Kutumba is the Karnataka government’s planned law for a family ID project which is comparable to the upcoming Maharashtra Unified Citizen Data Hub. Technology and data researchers are crossing their fingers that the proposed regulation would provide adequate safeguards for citizen data.
The Bommai administration is drafting legislation to provide legal support for the grandiose Kutumba initiative, which involves the creation of a social registry of all households incorporating citizen data, reports the Deccan Herald.
The government has commissioned the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy think tank to prepare a bill for Kutumba.
Technology and data researchers are crossing their fingers that the proposed regulation would provide adequate safeguards for citizen data.
As part of Kutumba, each of the 5.5 crore citizens living in the 1.6 crore homes has been allocated a special identification that will be used as the foundation for all future interactions with the government.
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Kutumba is connected to the education department’s student database as well as the Farmer Registration and Unified Beneficiary Information System (FRUITS), which has data on seven million farmers. Kutumba also communicates with databases of ration cards, caste certificates, and income certificates, rendering it a data gold mine.
The Kutumba ID can be utilized to retrieve data such as caste, income, and landholding to assess a citizen’s eligibility for a government service without the need for documentation.
The government has withdrawn from the tender procedure in order to bring on board Vidhi Centre to “develop a legal framework” for Kutumba.
“Right now, Kutumba is running on the basis of government orders. There is no legal framework to back it,” an e-Governance department source stated.
Authorities are researching similar attempts in other states as they develop the legislation. “The broad vision is to make Kutumba the basis for welfare service delivery,” the source said.
Kutumba has been formally portrayed by the government as an Integrated Social Information System, which includes a social registry, integrated beneficiary management systems, a beneficiary registry, a payment platform, and a grievance redressal system.
Kutumba was launched as a pilot project in the Mandya district’s Srirangapatna taluk in August 2019. After its performance, the programme was expanded to include the entire state beginning in May 2020.
“The government’s social objectives must be balanced with due respect to data protection,” says Shreeja Sen, research associate at IT for Change, who adds that there are worries about how insecure centralised databases can be.
Kutumba is comparable to the upcoming Maharashtra Unified Citizen Data Hub. According to one tech policy analyst, “this amounts to a 360-degree profiling of a citizen.”
“When Aadhaar is already the basis for welfare delivery, will Kutumba work as a parallel? If it’s an add-on, then why need it?”