>Asia Pacific (APAC) Thursdays: India

>India Launches Identity Card Program

The BBC reports that India has launched an identity card program to help ensure more accurate food distribution and better security for its citizens. The identity cards, or UIDs (unique identifications) were given out at the village of Tembhli, the first town in all of India to administer the program.  Indian officials say that the UIDs will reduce the amount of documentation needed for ration and voting cards. Prime Minister Singh said that “[the cards] will help strengthen the rights of the downtrodden and the poorest, including women.” However, what is more telling about the current status of women in India is that the police did not allow the women of Tembhli to speak to President Ghandi.  Villager Haseena Ansari said, “We wanted to tell [Ghandi] that we were happy to see her, but even that was not allowed. How will she know about our problems if we don’t talk to her?” The biometric cards could be useful in the future to reduce paperwork.  However, if Prime Minister Singh really believes that the UIDs will strengthen women’s rights, he should make an effort to allow the women of India to have access to policymakers like Sonia Gandhi.