We have often either ridiculed the entire project or Aadhaar or always seen it with suspecting eyes. The premise is simple, there has been quite a bit of uproar on the entire system's security and privacy. Since, it contains THE most important data of 120 crore people, there is every reason to be concerned. What is the status of the project as it stands today. How has it performed? Has it been able to deliver its intended purpose. This episode is all about it, tune in to listen.
The guests, Charles Assisi and N S Ramnath are the co-founders at Founding Fuel, which is nationwide publication. Both Charles and Ramnath happen to be seasoned journalists. While Charles was the Managing Editor at Forbes India, Ramnath was previously with Forbes India, and Economic
What digital product service or platform Do you think has got the fastest billion users or registrations? Now you would typically think it to be, you know, Google, or Apple or Facebook or Instagram or something. But the right answer is Aadhaar.
Yes, I thought is the fastest digital platform to hit 100 crores users across the world in just a span of about five years and six months. This is one incredible story of digitizing India. And we have two people with us today who went deep into researching about this project to present an elaborate picture of one of the most audacious projects that has never been tried at this scale before. N.S Ramnath and Charles Assisi together wrote the book to share the story of the 12-digit number that put India in the front row in the quest to digitize India. Chax, co-founder and director at founding fuel while previously he was the managing director at Forbes India. Ramnath is a senior writer and part of the founding team at founding few. He was previously with Forbes, India and economic times. So, let us welcome them. Hi, Ram. Hi, Charles. A very warm welcome to secrets of storytellers. How are you guys?
Thank you. Pleasure,
Thanks. Thank you. Thank you. And I will tell you that this is the first time we have two authors or two co-authors together on the show. So this is a first and a special for me. So thank you again.
Great. So what what intrigued, both of you to write on adhaar?
Right. And between the two of you who came up with the idea, or was it more like a mutual decision to penned the book?
So just vile, you know, Aadhaar has definitely revolutionized and you know, is the process of verifying identity for almost every service in the country. There is another project India stack, which was started with the intent to use Aadhaar for the welfare programs. Do you think that intent has been served well, until now,
I think scale.
Shubham Agarwal. Oh, where? on your on which document? Does your name appear? Shubham Agarwal. On my license on my timecard
Yeah. Shubham one in my driving license.
Shubham while again, but yeah, there's that the difference is somewhere they have put Shubham Agarwal with a single G and somewhere they have put Agarwal without G.
Have you been able to use that exactly
I understand, you know, because the problems are very small. So, so I understand where the, the project was intended towards. Yeah, I
So, just with a system, which has such sensitive data stored, and, you know, I'm sure you, you've got this question multiple times, the security of the system becomes the most important aspect, right. And there have been instances of internal and external abuse in the past, do you think the government has been careless, or, you know, with a project of this scale, it can sometimes be difficult to manage, and hence, these areas can be neglected, given that they don't repeat.
So Ram, they're quite polarized views about the entire project, you know, people like Amartya Sen being against Aadhaar from the get go and attaching right subsidies and sanction without high was one of his contentions against it.
Is it a more fundamental concern with the project?
Right, right. I agree that, you know, technology is an enabler, and probably we should look at it like that. And these problems that have creeped in are probably because of the structures or the policies that we have, and probably a good thing is that, you know, projects like these, bring them out front and ask us to solve them. Right. So now, again, experts say that data is the new oil, and with Azar the government is definitely sitting on an oil well, do you think we are ready to leverage it? Or do we still need to equip ourselves with better infrastructures physical and legal in order to use it?
I agree. Yeah.
Great. All right. So that was a great discussion. And that brings us to the concluding section of the podcast. This is an interesting one. And this is a common section across all all the episodes that we have. This is where I asked the secret about the book, or about, you know, the journey while you're writing the book, that probably you've not shared on any on any platform till date. So, what would you like to share with us? How we do in a tricky situation to be picked up. So it could be anything regarding the book or about journey while you're writing the book. So
It's not so easy must have been difficult because you are practice and you have a frame of mind where you write, like you said, 1000 longer talking about long articles or pieces. And certainly moving to a book where you have to have an entire theme to it must have been difficult for the shift in the morning, you do that still do the 1000 word thing, while during the night or whatever time you were writing the book, you have to completely change that frame. Yeah,
Well, that's, that's great. In fact, though, you know, I read somewhere or someone told me that, you know, we ridicule politicians, we call them names, but try to become one and then see what it takes to be there.
Wonderful. So thank you, once again, for sharing those bits from your own journey. And I hope you enjoy the discussion. I loved it. And I'm sure the listeners would love it, too.
Totally. Totally. Thanks. Okay. Thank you to all the listeners. This is Shubham signing off. Bye.
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