Narendra Modi, who had earlier vociferously opposed the mandatory use of a state identification number by India's citizens, made its use obligatory after becoming Prime Minister in 2014, for an array of services and benefits provided by the state, including bank accounts, after patching its inadequacies.
Speaking on Wednesday, Modi claimed that the identity card scheme, known as Aadhaar, helped to plug leakage of approximately $21 billion from the exchequer, which was fiercely opposed by several people in courts.
“There was controversy over [the system], people have gone to the apex court to stall the legal validity of Aadhaar. They attempted to discredit [it]. Today Aadhaar is the biggest tool to ensure social security to a large section of the population… [It] has saved Rs. 1.5 lakh crores, I repeat 1.5 lakh crores from ending up in wrong hands,” said Modi.
While addressing a function in New Delhi, Modi alleged that before Adhaar was made mandatory to obtain social security benefits, there were more than 800 million bogus citizens on record, who never existed, but continued to get social security benefits from the government.
The Supreme Court of India is still seized regarding the issue of Adhaar, as several public interest lawsuits are pending. due to a move to link social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp with Adhaar.
In 2018, the court had upheld the constitutional validity of Adhaar, but asked the federal government to make inbuilt security measures to protect the data and ruled that it should not be made mandatory for the opening of a bank account or for getting mobile connections.