News Source :
NEW DELHI: The Aadhaar card could soon be your passport to a married life with the government asking all matrimonial websites to verify the authenticity of the profiles they put up. The move by Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi comes in the wake of the recent rape incident in Delhi involving a driver with prior history who managed to get employed with an online taxi service without any background check.
Ministry sources told ETthat Maneka Gandhi pointed out that a mobile number was the only requirement currently needed to put up one’s profile. “This is clearly not enough. There are hundreds of people who register online on matrimony sites every month and there are increasing instances of women being cheated while looking for grooms. There are men who have multiple accounts in different websites.
Making an Aadhaar card compulsory will ensure the pictures of the grooms are on the profiles. This will limit the number of stalkers, serial daters and married men posing as single,” a senior official at the ministry said.
According to an ET report last year, there were 35-40 million online registered profiles on matrimonial sites. And 2.2 million online profiles were being uploaded every month. Of these, around 10% managed to find spouses online. Security officials ET spoke to said the ministry’s fears are not misplaced.
A Delhi police official said there have been many complaints of men faking their identity on matrimonial websites. “Recently, we arrested a man who had his profile on three leading marriage websites.
He had sent request to over 1,000 women and was in touch with at least 30, extorting money from a few with promises of marriage and getting pictures from others. During our check we discovered in some of these websites there are profiles of actors too which are definitely fake but have not been taken down,” he added. As of now, an ID proof is not mandatory in any such site. Bharatmatrimony. com recently started a system wherein an interested user can have an “online trust badge” and a “professional trust badge” added to his profile by attaching an ID proof like ration card, Aadhaar or any authentic ID, latest educational certificates and salary certificates.
“We notice that these profiles get the maximum response but making any of these documents compulsory — even an ID like Aadhaar will be difficult. Most users are concerned about privacy and some don’t even have ID proofs,” said Janakiraman Murugavel, Founder & CEO, Bharatmatrimony.com. He added the website had recently started providing free on-ground verification of profiles in New Delhi and Chennai.
Most other matrimonial website owners are sceptical of using the Aadhaar card but say security measures will definitely be beefed up, as advised by the ministry. “If the government makes the Aadhaar card compulsory for people to enroll in matrimonial websites, we will have to comply but how many people have Aadhaar cards? The government has to make sure people have the cards before implementing such a rule,” said Anupam Mittal, founder and CEO of People Group which owns businesses such as Shaadi.com. “Also, it is not possible to understand the intent of people by looking at their documents alone,” he said.
Some matrimonial websites insist on ID proofs and videos of the person but that happens only when the user reports his/her profile as fake. “We have a software that is coded to identify stalker profiles that are present in not only our site but other dating and matrimony websites.
We immediately bring them down,” Mittal added. Nilanjan Roy, head (strategy), Times Business Solutions, who looks after SimplyMarry.com, said concerns of the government with respect to fake profiles were understandable but Aadhaar might not be the only solution to prevent such impersonation frauds. “People are most likely to cheat about their height and salaries and Aadhaar doesn’t give you such details,” he said.
Roy explained that with no centralised database of Aadhaar cards, the users can only be provided an image of the Aadhaar card which can be easily photoshopped. “Marriage websites are just a platform for two people to get introduced to each other and interact. They may have to do a lot of stuff on their own to verify how true the identity is,” he added.
Users, however, have a different take on this. “I am ready to provide my Aadhaar card details or even my college documents after the first few interactions but not before that. There is a huge privacy issue here. What if my documents are downloaded and used elsewhere,” said Rajat Pant, an engineer in Bangalore who is enrolled in matrimonial websites.