The Centre has said that it paid nearly Rs 50 lakh to independent think tank Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy for its legal services in formulating the Aadhaar Act. Philanthropist Rohini Nilekani, the wife of Nandan Nilekani, who was one of the chief architects of the government’s biometric Aadhaar policy, is one of the main funders of Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy.

In response to a query in the Rajya Sabha on March 23, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology KJ Alphons said the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy was paid Rs 48,15,000 over five years. Congress MP Husain Dalwai had sought to know if the government had availed of the services of independent legal policy advisory groups for “hassle-free Aadhaar Act implementation”. Alphons added that the government was not consulting any private company at present.

Alphons further added that the government had paid Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy Rs 48,15,000 in the past five years for its “legal services”.

In an interview to The Economic Times in July 2017, Arghya Sengupta, the founder and research director at Vidhi Centre, said there has been a lot of criticism that India does not have a data protection law. “Aadhaar is only one part of this ecosystem which is admittedly becoming larger,” he had said.