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Journalist nails Congress analytics department head on faulty Aadhaar implementation and NPAs

The Congress party has been accusing the government of misusing Aadhaar even though it has patted itself for bringing in the scheme in the past. The Congress’ stance on Aadhaar has been fickle minded. The party is not sure whether it has to support Aadhaar or use it attack the government. Initially, in December 2016 it praised Dr Manmohan Singh for the Aadhaar initiative

It has praised Aadhaar on its official handle by citing a World Bank report in January 2016. Congress said that the initiative had helped poor and led to savings of $1 billion. However, a few months later, October it accused the government of using Aadhaar to transfer money to rich rather than poor.

In spite of the benefits of Aadhaar, there have been concerns about privacy and data security. One of the gaping holes in the implementation of Aadhaar by UPA is that it was launched without any legal framework to regulate the data collected from citizens. A law on Aadhaar was passed in 2016 under the Modi government.

Similarly, the Congress has also been keen on passing the blame for bad loans on Modi government. Rahul Gandhi has been highlighting the matter in his rallies.

Questions on Aadhaar and bad loans were asked to  Praveen Chakravarthy in conversation with BloombergQuint on the economic resolution of the Congress party in its recently concluded plenary. Praveen Chakravarthy was involved in Aadhaar project as a volunteer during the UPA regime and he currently heads the data analytics wing of the party.

The BloombergQuint Journalist Menaka Doshi asked questions on bad loans problem and Aadhaar in her conversation. She asked whether the faulty allocation policies in coal and telecom had led to the banking (bad loans/NPAs) problem. Regarding NPAs/ bad loans which were written off, she highlighted that the loans were given under UPA and they can’t be attributed to the current government completely.

Doshi also pointed out a line on Aadhaar in Congress’ economic policy resolution which said ‘Modi government has distorted the concept and use of Aadhaar’. She went on to comment that the UPA had gone ahead with Aadhaar without the protection of legislation. The journalist questioned whether the Congress was living in denial with respect to its policy misadventures during its tenure.

To this, Mr Chakravarthy did not provide a straightforward answer. He asked her to listen to Rahul Gandhi’s speech in the plenary where he said that the president had acknowledged ‘mistakes’. Praveen eulogised Gandhi by saying that no other party president had admitted to mistakes the way Congress president had done.

To the question on Aadhaar, he admitted that Congress failed in passing a bill. To this, the journalist asked as to why the Congress went ahead with its implementation without a law? Mr Chakravarthy said that the Congress made a conscious decision on the matter. On NPAs/ bad loans Praveen said that Congress could not be blamed for the problem just because these loans were given during their tenure. He failed to answer the question convincingly. Full video of the conversation can be seen here.

If Rahul Gandhi himself is admitting ‘mistakes’, why is he accusing the government during his rallies? This is perhaps the question that citizens need to ask.

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