uid

When I opposed Aadhaar in 2010 , I was called a BJP stooge. In 2016 I am still opposing Aadhaar for the same reasons and I am told I am a Congress die hard. No one wants to see why I oppose Aadhaar as it is too difficult. Plus Aadhaar is FREE so why not get one ? Ram Krishnaswamy

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. -Mahatma Gandhi

In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place. Mahatma Gandhi

“The invasion of privacy is of no consequence because privacy is not a fundamental right and has no meaning under Article 21. The right to privacy is not a guaranteed under the constitution, because privacy is not a fundamental right.” Article 21 of the Indian constitution refers to the right to life and liberty -Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi

“There is merit in the complaints. You are unwittingly allowing snooping, harassment and commercial exploitation. The information about an individual obtained by the UIDAI while issuing an Aadhaar card shall not be used for any other purpose, save as above, except as may be directed by a court for the purpose of criminal investigation.” -A three judge bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar said in an interim order.

Legal scholar Usha Ramanathan describes UID as an inverse of sunshine laws like the Right to Information. While the RTI makes the state transparent to the citizen, the UID does the inverse: it makes the citizen transparent to the state, she says.

Good idea gone bad
I have written earlier that UID/Aadhaar was a poorly designed, unreliable and expensive solution to the really good idea of providing national identification for over a billion Indians. My petition contends that UID in its current form violates the right to privacy of a citizen, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. This is because sensitive biometric and demographic information of citizens are with enrolment agencies, registrars and sub-registrars who have no legal liability for any misuse of this data. This petition has opened up the larger discussion on privacy rights for Indians. The current Article 21 interpretation by the Supreme Court was done decades ago, before the advent of internet and today’s technology and all the new privacy challenges that have arisen as a consequence.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MP Rajya Sabha

“What is Aadhaar? There is enormous confusion. That Aadhaar will identify people who are entitled for subsidy. No. Aadhaar doesn’t determine who is eligible and who isn’t,” Jairam Ramesh

But Aadhaar has been mythologised during the previous government by its creators into some technology super force that will transform governance in a miraculous manner. I even read an article recently that compared Aadhaar to some revolution and quoted a 1930s historian, Will Durant. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Rajya Sabha MP

“I know you will say that it is not mandatory. But, it is compulsorily mandatorily voluntary,” Jairam Ramesh, Rajya Saba April 2017


Special

Here is what the Parliament Standing Committee on Finance, which examined the draft N I A Bill said.

1. There is no feasibility study of the project]

2. The project was approved in haste

3. The system has far-reaching consequences for national security

4. The project is directionless with no clarity of purpose

5. It is built on unreliable and untested technology

6. The exercise becomes futile in case the project does not continue beyond the present number of 200 million enrolments

7. There is lack of coordination and difference of views between various departments and ministries of government on the project

Quotes

What was said before the elections:

NPR & UID aiding Aliens – Narendra Modi

"I don't agree to Nandan Nilekeni and his madcap (UID) scheme which he is trying to promote," Senior BJP Leader Yashwant Sinha, Sept 2012

"All we have to show for the hundreds of thousands of crore spent on Aadhar is a Congress ticket for Nilekani" Yashwant Sinha.(27/02/2014)

TV Mohandas Pai, former chief financial officer and head of human resources, tweeted: "selling his soul for power; made his money in the company wedded to meritocracy." Money Life Article

Nilekani’s reporting structure is unprecedented in history; he reports directly to the Prime Minister, thus bypassing all checks and balances in government - Home Minister Chidambaram

To refer to Aadhaar as an anti corruption tool despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary is mystifying. That it is now officially a Rs.50,000 Crores solution searching for an explanation is also without any doubt. -- Statement by Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MP & Member, Standing Committee on Finance

Finance minister P Chidambaram’s statement, in an exit interview to this newspaper, that Aadhaar needs to be re-thought completely is probably the last nail in its coffin. :-) Financial Express

The Rural Development Ministry headed by Jairam Ramesh created a road Block and refused to make Aadhaar mandatory for making wage payment to people enrolled under the world’s largest social security scheme NRGA unless all residents are covered.


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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

8751 - Govt expects DBT to plug 35-40% leakage in PDS - Live Mint


Savings from DBT of food subsidy expected to be much larger than that for LPG; national rollout by January
Fri, Sep 25 2015.

Saurabh Kumar

In PDS, the official said, some leakage arises due to fake ration cards. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

New Delhi: The Union government is almost ready with a system that will directly transfer benefits in the public distribution system (PDS) after it tasted success in such subsidy transfer for liquefied petroleum gas.

The PDS is administered by the state governments and they will be able to use this system by the end of this year, a top official said.

“We have asked the states to move fast but cautiously,” a finance ministry official who is working on the direct benefits transfer (DBT) scheme said on condition of anonymity.

This will help government check leakages worth 30-40% of the total food subsidy given through the PDS, the official added.

Currently, only the Union territories of Chandigarh and Puducherry use DBT in PDS. The Aadhaar-based transfer could be either through cash or collection of foodgrains from ration shops through biometric authentication. “In Chandigarh, we have started cash transfers,” the official said.

Under DBT for LPG, or Pahal Scheme, so far 141.9 million beneficiaries have received Rs.25,447.93 crore in their bank accounts since the scheme was relaunched in November 2014. The government expects to save Rs.15,000 crore in leakages in LPG subsidy every year.

In PDS, the official said, some leakage arises due to fake ration cards. “Now that the identity of a person is known and ration cards are Aadhaar-verified, only the right beneficiaries will get the subsidy,” he said. Around 95% of states have already digitised ration cards. Digitization for cardholders means getting their ration card information updated on a computer system.
The savings from DBT of food subsidy is expected to be much larger than that for LPG. According to budget estimates, India’s food subsidies for the 2015-16 will be Rs.1.24 trillion. So, if government manages to save 40% of the subsidy, it will be around Rs.50,000 crore annually.

“If the government is moving in this direction, then it is good and I will like to see the states to move faster in adopting the system,” said Ashok Gulati, a former chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, which advises the government on food prices. “It is a low hanging fruit and the amount saved can be used for say education which will increase efficiency.”

The government’s savings will go up further if it accounts for the unpaid bills of the Food Corp. of India, which is expected to be around Rs.70,000 crore for 2015-16, Gulati said. A committee headed by former food minister Shanta Kumar, in its January report, had found that diversion of foodgrains from PDS amounted to around 47% of the total food subsidy.

“Cash transfers can be indexed with overall price level to protect the amount of real income transfers, given in the name of lady of the house, and routed through Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana and dovetailing Aadhaar,” the report said. Jan Dhan Yojana aims to open a bank account and provide insurance cover for every household in the country.

The DBT official said the cash transfers will be done at 1.25 times the issue price of foodgrains to tackle market fluctuation of foodgrain prices. “It is to protect a person from higher prices,” he added. According to the National Food Security Act, 2013, PDS beneficiaries are entitled to 5kg of foodgrains per person per month.

The government is overplaying the bogus cards factor as the main reason for leakage, according to Dipa Sinha, a right-to-food campaigner. “Whenever the government has done an exercise, be it in Delhi or Chhattisgarh, not more than 10% of the cards have been found to be fake,” she said.

Often the leakages happen before the foodgrains reach the fair-price shop, she said. “The leakage is happening in the supply process and Aadhaar can only help in reducing duplication,” she said. Sinha also said that cash transfers will worsen the farmer crisis as minimum support price is their only support and the procurement process will be affected.

A Supreme Court ruling on 11 August restricted the use of the Aadhaar number to distribution of cooking gas cylinders, kerosene and foodgrain through the PDS. The DBT for kerosene will also start in October and will be operational in states where food subsidy through the platform exists, the government official said.