~By Dilip Bobb
The entire country is in a panic following orders from the GOI—government of India or Mai Baap as some call it—that you need to link your Aadhaar number to all the services you enjoy and pay for, private and public, otherwise they will be cancelled. In other words, you will cease to exist. In fact, if the threat is carried out, you may as well be dead since you will have no means of support. An exchange of messages between a citizen and service providers explains the crisis.
Citizen: Hello, is that Idea, I have given my thumbprint at your office…
Service Provider (SP): What an idea Sirji…
Citizen: I meant I have responded to your repeated messages and calls asking me to link my Aadhaar number to my mobile phone. I did this a week ago, so why am I still getting those messages warning that my mobile service will be switched off?
SP: For language, press 1, for pre-paid connection, press 2, for post-paid connection, press 3, for new connection, press 4, for bill inquiries, press 5, for add- on services, press 6, to make a payment, press 7….
Citizen: What do I press to speak to a human being?
SP: This is a recording.
Citizen: Not a good idea, Sirji. I lie awake at night sweating and having nightmares about life without a mobile phone. Your customer helpline is constantly busy because everyone must be calling with the same question. Will my life as I know it end on December 31?
SP: This is a customer call. The government of India…
Citizen: Mai Baap.
SP: Sir, please do not interrupt, this is an urgent call to inform you that the deadline to link your mobile phone with Aadhaar and Aadhaar with Pan has been extended but we advise you to do this as soon as possible, failing which we will have no option but to delete you from our records.
Citizen: I have already done the linking, don’t you people keep records? Wait, there’s another call from my bank. Yes.
Bank official: Sir, as a VIP customer, we need you to link your Aadhaar to your bank account urgently, failing which you will have no access to your own money.
Citizen: I did this two weeks ago why am I getting these calls now?
Bank official: I’m just following orders. Do it again, better to be safe than sorry. Or broke.
Citizen: Is that the UIDAI office? I have a question. If I fail to link my marriage certificate to my Aadhaar card, will my marriage of 35 years be declared null and void? In other words, will my wife and I be living in sin?
UIDAI: I’ll have to check, there are so many services to be linked, wedding services may well be one. Plus, there are other ministries involved with their own instructions. For instance, if you want to link your toilet with Aadhaar card, you need to approach the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. Similarly, to link your application for compensation under the Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster Act with your Aadhaar card, the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers is to be contacted…
Citizen: It looks like my life will be going down the toilet if this carries on. My head is spinning trying to figure out all the things that need to be linked to Aadhaar.
Chartered Accountant: Sir, you need to link your Aadhaar number to all your mutual fund investments, otherwise they will be deleted from all records. In other words, you will be disinvested from whatever you have invested.
Citizen: Do you realise how much time all this is going to take? I’ve spent 50 years making enough money to invest for the future and it will all disappear because it’s not linked to Aadhaar? How about if I want to immigrate to another country?
Accountant: You will need to link your application to…
Citizen: Never mind, this is supposed to be a cashless society anyway, all payments to be made by credit cards.
Credit Card Company: Sir, have you linked your credit and debit cards to Aadhar? The cards will be cancelled if you fail to do so.
Citizen: At least I have my pension to see me through my old age.
Caller: Sir, I am calling from the Ministry of Labour and Employment. If you do not link your pension scheme to your Aadhaar card, it will lapse.
Second Caller: Sir, this is about your life and health insurance policies. No link with Aadhaar and they will expire.
Citizen: I may expire as well, without seeing 2018. All because of one thumbprint.