Subscribe to South Asia Citizens Wire | feeds from | @sacw
Home > Special Dossiers / Compilations > Screening South Asia: Public Sphere, Citizenship and Technologies of (...) > Notes from a contested history of National Identity Card in (...)

Notes from a contested history of National Identity Card in India:1999-2007

by Taha Mehmood, 9 December 2008

print version of this article print version — 9 December 2008

People first have to develop confidence in written document before it could
supplant familiar oral and written records.

Multi-Purpose National Identity Card


1. Origins: The Kargil War

In the sweltering heat of May 1999, as the plane carrying The Chief of Army Staff General Ved Prakash Malik crossed the Indian territorial skies to far away Poland, Malik could have hardly imagined that the lines of actual control on the ground beneath his feet were changing.

From the 26th day of May till the 26th day of month of July 1999, India and Pakistan were engaged in a Low Intensity Conflict over the possession of barren, but strategically important mountain peaks of Kargil.
According to some calculations the cost of Kargil ’war’ was around 10,000 crore rupees[i] 1 [around Two Billion US Dollars] in addition to the incalculable loss of Five hundred and Twenty Seven lives[ii] 2.
The conflict generated a huge debate in the media about the ideas of border, fencing, intrusion, defense preparedness, illegal immigration and intelligence apparatus.

Towards the end of July after the war was officially over, the Government came under a lot of flak about its conduct and the foggy nature of events leading up to the war.

2. Kargil Review Committee [KRC]

On 24th July 1999, ’At a tea party hosted for journalists who covered the Kargil Conflict’[iii] 3, the Government ’quickly announced the setting up of a review committee’[iv] 4, the then Minister of Information Pramod Mahajan, said, "When we say events leading to, it may be intelligence, administrative, political failures. We are not binding the Committee with one or two aspects"[v] 5. Five days later on 29th July 1999, through an order No. 361/6/4/99-TS[vi] 6 the Government of India formally instituted the Kargil Review committee.

The Committee was given a mandate to investigate two prominent aspects of the war. Firstly, to inspect the timeline of events leading up to the Pakistani aggression in the Kargil District of Ladakh in Jammu & Kashmir and secondly, to recommend necessary measures to, ’safeguard national security against such armed intrusions’[vii] 7 .

From 29th July 1999, the date of its constitution, the Kargil Review Committee started working at 3rd Floor of Sardar Patel Bhavan at Parliament Street, in New Delhi[viii] 8. The Committee was to submit its report by the 31st October 1999[ix] 9 . The committee also invited members of public who had ’reliable and authentic’[x] 10 information regarding the war. The National Security Service Council Secretariat was required to assist the committee, by a Government order[xi] 11.

3. Pre History of National Security Service Council

In the previous year, on 19th March 1998, Atal Bihari Vajpayee led center right coalition Government called the National Democratic Alliance [NDA] came to power. On 18th March 1998, a day before Vajpayee was sworn in as the Prime Minister of India, his party, the Bhartiya Janta Party, the dominant member of the NDA, released a document called the National Agenda for Governance[xii] 12.

Section 26 of the document titled National Security promised to establish a ’National Security Council to analyze the military, economic and political threats to the nation’[xiii] 13. The Council was to undertake a ’Strategic Defense Review’[xiv] 14>. This was purported to ’ensure the security, territorial integrity and unity of India’[xv] 15>.

Next month, on 10th of April 1998, Prime Minister Vajpayee sanctioned an order to constitute a ’Task Force’[xvi] 16> to review security related issues. The ’Task Force’ was chaired by K.C Pant[xvii] 17>, Deputy Chair person Planning Commission, other members were Foreign Minister, Jaswant Singh[xviii] 18> and Air Commodore (retd) Jasjit Singh[xix] 19>, the then head of a highly influential, Defense Ministry funded[xx] 20>, strategic affairs think tank called the Institute of Defense Studies and Analyses (IDSA).

Working on the recommendations of the ’Task Force’, Government constituted a National Security Council on 18th November, 1998[xxi] 21>.

4. The National Security Service Council [NSSC]

The National Security Service Council was a three tier set up.
Prime Minister was to the Chair, followed by Home Minister, Defense Minister, External Affairs Minister, Finance Minister and Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission[xxii] 22>.

Going by the logic of ’Task Force’s’ recommendations it seemed as if members were laying out institutional framework to invite themselves to higher groups of decision making. As, by virtue of being the External Affairs minister and Deputy Chairperson Planning Commission, two of the three members of the ’Task Force’, Jaswant Singh and K C Pant became members of National Security Council. Principal Secretary to Prime Minister was to act as the National Security Advisor.

The second tier would comprise of three more elements, they were, the National Security Council Secretariat [NSCS] by the Joint Intelligence Committee, Strategic Policy Group and other invitees.

The Strategic Planning Group was to consist of Cabinet Secretary, the three Service Chiefs, Foreign Secretary, Home Secretary, Defense Secretary, Secretary (Defense Production), Finance Secretary, Secretary (Revenue), RBI Governor, Director (IB), Secretary (r) Cabinet Secretariat, Secretary (DAE), SA to RM, Secretary (Space) and Chairman (JIC). One of the key tasks of the Strategic Policy Group was take a strategic defense review.

National Security Advisory Board [NSCAB] was to form the third tier. The Board was to consist of ’persons of eminence’[xxiii] 23> from outside the Government covering expertise in external security, strategic analysis, foreign affairs, defense, the Armed Forces, internal security, Science & Technology, and economics.

When the Kargil Review Committee formed its members were partially sourced from the National Security Service council.

5. Members of Kargil Review Committee

Constituted on 29th July 1999 the four member committee, was also called the Subrahmanyam Committee, as it was chaired by K Subrahmanyam. Other three members were, B.G Verghese, Satish Chandra and K.K. Hazari
K Subrahmanyam, a former director of IDSA[xxiv] 24>, [which was then headed by Air Commodore (retd) Jasjit Singh] and B.G Verghese, a senior journalist both were members of National Security Council Advisory Board [NSCAB]. K Subrahmanyam, was also the convener of NSCAB. Earlier, on 3rd May 1999, Satish Chandra, a 1965 batch IFS officer, was made Chairman of Joint Intelligence Committee, Cabinet Secretariat as Secretary of the National Security Council Secretariat [NSCS][xxv] 25>. While Lieutenant General (Retd.) K.K. Hazari, was a former Vice Chief of Army Staff who retired from service in 1986, was the only person in the Committee who wasn’t a member of any other official setup[xxvi] 26>.

The committee submitted a 228 page report[xxvii] 27> to the Prime Minister on 7th January, 2000[xxviii] 28>. The prologue of the report was eight pages long, followed by, " ’history’ 18 pages, security implications of trends in India’s defence expenditure" (Chapter 9) covers 14, "Nuclear backdrop" (Chapter 10) has 29 and "The public dimension" (Chapter 11) six"[xxix] 29>.

That was perhaps the only thing known about the report. News reports on or about the content of Kargil Review Committee reports became hazy after 7th January 2000. A press note issued by the National Security Council Secretariat, just before the submission of report, said, ’Conscious of the fact that the disclosure of some of this information would not be in public interest for reasons of national security... the committee has itself excised the same from the report’[xxx] 30>. Subrahmanyam told a Times of India correspondent that day, ’We believe we have been able to establish /what/ went wrong. We did not undertake the exercise to find out /who/ went wrong’[xxxi] 31>.

Others however respectfully disagree. A senior print journalist, who appeared before the Committee had this to say- ’The most significant finding that the Kargil Review Committee (KRC) appears to have made is that the office of the Prime Minister poses a threat to national security... not even the Prime Minister or his Cabinet colleagues are entitled to know the truth about Kargil’[xxxii] 32>, he adds that, ’Inconvenient reports by committees have frequently not been made public, but censorship-at-source is a wholly new phenomenon’[xxxiii] 33>. Till date baring perhaps the members of the KRC, no one really knows ’what went wrong’.
The Government however accepted the ’excised’ report. On February 24th 2000[xxxiv] 34> the then Defense Minister George Fernandes presented the report in the Lower House of Parliament, ’amidst din’[xxxv] 35>... just before it was adjourned for the day[xxxvi] 36>. A month and a half later, on 18th of April 2000, George Fernandes’s deputy, Hiren Pathak [the then Minister of State for Defense], presented a Supplementary action taken report in the Upper House of Parliament[xxxvii] 37>.

6. Recommendations

An executive summary of the Kargil Review Committee report [which was drafted by K Subrahmanyam and BG Verghese[xxxviii] 38>] was made available to the members of Upper House of Parliament on 25th February, 2000. One of the key observations of the Committee was that ’Kargil type situation could perhaps have been avoided’[xxxix] 39>. And in order to repeat a Kargil type situation again the Committee urged setting up of a ’a comprehensive space and aerial based surveillance system’[xl] 40>

Under a sub section titled Intelligence, the Committee observed that the Kargil episode highlighted, ’gross inadequacies in the nation’s surveillance capability... Some countries have created a national surveillance command. Since the Indian system is still in the initial stages, decisions taken at this juncture will have long term implications...’[xli] 41>. It deliberated whether ’a two-stream approach - civil and military -... may not be a better alternative than depending on a single agency’[xlii] 42>.

On Civil- Military Liaison the Committee felt that ’at various levels, from the ranking Command HQ to the operational formations on the ground. Division) Brigade or Battalion, is most necessary to smoothen relationships during times of emergency and stress, like war and proxy war... Relocating villages behind the Army’s forward defense line in J&K can best be done through an initially limited experimental move’[xliii] 43>. For this it recommends ’steps [to] be taken to issue ID Cards to border villagers in certain vulnerable areas on a priority basis, pending its extension to other or all parts of the State’. The committee further urged that a policy like this ’would also be relevant in the North-East, Sikkim and part of West Bengal’.
Right from the point of time when the Committee was set up till it presented its report, sections of the media and opposition parties were very critical about its very constitution and findings.

At the time of inception the charge was, that since, ’committee is not governed by the Commission of Inquiry Act’[xliv] 44> it has ’no statutory powers’[xlv] 45>, ’it cannot summon senior government and intelligence officials, nor can it be given top secret documents’[xlvi] 46>. Most importantly, ’Subrahmanyam is a member of the National Security Council, he can hardly probe the premier agency in charge of national security’[xlvii] 47>.

Later when the report was submitted the whole affair was read by various sections as ’a triumph for fiction over fact’[xlviii] 48>, ’an eye wash’[xlix] 49> and ’a clear white wash’[l] 50>. So much so that, Dr. Manmohan Singh, a Member of Parliament from Assam and the then leader of
opposition at the Upper House, speaking on the issue of national security
said, that, ’I do not believe that the Subrahmanyam Committee report is the last word on the subject’[li] 51>

7. Group of Ministers [GoM]

Going by what happened next, it seemed as if the Government also didn’t think that Dr. Manmohan Singh’s utterances were the final word on the Kargil Review Committee Report.

By 17th April 2000, the then Prime Minster Vajpayee through a Government of India, Cabinet Secretariat, Rashtrapati Bhavan order No.141/2/1/2000-TS[lii] 52>, approved with ’immediate effect’[liii] 53> the formation of Group of Ministers [GoM] under the Chairmanship of Home Minister, LK Advani, other members Defense Minister, George Fernandes, the External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh, the Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha and Brijesh Mishra, who was besides being Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister was the National Security Advisor. The GoM was to submit its report in six months from the date of its constitution.[liv] 54>

There was a persistent mutation and replication with respect to the membership in the formation of various groupings. As, for instance, the External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh, besides being in the GoM, had earlier been a member of the ’Task Force’ which proposed the formation of a National Security Service Council, of which he was also a member.

The National Security Service Council membership on the other hand was shared by the Home Minister, LK Advani, the Defense Minister, George Fernandes, the Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha and Brijesh Mishra who were part of GoM.

Twenty three days after its formation, on May 10th 2000, the GoM created four ’Task Forces’ to ’to examine the recommendations of the KRC in detail’[lv] 55>. The ’Task Forces’ were to probe issues concerning, ’the intelligence apparatus, internal security, border management and management of defense’[lvi] 56>. By 22 May 2000, the GoM asked the ’Task Forces’ ’to evaluate aspects of national security above and beyond the recommendations of the KRC’[lvii] 57>.

Later, on 27th July 2000, the then Defense Minister George Fernandes while replying to a question, in the Lower House of the parliament about the follow up action on report of Subrahmanyam Committee, said that, ’in view of the sensitive nature of issues involved, it would not be in the national interest to divulge further details of actions being taken by the Government on these recommendations’[lviii] 58>. Of the recommendations that he said that Government had accepted, there was no mention of a National Identity card[lix] 59>. However he did mention that the ’Task forces’ were given three months to submit the reports to the GoM[lx] 60>.

8. The Task Forces

The ’Task Force’ on intelligence apparatus was chaired by Girish Chander Saxena, a 1950 batch IPS officer, was the then Governor of Jammu and Kashmir and former RAW chief[lxi] 61> followed by, M.K. Narayanan, the present National Security Advisor, former Intelligence Bureau Chief and a 1953 batch IPS officer. K. Raghunath, former Foreign Secretary,. P.P. Srivastav IAS, the then Home Affairs Special Secretary, B. Raman, the then RAW additional secretary, R. Narasimha was with the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS)and Maj. Gen. (retired) Chandan .S. Nugyal[lxii] 62>.

The Task for on Defense management was chaired by Arun Singh and assisted by a host of people with defense and civil administration background. Among them was, Narendra Singh Sisodia, who was then an Additional Secretary in the National Security Council Secretariat now heads the IDSA as Director[lxiii] 63>. For Internal Security, former bureaucrat N.N.Vohra was the Chair, before that he has served as the principal secretary to the Prime Minister [1997-1998], previously between 1985-94 he served as an Additional Defense Secretary Defense Production, and later as Secretary Home and Defense[lxiv] 64>Secretary. In 2003 Vohra was sent as the Government’s special Interlocutor to Kashmir[lxv] 65>. Julio Riberio, an ex IPS oficer was the other member. Vohra and Riberio go a long way back together. Vohra was the Home Secretary of Punjab during Operation Bluestar while Riberio was the Director General of Police[1986-88]. Riberio later wrote a book called ’Bullet for Bullet’ about his experiences in Punjab[lxvi] 66>. Riberio lives a retired life in Bombay[lxvii] 67> while Vohra has become a member of the executive council of IDSA[lxviii] 68>. Rajendra Shekhar, former chief of the Central Bureau of Investigation during the VP Singh regime was an IPS officer Rajasthan cadre. 1998 he also wrote a book called ’Not a License to Kill’, where emphasis was more on ’prevention and detection’[lxix] 69>. In an interview to a magazine he rued about the fact that, ’those who control us, want us to control dissent more than the enforcement of the rule of law’. Lt-Gen (Retd) V. K. Nayyar, served as Governor of Manipur between 1993-1994[lxx] 70> and was Additional Director General Military Operations at Army Head Quarters in charge of Operation Bluestar 1984[lxxi] 71>. The other members were RC Jha, M. K. Narayanan, who also served on the ’Task force on Intelligence Apparatus’ and M. L. Wadhawan.

Former bureaucrat, Dr. Madhav Godbole and the Chair of Task Force on Border Management was Home Secretary, Union Government of India when Babri Masjid was demolished on 6th of December 1992[lxxii] 72>. Godbole was assisted by Lt.Gen (Retd) V K Sood, former Vice Chief of Army Staff [1993][lxxiii] 73>. Sood had once served under K K Hazari[lxxiv] 74> of the Subrahmanyam/Kargil Review Committee fame. M L Mehta, former Chief Secretary was a bureaucrat from Rajasthan Cadre[lxxv] 75> and junior in service to Rajendra Shekhar. T Ananthachari, former Director General Border security Force[lxxvi] 76>. Vice Admiral (Retd) AR Tandon was formerly Flag Officer commanding in Chief Western Command[lxxvii] 77> and Deputy Chief of Naval Staff. DVLN Ramakrishna Rao former Andhra Pradesh Inspector General of Police[lxxviii] 78>, and former DG Home Ministry. Last member of the group was Chinmoy Chakravarty.

Exactly five months after the GoM had asked the ’Task force’ to begin work, on late Friday night 22nd December 2000, television news channels started running flashes about a terrorist attack on the historic Red Fort[lxxix] 79>. A red alert was declared in the Capital. Within weeks the Delhi police launched a massive drive for ’Tenant Verification’[lxxx] 80>. This was for the first time that police was amassing personal data on all ’outsiders’ to the Capital city. But this drive became yet another excuse for the police to extract money, so much so that on 17th April 2002, a question was raised in the Upper House of Parliament with respect to the harassment of land owners by the police[lxxxi] 81>.

As of 24th October 2005 the Delhi High court had acquitted four people and sentenced seven others, of the total eleven arrested in the wake of the attack[lxxxii] 82>.

It was in this background that by 5th January 2001, all the ’Task Forces’ had submitted their reports[lxxxiii] 83> to the GoM.

Eleven months later, on 22nd November 2001, in the Parliament House, when the 8th Session of the XIII Lok Sabha was in progress, it took an Unstarred Question No. 915, asked by Lok Sabha MP, Jayaben B. Thakkar, for the then Defense Minister George Fernandes to declare that, ’The GoM...presented their comprehensive Report titled ’Reforming the National Security System’ to the Prime Minister on February 26, 2001’[lxxxiv] 84> and that ’The recommendations made by the GoM were approved by the Government on 11th May, 2001’[lxxxv] 85>. Of the fifteen recommendations spelt out by the Defense Minister in the parliament that day, there was not a single mention of smart identity cards.

On the other hand, a cursory glance at the questions asked in the parliament between 18th April and 12th December 2001 presents a different picture. For instance, there were questions about introducing a smart card system to ensure punctuality of Government employees[lxxxvi] 86>, smart card for Employee Provident fund[lxxxvii] 87>, and selling electricity through smart card[lxxxviii] 88>

Pramod Mahajan, the then Minister of Information Technology, while replying to an Unstarred Question No. 3657, submitted jointly by Gowdar Mallikarjunappa, Gangasandra Siddappa Basavaraj, Iqbal Ahmed Saradgiy and S. Vivekananda Reddy, which was answered on 12th of December 2001, said that ’A Committee has been set-up to formulate common Standards for Multi Application Smart Cards’[lxxxix] 89>. Since it was not asked, it would be very difficult for us to know the reasons as to why this committee was set up, or who were there in this committee.

9. Attack on Parliament

Next day, on 13th of December 2001 the Parliament of India was attacked[xc] 90>. In a televised address shortly after the attacks, Prime Minister Vajpayee said, "This was not just an attack on the building, it was a warning to the entire nation," he said. "We accept the challenge."[xci] 91> Three days later on December 16th 2001 the Army launched Operation Parakaram. Around half a million troops were mobilized along the international border with Pakistan. The standoff lasted for eight months. Although nothing came out of it but by 2003 around Three Hundred and Seventy Five military and civilian personnel were killed in various stages of mine laying and De-mining operations.[xcii] 92> Of the four people arrested and charged with ’waging a war against the state’[xciii] 93>. The Supreme Court had acquitted two and confirmed death penalty for the other two[xciv] 94>.

The sudden change in environment reflected in the parliament as well. As questions after 13th December specifically related to providing for identity documents were mostly about giving smart cards to Air India passengers[xcv] 95>, providing smart cards instead of paper identity cards to employees working with various agencies at the Air ports[xcvi] 96>, introducing a smart card based security system at the airports[xcvii] 97>, and introducing smart cards instead of ration cards for the Public Distribution System[xcviii] 98>.

10. Change of Guard.

On 22nd May 2004, precisely four years to the day, after the GoM had asked the ’Task Force’ to start working, there was a change of guard at the Center. Sonia Gandhi led United Progressive Alliance came to power and Manmohan Singh was sworn in as Prime Minister of India. Shivraj Vishwanath Patil became the Home Affairs Minister[xcix] 99>.

11. MNIC

According to a Department of Information and Technology document, on National e-Governance Plan, presented in a workshop with States and Union Territories, held on 11-12th March, 2005, at Hotel Samrat, in New Delhi- on 22nd July, 2004, Shivraj Vishwanath Patil, the present Home Minister, had given gave a go ahead to the Registrar General of India to start work on the pilot project concerning the Multipurpose National identity card[c] 100>.

This particular insertion of the go ahead order by the Home Minister after the presentation by the RGI is quite interesting, as former Minister Of State In The Ministry Of Home Affairs, Swami Chinmayanand on 22nd July 2003, while answering a Lok Sabha Starred Question, titled Multipurpose Identity Cards asked by Dalpat Singh Paraste and Mohan Rawale had already stated that ’A Pilot Project on the Multipurpose National Identity Card (MNIC) scheme /has been initiated by the Government in April, 2003/ covering a few sub-districts in the selected districts of 13 States and Union Territories. The Project is expected to be completed within one year’[ci] 101> .

Nevertheless, it seems, according to the Department of Information and Technology document mentioned above- the premise on which Home minister Shivraj Patil gave his approval was the Report submitted by the Group of Ministers [GoM] Titled ’Reforming the National Security System’, of which L.K Advani, the Former Home Minister was a member. One of the key recommendations of the report was to introduce a national identity card.

The case of Illegal immigration forms the basis of a renewed enforcement of the rule of enumerating ’citizens’ and through a deductive logic it concludes with a new fact that National identity cards be issued.

The rhetoric of this argument is perhaps most precise in Chapter 5, of the above mentioned GoM report, titled Border Management. This Chapter was in fact written as per the submissions on Border Management, by the Task Force headed by Madhave Godbole. The first paragraph sets up the premise-’India has 14,880 kms of land border running through 92 districts in 17 States and a coastline of 5,422 kms touching 12 States and Union Territories (UTs)’[cii] 102>. And ’barring Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Delhi and Haryana, all other States in the country have one or more international borders or a coastline’[ciii] 103>. Further, in Section 110, page 85, of the report, it is mentioned that- ’Illegal migration has assumed serious proportions. There should be compulsory registration of citizens and non-citizens living in India. This will facilitate preparation of a national register of citizens’ All citizens should be given a Multi-Purpose National Identity Card (MPNIC) and non-citizens should be issued identity cards of a different color and design’[civ] 104>.

The report does not explain what does category such as, ’citizen’ or ’non citizen’ exactly entail. Nor does it shed any light on, as to Why a national identity card for all ’citizens’ would solve all the problem of ’illegal immigration’.

When, primary documents, like ration card, that would form the very basis on which the ’identity’ of present citizens would be eventually verified, are in fact ’not considered’ as valid identity documents, by the Government at all. And moreover, other identification document like the Election Commission issued voter identity card, introduced in 1993 have yet not being available to all citizens. The above assertion stems from a careful perusal of a number of questions in the XIII and XIV Lok Sabha on the idea of identity. For instance, on as early as 11th May 2000, that was, a day after, GoM had created four ’Task Forces’, the then Minister Of State In The Ministry Of Consumer Affairs And Public Distribution, V. Sreenivasa Prasad had stated in Parliament that ’The State Governments/UT Administrations have been directed to issue instructions to concerned authorities not to insist on production of ration card for ...for identification purposes’[cv] 105>.

By 9th March 2007, the present Minister of Law And Justice, H.R. Bhardwaj, while replying to a query posed by Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia had responded, by stating that, ’The Election Commission has intimated that approximately 30% electors are yet to be issued voter identity cards’[cvi] 106>. According to him, one of the major factors that contribute to non issuance of voter identity card for the rural population is ’intercity and intra-city migration in major metropolitan towns’[cvii] 107>. While it is difficult to track urban population as ’the urbanites do not show any enthusiasm for obtaining EPICs as it involves spending their time to go to a Photo location for a document which anyway has relevance for them once in 5 years only’[cviii] 108>.

12. One Nation, One-Citizenship, One Card

The GoM report, ’Reforming the National Security System’ is perhaps the most prescient indicator of a gradual shift in ways in which, ideas about personal identity are thought about by those who govern India. This shift is marked by a historical anxiety of the rulers to not only know about but also to have a documentary record of the ruled. Moreover, this shift is becoming increasingly characterized by a technologically driven desire to stabilize the idea of land and its people. Thus the Chapter on Internal Security, for instance[cix] 109>, talks about the notion of ’one border-one force’. The Multi-purpose National Identity card of course, underlines the idea of national membership through one identity, stabilized by one National Identification Number, something which has been historically contested by the dwellers of land, in a variety of ways. As the idea of Multipurpose National Identity Card is tested for its ’feasibility’, it appears that the real test has only begun.

13. Dilemma of enumerating citizenship.

According to a Times of India, report, by, Dipak Mishra, datelined, 13th February, 2003[cx] 110>, the then chief minister of Bihar, Rabari Devi, refused to implement ’the first phase of MNIC project in the state’[cxi] 111>. The Bihar Government didn’t consider illegal immigration as a ’major problem’ as, ’only nine Bangladeshis have been detected... so far’[cxii] 112>.

Almost a year and a half year later, Surojit Mahalonbis, writing for Times of India on 23 July 2004 ruminated that ’It may not be humanly possible that the Registrar General of India (RGI) will end up completing the MNIC cards countrywide mistake-free’[cxiii] 113>.

In an another news article by, Deepak K Upreti, published in, Deccan Herald on March 26, 2007, unknown senior officials sited various ’hurdles’, such as, ’non-availability of data entry operators in regional languages, difficulty in capturing photographs and finger biometrics’[cxiv] 114> in addition to, ’ "Weak document base" for determining citizenship status of individuals in rural areas , especially for agricultural laborers, landless laborers, married females, and individuals not present at their place of residence’[cxv] 115> at the time of enumeration.

Undeterred by these troubles the Government has introduced an umbrella of unique identification numbers and smartcards to stabilize the predicament of individual membership in a variety of contexts.

14. Avalanche of Smart Cards

On 25th November 2003, the National Securities Depositories Ltd, [NSDL] launched MAPIN[cxvi] 116>, a unique number identification enabled smart card for market participants and investors. NSDL’s sister concern NDML or NSDL Data Management Ltd maintains the National Skills Registry [NSR] for Information Technology Professionals. Through a unique identification number generated from finger print patterning the NSR provides verification of details and details of verification to both the ITP and the prospective employers[cxvii] 117>.

But perhaps the most imaginative idea is proposed by the Report of the Eleventh Plan Working Group on Integrated Smart Card System, submitted by the Planning Commission, Government of India, in January 2007, titled-Entitlement Reform for Empowering the Poor: The Integrated Smart Card[cxviii] 118>. On page 8, Chapter 2, titled, Multi Application smart card, section 5, titled Application to unique ID to Government schemes the report puts forth what it considers as ’a major conceptual and practical issue’[cxix] 119> ’converting all unique IDs in a household into a single unit’ because ’Welfare schemes such as TPDS [Targeted Public Distribution System] and the NREGS [National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme] are based on the household rather than the individual’[cxx] 120>. On the next page it dwells on the question of ’how to take children into account’[cxxi] 121>. Since MNIC cards will only be given to adults, child centered schemes like MDMS [Mid Day Meal Scheme] and ICDS [Integrated Child Development Scheme] needs to be fully addressed ’in the unique ID based smart card framework’[cxxii] 122>. One of the solutions on offer is, that ’the biometric information of all family members needs to be in-built into the smart card’[cxxiii] 123>. The report is under consideration by the Government.

[i] ref1> The Hindu, January 05, 2002, The Cost of War, C Rammanohar Reddy -

[ii] ref2>Sainik Samachar,Vol.47, No17,1-15 September 2000, Kargil War: A Glorious victory for India,/ /K Subrahmanyam

[iii] ref3> India Today, August 9, 1999, Kargil Intrusion, The War of Words,
Harinder Baweja and Raj Chengappa

[iv] ref4> ibid

[v] ref5> Frontline, Volume 17 - Issue 06, Mar. 18 - 31, 2000. The Kargil
Committee Expedition, A G Noorani-


[vii] ref7> Rajya Sabha, Executive Summary of the Kargil Committee Report-


[ix] ref9> ibid

[x] ref10> ibid

[xi] ref11> ibid

[xii] ref12> National Agenda For Governance-

[xiii] ref13> ibid

[xiv] ref14> ibid

[xv] ref15> ibid

[xvi] ref16> Rajya Sabha, Synopsis of Debates, Proceedings other than

[xvii] ref17> From a talk titled -NATIONAL SECURITY MECHANISM- delivered by, B. Raman, at a seminar on "National Security-Internal and External Dimensions" jointly organised by the Association of Retired Senior Indian Police Service Officers (ARSIPSO) and the India International Centre (IIC) at New Delhi on January 15, 2005).
B. Raman is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of
India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies,
Chennai, and Distinguished Fellow and Convenor, Observer Research
Foundation, Chennai//

[xviii] ref18> ibid

[xix] ref19> ibid

[xx] ref20> IDSA- About, General Information-

[xxi] ref21> Rajya Sabha, Synopsis of Debates, Proceedings other than

[xxii] ref22> PIB Press Release, National Security Council set up-

[xxiii] ref23> ibid

[xxiv] ref24> K Subrahmanyam wikipedia profile


[xxvi] ref26> Frontline, Volume 17 - Issue 02, Jan. 22 - Feb. 04, 2000, The
Armed Forces, A Committee and some Questions, Praveen Swami-

[xxvii] ref27> Frontline, Volume 17 - Issue 06, Mar. 18 - 31, 2000. The Kargil Committee Expedition, A G Noorani-

[xxviii] ref28> Frontline, Volume 17 - Issue 02, Jan. 22 - Feb. 04, 2000.
The Armed Forces, A Committee and some Questions, Praveen Swami-

[xxix] ref29> Frontline, Volume 17 - Issue 06, Mar. 18 - 31, 2000. The
Kargil Committee Expedition, A G Noorani-

[xxx] ref30> Frontline, Volume 17-Issue 02, Jan.22-Feb. 04, 2000, The Armed Forces, a committee and some questions, A first person account with regard to Kargil Review Committee Report and its implications, Praveen Swami.

[xxxi] ref31> Frontline, Volume 17 - Issue 06, Mar. 18 - 31, 2000. The
Kargil Committee Expedition, A G Noorani-

[xxxii] ref32> Frontline, Volume 17-Issue 02, Jan.22-Feb. 04, 2000, The
Armed Forces, a committee and some questions, A first person account with
regard to Kargil Review Committee Report and its implications, Praveen

[xxxiii] ref33> ibid

[xxxiv] ref34> Lok Sabha, Bulletin -Part II [General information Relating to Parliamentary and the matters], Friday August 18, 2000. No.1176- The following motion given notice of by Shri George Fernandes has been admitted:- "That this House do consider the Report of (Subrahmanyam Committee) laid on the Table of Lok Sabha on the 24th February, 2000."

[xxxv] ref35> The Tribune, Friday, February 25, 2000, Kargil took army, Govt unawares, Panel blames defense chiefs, security set up, Tribune news

[xxxvi] ref36> ibid

[xxxvii] ref37> Rajya Sabha, Journal of 189th Session, Tuesday, the 18th of April, 2000, 12 Noon, 4. Papers Laid on the Table, Shri Harin Pathak (Minister of State in the Ministry of Defense) laid on the Table a copy (in English and Hindi) of the Supplementary Action Taken Report on the recommendations of the Kargil Review Committee.

[xxxviii] ref38> B G Verghese About the Author-

[xxxix] ref39> Executive Summary of the Kargil Review Committee Report as presented in Rajya Sabha, 25 Feburary, 2000. VII. Was Kargil Avoidable?-

[xl] ref40> ibid

[xli] ref41> Executive Summary of the Kargil Review Committee Report as
presented in Rajya Sabha, 25 Feburary, 2000. Recommendations. Intelligence-

[xlii] ref42> ibid

[xliii] ref43> Executive Summary of the Kargil Review Committee Report as
presented in Rajya Sabha, 25 Feburary, 2000. Recommendations. Civil Military Liaison-

[xliv] ref44> India Today, August 9, 1999, Kargil Intrusion, The War of
Words, Harinder Baweja and Raj Chengappa

[xlv] ref45> ibid

[xlvi] ref46> ibid

[xlvii] ref47> ibid

[xlviii] ref48> Frontline, Volume 16-Issue 17, Aug 14-27 1999, The Kargil
Conflict, A Probe and its Prospects, Praveen Swami-

[xlix] ref49> The Hindustan Times, July 26, 1999, Kargil Inquiry an eyewash, says opposition and experts, Vinod Sharma-

[l] ref50> Frontline, Volume 17-Issue 7, Apr 01-14, 2000, Letters, The
Kargil Report, N Kunju, Delhi.

[li] ref51> Uncorrected Debates, Rajya Sabha, 189th Session, 2PM to 3 PM,
The Data is taken from the uncorrected verbatim debates. Shri LSR Murthy,

[lii] ref52> Reforming the National Security System- Recommendations of the Group of Ministers, Annexture A

[liii] ref53> ibid

[liv] ref54> ibid

[lv] ref55> Bharat Rakshak Monitor- Volume 3 (4) January- February, 2000,
Featured Articles, Intelligence Reforms, Sunil Sainis-

[lvi] ref56> Frontline, volume 18 Issue 1, Jan 06-19, 2001, Defence, Battle
over Intelligence, Praveen Swami-

[lvii] ref57> Bharat Rakshak Monitor- Volume 3 (4) January- February, 2000, Featured Articles, Intelligence Reforms, Sunil Sainis-

[lviii] ref58> Government Of India Ministry Of Defence Lok Sabha Unstarred
Question No 681 To Be Answered On 27.07.2000 Follow Up Action On Report Of Subrahmanyam Committee 681.Shri Raghunandan Lal Bhatia Dilip Kumar Mansukhlal Gandhi Bhavana Pundlikrao Gawali Kanti Singh Raghuvansh Prasad

[lix] ref59> ibid

[lx] ref60> ibid

[lxi] ref61> G C Saxena. J&K Rajbhavan Profile

[lxii] ref62> Bharat Rakshak Monitor- Volume 3 (4) January- February, 2000, Featured Articles, Intelligence Reforms, Sunil Sainis-

[lxiii] ref63> IDSA Faculty, Director, NS Sisodia

[lxiv] ref64> The Tribune, Main News, SS Sodhi, NN Vohra are new Tribune
Trustees, Tribune News Service, Saturday, February, 9, 2002, Chandigarh,

[lxv] ref65> The Hindu, Thursday, February 20, 2003, Front Page, Vohra new interlocutor to Jand K

[lxvi] ref66> The Tirbune, Book Review, G.V.Gupta, Sunday, March 7, 1999,
Bullet for Bullet:My Life as Police Officer by Julio Roberio, Viking,, New

[lxvii] ref67> Meeta Bhatti, Profile, Julio Riberio, Still on the Job,
Harmony for silver’s foundation.

[lxviii] ref68> Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis, Executive
council, 2005-07, NN Vohra Member.

[lxix] ref69> Outlook Magazine, December 21 1998, Book Review by Ranjit
Bhushan, Policing the Force, Rajendra Shekhar.

[lxx] ref70> Manipur Legislative Assembly Former Governors, Lt. Gen. [Retd] VK Nayar 31.08.1993-12.02.1994

[lxxi] ref71> Rear Admiral [Retd]Satyindra Singh, Remembering Operation
Bluestar. Book Review. All about Sikhs-

[lxxii] ref72> Sheela Bhatt, Are our policies to fight terror, right or
wrong?, interview with Dr. Madhav Godbole, rediff, September 15, 2006.-

[lxxiii] ref73> Force, Monthly Magazine on National Security, About the
Editors, Consulting Editor, V K Sood

[lxxiv] ref74> The Hindustan Times, July 26, 1999, Kargil Inquiry an
eyewash, says opposition and experts, Vinod Sharma-

[lxxv] ref75> Chief Secretaries of Rajasthan, ML Mehta 02..02.1994-

[lxxvi] ref76> The Tribune, Saturday, November 14, 1998,, Nehru Fellowship, T Ananthachari-

[lxxvii] ref77> Joy Joseph, Experts urge Govt to see importance of seas,
International Fleet Review 2001,

[lxxviii] ref78> Andhra Pradesh CID, Chiefs then and now,Sri D.V.L.N. Rama
Krishna Rao, IPS I.G.P.19/05/1986 27/06/1988 -

[lxxix] ref79> Hindustan Times, Cities, October 29, 2005, Chronology of Red Fort Case, Press Trust of India, New Delhi Oct 24, 2005.,0006.htm

[lxxx] ref80> Delhi police, Bhagidari, 15. Changes Observed. 6. Tenant Verification in the Colonies.

[lxxxi] ref81> Rajya Sabha, list of Question for oral answers, to be asked at a sitting of Rajya Sabha to be held on, Wednesday, the April 17, 2002. 342. Tenant Verification Drive in Delhi. Shri Amar Singh.

[lxxxii] ref82> Hindustan Times, Cities, October 29, 2005, Chronology of Red Fort Case, Press Trust of India, New Delhi Oct 24, 2005.,0006.htm

[lxxxiii] ref83> Bharat Rakshak Monitor- Volume 3 (4) January- February,
2000, Featured Articles, Intelligence Reforms, Sunil Sainis-

[lxxxiv] ref84> Government if India, Ministry of Defense, Lok Sabha,
Unstarred Question, No. 915, To Be Answered on 22.11.2001, Kargil Review
Committee, Smt, Jayaben B Thakkar

[lxxxv] ref85> ibid

[lxxxvi] ref86> Government if India, Ministry of Personnel, Public Greviance and Pension, Lok Sabha, Unstarred Question, No. 4726, To Be Answered on 18.04.2001, Smart Card System. Dr.Daggubati Ramanaidu. <>

[lxxxvii] ref87> Government if India, Ministry of Labour, Lok Sabha,
Unstarred Question, No. 4200, To Be Answered on 28.08.2001, Smart Card
Pushpdan Shanbhudan Gadhavi and Sukender Reddy Gutha

[lxxxviii] ref88> Government if India, Ministry of Power, Lok Sabha,
Unstarred Question, No. 2662, To Be Answered on 16.12.2001, Selling
Electrification Through Smart Card Dr. Ramesh Chander Tomar, Shyama singh

[lxxxix] ref89> Government if India, Ministry of Information and Technology, Lok Sabha, Unstarred Question, No. 3657, To Be Answered on 12.12.2001, Development of Smart Card, Gowdar Mallikarjunappa, Gangasandra Siddappa Basavaraj, Iqbal Ahmed Saradgiy and S. Vivekananda Reddy.

[xc] ref90> 2001:Suicide Attack in Indian Parliament,

[xci] ref91> ibid

[xcii] ref92> PIB Press Release, 20th February, 2003, Ministry of Defense,
De-Mining of forward Areas.

[xciii] ref93> Anjali Mody, Three sentenced to death in Parliament Attack
Case, The Hindu, Thrusday, December 19 2002, Front page.

[xciv] ref94> Times of India, Parliament Attack chronology, 29 October, 2003.

[xcv] ref95> Government if India, Ministry of Civil Avaition, Lok Sabha,
Unstarred Question, No. 177, To Be Answered on 18.11.2002, Smart Card to Air India Passengers, Paty Ripple Kyndiah.

[xcvi] ref96> Government if India, Ministry of Civil Avaition, Lok Sabha, Unstarred Question, No. 2218, To Be Answered on 18.03.2002, Smart Card to Employees working at the Air ports, Smt Shyama Singh, Kambalapadu E.

[xcvii] ref97> Government if India, Ministry of Civil Avaition, Lok Sabha,
Unstarred Question, No. 3175, To Be Answered on 05.08.2002, Smart Card
Security System in Air ports, Kambalapadu E. Krishnamurthy.

[xcviii] ref98> Government if India, Ministry of Consumer Affairs Food and
Public Distribution, Lok Sabha, Unstarred Question, No. 4192, To Be Answered on 19.04.2002, Smart Card for PDS, Chadda Suresh Reddy, Gaddam Ganga Reddy.

[xcix] ref99>, Elections 2004, Manmohan Singh, 67 Ministers Sworn in, May 22, 2004.

[c] ref100> National e-Governance Plan,National e Governance Plan - Workshop with States and UTs, 11-12 March 2005, Hotel Samrat, New Delhi. 05 National Citizen Database Ministry of Home Affairs/Registrar General of India (RGI ) ppt Slide 5

[ci] ref101> Government Of India Ministry Of Home Affairs Lok Sabha Starred Question No 37 To Be Answered On 22.07.2003 Multipurpose Identity Cards 37. Shri Dalpat Singh Paraste Mohan Rawale.

[cii] ref102> Reforming the National Security System - Recommendations of the Group of Ministers (The report is in pdf ) CONTENTS Chapter V Border Management Page 58.

[ciii] ref103> ibid

[civ] ref104> ibid, Chapter V Border Management. 5.110. Pg. 85

[cv] ref105> Government Of India Ministry Of Consumer Affairs And Public
Distribution Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No 6996 To Be Answered On
11.05.2000 Cancellation Of Ration Cards 6996. Smt. Jayaben B. Thakkar.

[cvi] ref106> Government Of India Ministry Of Law And Justice Lok Sabha
Unstarred Question No 1697 To Be Answered On 09.03.2007 Voters Identity
Cards 1697. Shri Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia.

[cvii] ref107> ibid

[cviii] ref108> ibid

[cix] ref109> Reforming the National Security System - Recommendations of the Group of Ministers (The report is in pdf ) CONTENTS Chapter IV Internal Security Page 50.

[cx] ref110> Dipak Mishra, Bihar govt refuses to implement ID-card plan,13
February, The Times Of India,Cities: Patna.

[cxi] ref111> ibid

[cxii] ref112> ibid

[cxiii] ref113> Surojit Mahalonbis, People count gaining smooth momentum, The Times Of India,23 Jul, 2004, Cities: Delhi.

[cxiv] ref114> Deepak K Upreti DH News Service New Delhi,National ID cards to be ready soon, Deccan Herald,Monday, March 26, 2007.

[cxv] ref115> ibid

[cxvi] ref116> National Securities Depositories Ltd. Launch of Central
Database of Market Participants

[cxvii] ref117> National Skills Registry Description.

[cxviii] ref118> Working Groups / Task Force for the Eleventh Five Year Plan
(2007-2012).Planning Commission, Government of India 4.Development Policy Division Entitlement reform for empowering the poor: The Integrated Smart Card Report (ISC). January 2007 Report: MS Word.

[cxix] ref119> ibid Chapter 2, Multi Application smart Card. 2.5 Application
of Unique ID to Government schemes page 8
[cxx] ref120> ibid

[cxxi] ref121> ibid Chapter 2, Multi Application smart Card. 2.5 Application
of Unique ID to Government schemes page 9
[cxxii] ref122> ibid

[cxxiii] ref123> ibid