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Nandan Nilekani wants Aadhaar-based system to roll out Covid-19 vaccinations

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Nandan Nilekani, the architect of Aadhaar, wants the Indian government to use the "Aadhaar model" while rolling out an eventual COVID-19 vaccine. The former chief of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), speaking at an Indian Express event, proposed that Aadhaar could be used to authenticate the population before vaccination. People who get vaccinated would also get a "digital certificate" as proof of vaccination, he added. Nilekani claimed this model would help deliver as many as 8-10 million doses in a single day. Nilekani is not the only prominent individual who wants to link the controversial identification document with COVID-19 vaccinations. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, the chairperson and managing director of Biocon Limited, has also made similar statements in the recent past. At the event, Nilekani said that the country could have a system wherein it trains around 2,00,000 people to become "authorised vaccinators" who will operate in a network of public and private vaccination centres. He claimed that Aadhaar could be used at these centres. Nilekani argued that if the proposed vaccine needed two doses, India would have to deliver 260 crore vaccines, which could not be done in 9-10 month time-frame without a "strong technology backbone". "An Aadhaar-type backbone would be critical for, initially, sending messages to people to come for their initial, and later repeat, vaccine while the use of Aadhaar would help create a record of those vaccinated," Nilekani was quoted as saying. The technocrat indicated that Aadhaar would help monitor 24X7 how long the vaccines are effective,…

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