New Delhi. After Ranjana Sonawane, the first recipient of the UID number expressed confusion over how could a 12-digt number on a smartcard help her, the government has decided to scrap cards and give UID t-shirts instead, so that the recipient see an immediate benefit of becoming a number.
The step is also believed to save huge costs as the budget of the UID scheme was earlier slashed to half.
As part of the new scheme, every Indian citizen will now be issued a t-shirt with his/her name and a number on the back for easy identification. The Prime Minister will have the honor of wearing the number “one” shirt whilst the higher numbers will be allocated on a tatkal system, with the “luckiest” numbers expected to go for crores in a public bidding to be organized by axed members of the IPL governing council.
Under the proposed scheme, each region will also be allotted a color. However, the allotment of red for Bengalis is causing controversy, whilst Kashmiris are campaigning to for a green and brown mix and a white option for winter. Punjab is in uproar as the news spread that the entire state will be forced to wear pink. The RSS has issued a statement arguing that all shirts should be saffron and the color variants are an “attempt to divide and conquer”, whilst many tribals want to know what exactly a t-shirt is.
But the scheme has proved popular with law enforcement authorities. “This will halve our work load,” said P.L Dutta, a police sergeant in Rohini, “finding criminals is difficult. We have to leave the police station, talk to people, write things down and remember things. With numbers all we have to do is write down the culprit’s number and drive around until we find him; or someone a few digits higher or lower who may know where he is.”
However, security experts claim that identity theft will become reach epidemic proportions. “People will employ guards for their washing lines,” said Nitish Patel, a security consultant, “I foresee a black market of stolen t-shirts and fake identities; we’ll see armed robberies carried out by people with “Mickey Mouse” or “Suresh Kalmadi” written on their shirts. All this will make police work more difficult,” explained Patel.
Faking News put Mr Patel’s comments to sergeant Dutta, who commented, “Shit, we didn’t think of that. Could they use tattoos?”
But it seems it’s too late and a pilot project is already underway, even as it is reported to be facing problems.
One Bengali man’s red t-shirt faded in the wash. “It has gone pink,” explains Sushmit, 44, “now people think I’m Punjabi and I can’t convince them otherwise. It’s been going on for weeks now. Some days I even wake up and think – ooh, I could murder some butter chicken right now – I’m in turmoil. I’ve even started drinking this stuff,” he says, holding up a half empty bottle of Blender’s Pride, “I don’t know why; it’s bloody horrible.”
But his wife is less perturbed, “I’m just waiting for him to earn some cash and buy a Honda City,” she told Faking News.
Historians point out that the policy is not new or original. In 1881 the British attempted a similar scheme. However, it failed as there was not enough variation in the tweeds used to tell a Rajput from a Yadav at a range of 300m.
The t-shirts were initially to have featured a barcode, but it was pointed out that if they failed as often as shop barcodes do, then the authorities would have to input around 1-1.1bn serial numbers by hand, without any scope for underhand dealings.
Early bids for the tender to manufacture the 1.1bn t-shirts were made by several CWG suppliers, but the Centre pointed out that the project budget would not stretch to Rs.2 lakhs per shirt as it would defeat the purpose of cost-cutting. Several Chinese firms are reported to have submitted negative bids. A final decision is pending.
Earlier, the government had plans to include “bum sizes” of every Indian in its UID card or Aadhar project, as reported by Faking News. The plan was abandoned after several Lok Sabha members, who were due to participate in the launch of the pilot scheme, refused to let information concerning the size of their bottoms come out into the public sphere.