IT Grids (India) Private Limited, a company based in Hyderabad was found to be in possession of Aadhaar data and voter ID information of 7.82 crore individuals in Telugu speaking states of Andhara Pradesh and Telangana. The company used the Aadhar data to develop TDP’s Seva Mitra app which is being used by the party workers to influence the voters. A nine-member Special Investigation Team investigated the case and found that the private company used Aadhar data. “After examining the size of the database, we found that it is similar to the original database of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI),” said the investigation team.
Based on the information provided by the investigation team, UIDAI Hyderabad regional deputy director Bhavani Prasad lodged under various sections of Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act 2016. The case has been given to an SIT led by IG (West Zone) Stephen Ravindra. IT Girds CEO Ashok Dakavaram has taken refuge in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
It is very clear that Chandrababu Naidu led Andhra Pradesh government helped him to get refuge in Andhra Pradesh to pay the debts. The data theft by the company and involvement of Naidu’s party is violation of privacy and this data is being used to influence the voters to get their votes.
Supreme Court, in its decision on Aadhar card, ruled that the use of Aadhaar data by private companies is unconstitutional. These companies could no longer make Aadhaar identification compulsory for their products and services. However, Modi government has decided to amend the Telegraph Act and Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to allow private entities like banks and commerce payment systems to use Aadhar as a ‘Know your customer’ (KYC) method.
The amendments were cleared by the union cabinet on Monday. The amendments also have provisions for strict punishment for data breach and requirement of parental consent for access to a child’s biometric data. The amendments have provisions for extension of punishment for data breach from three years to ten years.
Earlier Naidu has gone a step ahead of Rahul Gandhi in promising freebies to the people. In the manifesto for the 2019 general election, the party promised Rs 2 lakh to each family every year. The amount of money Naidu promised is almost three times to that promised by Congress president. “Nobody can match us in extending such largesse even in imagination,” said Naidu, the incumbent chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. The scheme of Naidu is universal in contrast with NYAY which will target only 20 percent of poor families.
The scheme would cost Rs 54 lakh crores which is almost 28 percent of country’s GDP. This amount is close to combined expenditure of central government and state governments which is around 60 lakh crore rupees. The parliamentary and assembly elections are being conducted simultaneously in Andhra Pradesh.
The data theft and freebie promise show that Naidu has taken the electoral competition to a new low. He is ready to breach the people’s trust to win the election.