Taking on those questioning the government's Aadhaar programme, Union Minister Alphons Kannanthanam has said there were people willing to "get naked before the white man" to procure an American visa but cry "privacy" when basic details have to be shared with their own government.
The minister of state for also electronics and information technology assured that information collected under Aadhaar was safe and secure and claimed that media reports about data breaches were incorrect.
Taking a jibe at Aadhaar critics, Kannanthanam said "ten pages of information which you have never even confessed to your wife ever, or to your husband, have to be passed on to a white man to get an American visa. We have absolutely no problems going and putting our fingerprints and the iris and getting your whole body naked before the white man at all".
He claimed the attitude of many people changed sharply when their own government sought basic information.
"But when the government of India, which is your government, asks you your name and your address, nothing more..there's a massive revolution in the country...saying it's an intrusion into the privacy of the individual. I mean, how far can we go? Let the Supreme Court decide,” Kannanthanam said.
He was delivering a special address on Friday evening at the valedictory session of the Global Digital Summit #FUTURE organised by the Kerala government.
"What is the information collected by Aadhaar today? Your name...address; you don't have to give the e-mail ID which everybody now demands," the minister said.
He said the fingerprint details and the data related to iris, was something which is in the UIDAI repository.
"Not one case has come up in the past three-and-a-half years.... (that) the bio-metric data of any Aadhaar holder has been leaked in India. The Government of India has protected the data," Kannanthanam said.