Hyderabad: Despite the lack of credibility of Common Service Centres (CSC) and Supreme Court hearing on Aadhaar, National Health Accounts (NHA) signed an MoU to implement Ayushman Bharat Scheme also referred to as Modicare through three lakh Common Service Centres (CSCs) in the country on Tuesday.
UIDAI cited enormous number of complaints in corruption and enrolment process violations against Aadhaar enrolment/update centres under CSC e-Gov and did not extend its partnership for Aadhaar enrolment. Several CSC centres, that are handled by private agencies, have been allegedly selling Aadhaar and biometric data of people.
On the other hand, a five-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra on May 10 had reserved the verdict on pleas challenging the Constitutional validity of Aadhaar scheme. As part of Ayushman Bharat’s envisaged workflow, CSCs seem to play a crucial role, beginning from enrolment to uploading beneficiary details, including Aadhaar or PAN Card or ration card apart from issuing printed card. Experts pointed out that the government seems to have internal self-confidence that they can get away with collecting data as the court hasn't laid down criteria in principle.
Ananth Padmanabhan, policy researcher said: “Ironically, the Supreme Court itself has not brought in barriers because they refused to grant an injunction when a petitioner had initially sought one. By not doing this, the Supreme Court had implicitly agreed to some bit of extension of Aadhaar in various process. The fact that the government is extending services to Ayushman Bharat indicates certain self-confidence that when it comes to public use, such decision will be upheld.”
He said that on a practical side, they should have waited as CSCs have been a point of data leak in past. “What has changed from then to now that the government is confidently giving Ayushman Bharat to CSC? The government should come out with safeguards in place stating that CSC do not leak the data again,” he opined. Sharing data with CSC requires a stricter scrutiny and better security systems in place because if people want services, then sharing data is a trade-off. Even though the government did not make Aadhaar mandatory for registration, people will have to give their Aadhaar details which if linked to health details is a big threat to the privacy of a person, said experts.