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Sinking Under Its Own Weight: Case of Aadhaar Mediated Entitlements in India

Abstract : In this paper, we analyse through a largely conceptual analysis the application of the Aadhaar biometrics identification system in India, now assuming complex proportions, and how that facilitates or not citizen’s entitlement of welfare benefits. The conceptual analysis is informed by the works of James Scott’s Seeing like a State which cautions against such large scale state sponsored schemes ending up as disasters. Amartya Sen’s analysis of famines informs how it is important to focus on the access to the entitlement rather than the entitlement itself, which, potentially can lead to entitlement failures. The conceptual analysis developed helps to critically analyse two case vignettes related to two welfare programmes of the midday meals and the public distribution system. The paper concludes by arguing for the need to critically discussing how Aadhaar can be made to work in practice while supporting broader development objectives, rather than arguing whether Aadhaar is inherently good or bad.
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Arunima Mukherjee, Sundeep Sahay. Sinking Under Its Own Weight: Case of Aadhaar Mediated Entitlements in India. 15th International Conference on Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries (ICT4D), May 2019, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. pp.472-485, ⟨10.1007/978-3-030-18400-1_39⟩. ⟨hal-02285263⟩

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