The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has refused to share the details of the money spent on branding and advertising Aadhaar since its implementation in 2009.
An RTI activist, Ritika Khera, has filed an RTI on November 15, 2017, for information regarding the list of Aadhaar enrolment agencies employed by UIDAI and the amount spent on advertising Aadhaar for the last eight years.
However, the UIDAI replied on 3rd January 2018, but it refused to share the details about the amount spent on Aadhaar advertising.
UIDAI refused the disclosure of information stating, “The information sought by you cannot be disclosed as per the provisions mentioned in Section 8 (1)(d) and 8 (1)(j) of the Right to Information Act, 2005”
Section 8(1) clause D allows the information officer to deny disclosing the sought information if its disclosure would “harm the competitive position of a third party unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information.”
According to Section 8(i), clause J of the RTI Act, “there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information.”
According to the reports of 2014, it was claimed that for branding and advertising Aadhaar, the budget of 30 crores per year was finalized.
The information of the amount spent on branding and advertising of Aadhaar is quite basic, there is no such observation that sharing the information might cause harm to anyone or harm rights of anyone.
The UIDAI is using the money of the taxpayers, it is the basic right of the taxpayers to know the utilization of their money by the government.
Why isn’t the UIDAI disclosing the amount of money spent on branding and advertising? Why is it trying to hide these expenses? Do sharing the information about an amount spent on advertising harm the security or indulge in anyone’s right?