20 October, 2009

Crystal Ball-ing the Unique ID Program

Circa 2009: UIC Launched
The Government is envisaging a Rs 150,000 cr Unique Identification Card (UIC) Project that will catalogue personal details of every Indian citizen on Smart Cards (the numbers exclude cost over-runs, scams, bribes, kick-backs and PILs). This is not to be confused with Kapil Sibal's vision of 'making' every Indian "Smart" by simply doing away with Board examinations.

Given the country's population, statisticians suggest that it will have to be at least 24-alpha-numerics long. Intel has offered to be a part of the initiative, with the disclaimer that all UIC holders will be tattooed "Intel not Inside". IDEA has proposed to be the official sponsor with the punchline "What an IDEA sir jee". More on that later...

Circa 2014 - UIC Piloted

The UIC has been piloted in select districts of the country. Suddenly, India is looking like a happening place, with caste and religion being simple accidents of birth. Everyone is being addressed by his 24-character-long Unique ID and all issues around casteism, reservations, communalism, minorityism etc. have vaporized. They initially thought of tattooing the UIC as barcodes on the body, but then dropped the idea as the wafer-thin anatomy rural Indians will get pierced by the Tattoo-pen.

The UIC Pilot has seen mixed reactions. The South Indians have protested, and are contemplating a boycott. "Imagine a Chennai without the plethora of Srinis and Balas and Seshadris!! Our very uniqueness of infinitesimal 1936-syllables-names has been contracted to a mundane UIC!! This is an Aryan conspiracy!!", thundered the usually thundering Jayalalitha, sensing a political revival. The North Indians are happy. "This is so tweet. Now, we will not need to remember such tongue-twisters like Pillavullakandi Thekkaparambil Manakkayar Pillai Srinivasan!! Whoa!!!", tweeted Sashi Tharoor; but, his twit got curtailed by the 140-char-limit of Twitter. Apparently, the Gandhi family has been excluded from the ambit of this project. Abhishek Singhvi explained with caricatured reverence, "Sonia ji and Rahul ji and Priyanka ji are already unique. They don't need a UIC..", he muttered disdainfully. On being prompted by an aide that it was being telecast live, he deigned, "In true traditions of the Gandhi lineage, they have have decided to be austere and let go of the luxuries that UIC would bring to them...", he signed off, before Arun Jaitley could react.

Meanwhile, back in Nagpur, the VHP president, Mr. KV Guru (now, UIC-ed AXC34GJ956KLERCHNI133346) has demanded Unique IDs for cows. "You know dudes, that India has millions of these udder-ly holy animals, so much so that you can't walk 20 metres without bumping into one of these bovine beings. They also deserve a UIC!!". Excited at the positive vibes in the press, he added "We also place a demand for proper sanitation facilities for the cows; the government should also 'build' diapers for them. That will save them the humiliation of urinating in public". "Japan has been manufacturing giant diapers for Sumo babies; so, the technology exists.", he suggested helpfully.

Across the border, a panicky Pakistan has quickly launched its own UIC program with US aid. Mr. Yasin Malik, the immortal separatist leader in J&K is very elated about this. "I have three IDs now, one from J&K, one from India and another one from Pakistan. I am also expecting a complimentary ID from China", he announced waving his multiple UIC Smart Cards. In the process, he revealed that J&K is practically separate from India, leaving the government red-faced again. Another confusion has emerged in the form of Ajmal Kasab. Neither India nor Pakistan can provide him the UIC, as it will tantamount to accepting him as their citizen. "We have sent another dossier to Pakistan on the issue of Ajmal's identity crisis. We expect a response soon", muttered Mr. Chidambaram, the Indian Home Minister before escaping further queries.

The Pilot has revealed a number of glitches in the Biometrics Capture System that feeds the UIC generator (you see, how all IT applications have a bug for every 5 lines-of-codes). Apparently, when Mamata Banerjee stepped in for the scan, the machine grinded an error "UIC is for human beings only - Please disengage." and a red beep alert echoed "Alien detected, alien detected", driving the entire building into a frenzied commotion. In an unrelated incident, Ms. Arun-dhoti Rai, an author-degraded-to-intellectual known for her anti-establishment bias, has condemned the move saying, "This is a government scandal designed to further corporate interests. They have schemed to coax the tribals out of the forests to get their IDs. And while they are at it, the government will let the metals and minings corporates run away with the natural resources!! We need to have a public debate on UIC involving the tribals and the poors and the naxalites and the maoists and... uhh...emmm" and fainted as she had spluttered too much under a single breath. Other such embarrasments have been kept secret from public domain.

Mr. Kapil Sibal (Minsiter, MHRD) has lauded the UIC Smart Card Pilot saying, "Now every Indian home has something smart. Now, every Indian will be born smart. Bingo!!" and chanted the Pink Floyd classic, "We don't need no education...", before trudging off.

Meanwhile, in the remote village of Dantewada, the poor villager is still wondering what's the next government programme that is going to hit miss him.


SUSH said...

Another gem. Where do you get these ideas from?
Also, something I could think of:
1. The Un ID for all politicians had "420" embedded, e.g.AXC34GJ420420...
2. Sudarshan's alter-ego got a different Un ID.. ;-)
3. In all this commotion, Mr. Nandan Nilekani forgot an ID for himself. And, he had to be exiled from Inida :-)

What say?


Aditya said...

Haha rofl. Another kick ass article! The best line-//Mr. Yasin Malik, the immortal separatist leader in J&K is very elated about this. "I have three IDs now, one from J&K, one from India and another one from Pakistan. I am also expecting a complimentary ID from China", he announced waving his multiple UIC Smart Cards.//. I actually laughed out loud at that! haha! Keep writing man, a bit more regularly for humour hungry people like me :)

Talking Skull said...

@SUSH: Thanks. I like the idea of alter-ego - but in a somewhat different context. Imagine Varun and Rahul Gandhi being alter-egos of each other. Or, Raj and Uddhav Thakeray... :-) I will borrow that for another post sometime in the future.

Talking Skull said...

@Aditya: Thanks buddy for the encouragement.

Post "..a bit more regularly??"
Sir, I am posting something every fortnight, (possibly b'coz I need to "attract" the fuel of audience to keep me going.... :-P). Else, time is at premium nowadays.

After reading again, I too found the Yasin Malik lines hilarious.. :-) Earlier, I thought the Mamata B'jee context was the funniest. I guess, Yasin Malik piece is easier to visualize.

Thanks again.

Sudarshan is a blooming nerd and has intermittent fits of verbal diarrohea. This is when he vomits on this blog-page. The views expressed on this blog are those of his alter-ego and represent neither his personal thoughts nor those of his organisation, clan or family. In fact, Sudarshan and his (alleged) alter-ego are fine examples of a person using his freedom to the fullest while trying to deny it to his fellow-citizens. The best way to deal with him is to ignore him.