J&K To Introduce Unique IDs For Each Family, Says L-G Manoj Sinha. Oppn Questions Motive

The Jammu and Kashmir administration would develop a database of all families living in the Union Territory and assign each one a unique alpha-numeric identifier, news agency ANI reported, citing J&K’s LG Manoj Sinha.

The JK Family ID database will be used to evaluate beneficiaries’ eligibility for different social welfare systems.

Addressing the media, LG Sinha stated: “A unique ID for each family will be introduced, it will have an 8-digit number, so from now on benefits of govt schemes for families will reach beneficiaries automatically, no need to enroll separately. It will be time-saving & transparent.”

Speaking with PTI, the commissioner secretary of J&K’s Information Technology Department Prerna Puri said: “Once the data in the JK Family ID database is authenticated and verified, a beneficiary will not be required to submit any more document to avail a service.”

According to the news agency, the measure is part of the “Digital J&K Vision Document” launched by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha at an e-governance conference last month in Katra city in Reasi district.

The Bharatiya Janata Party applauded the action, while Kashmiri parties and the Congress expressed worries over the database’s privacy.

The data in the JK Family ID database, according to the vision paper issued last month, will be used to establish “eligibility through automatic selection of beneficiaries for receiving social benefits.”

“The database would identify each and every family in J&K and would collect the basic data of the family, provided with the consent of the family, in a digital format,” the document added.

The database will be created and managed in accordance with Indian data protection laws and regulations. According to the document, the Jammu and Kashmir administration also intends to develop an information security strategy and a cyber security framework for the Union Territory.

The decision, according to Peoples Democratic Party head Mehbooba Mufti, is “emblematic of the widening trust deficit” between Kashmiris and the government.

Taking to Twitter, Mufti stated: “Creating ‘a unique family ID’ for J&K residents is emblematic of the widening trust deficit esp post 2019. Kashmiris are viewed with deep suspicion & this is another surveillance tactic to tighten the iron grip on their lives.”

While speaking with PTI, Congress spokesperson Ravinder Sharma questioned the government’s motives.

“Why does the government wish to peek into everything?” he questioned. “They already have enough data through Aadhaar and are providing benefits through direct bank transfer DBT mode,” he said. 

Sharma also questioned the government’s capacity to preserve such data, citing a recent ransomware assault on the All India Institute of Medical Sciences’ database in Delhi.

PTI stated that National Conference leader Rattan Lal Gupta questioned the necessity for a separate database when the administration already had access to Aadhaar records.

The BJP, on the other hand, applauded the action and stated that residents who have to wait in line for various perks and certifications will gain once a verified database is created.

(With Inputs From Agencies)