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The appointment of two private sector executives as part-time members of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has sparked off a debate around conflict of interest over the Aadhaar data-bank, but Minister of Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad, on Thursday, citing provisions of the Aadhaar Act said that any such conflict of interest will be prevented.
On Thursday, Prasad administered the oath to the newly appointed chairman of UIDAI J. Satyanarayan, and the part-time members — IT company netCORE’s founder and managing director Rajesh Jain and Persistent Systems’ chairman and managing director Anand Deshpande.
On a specific query posed about the members’ possible conflict of interest, the minister quoted the section 19 (5) of The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services), Act, 2016, which reads: “If any member, who is a director of a company and who as such director, has any direct or indirect pecuniary interest in any manner coming up for consideration at a meeting of the authority, he shall, as soon as possible after relevant circumstances have come to his knowledge, disclose the nature of his interest at such meeting and such disclosure shall be recorded in the proceedings of the authority, and the member shall not take part in any
deliberation or decision of the authority with respect to that matter.”
Software development firm Persistent Systems, CMD of which has been appointed as a part-time member of UIDAI, was reportedly involved with development of an Aadhaar-based digital document signing application, along with an online Aadhaar-based document repository.
On the other hand, Rajesh Jain’s netCORE Solutions leads the market of companies that send promotional SMSes and calls. Jain was also involved with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s social media campaign for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
“The legal framework of Aadhaar completely maintains secrecy. There is a legal provision in Aadhaar that owner of Aadhaar even with his own consent cannot reveal to anyone his biometric details — his iris and finger prints,” Prasad told reporters here.