Book review: Ram Sewak Sharma, The Making of Aadhar: The World’s Largest Identity Platform

Publication Date01 Mar 2021
AuthorV. Srinivas
DOI10.1177/00195561211001609
SubjectBook Reviews
140 Book Reviews
Nevertheless, the author has been extraordinary in documenting his arguments.
Almost every new discussion begins with a short incident from either the Bible,
or Greek mythology, or Indian history which departs the reader from an otherwise
monotonous reading. The book knows how to grab the attention of its readers. In
addition, numerous references to cases in support of the arguments make them
authentic. Sudhanshu Ranjan has been brilliant in detailing his views and enabling
the smooth transitions from one discussion to another.
The book would be useful for students and teachers of law and political science,
administrators, journalists as well as social and political activists.
Tanushree Singh
Research Scholar, Centre of Gandhian Thought and Peace Studies
Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar, India
tanushree.singh@hotmail.com
Ram Sewak Sharma, The Making of Aadhar: The World’s Largest Identity
Platform. New Delhi, India: Rupa Publishers, 2020, 240 pp., `595.00.
DOI: 10.1177/00195561211001609
Today it is difficult to envisage life in India without an Aadhar number. Shri Ram
Sewak Sharma’s leadership has ensured that India shows the world how identity
projects are done and other services built on the identity infrastructure. It is truly
a ‘Make in India’ story as solutions were designed and implemented in India.
Aadhar remains the foundation of a citizen’s empowerment, and the book reiter-
ates that the citizens’ needs are first and foremost.
The book is divided in three sections and eleven chapters. It provides the
readers several insights into the remarkable success story of Aadhar, that has
withstood many battles and legal scrutiny. The book presents a story of optimism,
resilience and deep sense of commitment for improved service delivery. It fasci-
nates the readers about the remarkable possibilities of a paperless digital world to
the most marginalised sections of society.
Section I of the book deals with the making of the world’s largest identity
infrastructure.
Chapter 1 is titled ‘A Unique Public–Private Partnership’. The Unique
Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) was created with an organisational
strength of 1,331 posts with a core team of 115 officials, with one Director General
and 36 Deputy Director Generals of whom 35 were located in the States and
Union Territories. Several distinguished IAS officers served with passion, com-
mitment and drive to make the UIDAI a reality, in addition to officers from other
services like Indian Police Service, Institute for Telecommunications Sciences
(ITS) and Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS). A number of technology
team members came from private sector—selection through HR consultants was
based on merit. An ecosystem of alliances was forged, as the UIDAI became a
melting pot of government, private sector, civil society and academia. The UIDAI
was also a huge learning organisation, without rigid hierarchies and divisions to
ensure that government and private sector worked together.

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