By T S Sudhir
“Don’t spread rumours and panic,” K Chandrasekhar Rao gently admonished the media, asking them not to do anything to dissuade people of Telangana from taking part in the August 19 intensive household survey. (Read previous blog by T S Sudhir here)
On his part, the Telangana chief minister is leaving nothing to chance. Short of calling it house arrest, the government won’t make it easy for you to stir out of home. No bus, no auto will ply in the ten districts of the state, all government and private offices will be closed. So will be commercial establishments and educational institutions. Four crore Telanganites have been asked to be at home.
My colleague, a native of Telangana has a genuine concern and something that reflects the doubts over data privacy. “Should I declare my property details or not? If I do not declare the land I have in my village, isn’t it quite possible that it will be grabbed and because I did not declare it in the survey, the government of Telangana will tell me it is no longer yours,” is his dilemma.
Though the column that would have revealed nativity has now been removed, after much public outrage, doubts persist that identifying the settlers (people from Andhra Pradesh) in Telangana is the prime objective. But fear not, because that cannot be identified with this survey. The Telugu Desam is however, doing its bit of mischief by leaking a video of someone who is identified as the PRO to the Telangana CM, who makes outrageous claims that settlers will be thrown out of Telangana after this survey.
The Telangana government has now said that taking part in the survey is optional and KCR has also clarified that revealing bank account numbers is optional. But what about lakhs of people, who fear they will be targeted if they do not reveal all information. Plus there is no guarantee of data privacy. When an unauthorised employee in the bank where you hold an account can unethically peep into your bank account and ask you the reason you have parked your funds there and suggest other financial options, where is the guarantee that only a few officers in responsible positions will have access to personal information about you.
Defenders of the Telangana government argue why this outrage was not there when Aadhaar demanded your bank account number. It wasn’t there for the simple reason that there was a clear linkage that was sought to be established between LPG reimbursement and Aadhaar card. The TRS government so far at least, has not spoken about any such financial linkage. Also if that was indeed the reason to demand bank account number, one account number would have sufficed, why ask for all of them. No one in the establishment has answered these queries satisfactorily.
P.S. The next time, you get a telemarketing call, asking you if you will like to buy a second AC, since you have only one, you know where they have got that info from. Or if you get a telemarketing call, suggesting better quality food for your dog, you know you are barking up the right tree.