefs of the global corporate giants. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also asked the ministers to impress upon the global corporate giants to look at India as a huge databank, which could offer great business opportunity to them,” sources added.

Aadhaar has emerged as the principal tool of the Modi government in disbursing welfare schemes. The Centre does direct benefit transfer to the tune of Rs 55,000 crore through the Aadhar platform.


[Copyright by Manish Anand]