Unique Identification Schemes (Aadhaar), an ambitious project being proposed by the government to give all residents of India a unique identifying number, analyzed the potential implications of the scheme on those who fall within the grey zone between citizens and non-citizens in India, specifically refugees, stateless persons and other undocumented migrants. Using biometric methods, including an iris scan, the scheme is logging details of India's population on a central database. India plans to issue 600 million UID numbers. The programme's aim is laudable. The identity number will help the poor, who find it difficult to access public services and benefits because they do not have official records or identity. By one estimate, 80% of Indians don't have bank accounts; and only 60 million people have a Permanent Account Number or PAN, the sole identification number used during bank transactions.
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