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.

August 24, 2017: The nine-judge Constitution Bench rules that right to privacy is “intrinsic to life and liberty” and is inherently protected under the various fundamental freedoms enshrined under Part III of the Indian Constitution

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the World; indeed it's the only thing that ever has"

“Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.” - Edward Snowden

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.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

8762 - Editorial: Silicon charms - Financial Express

Editorial: Silicon charms
Narendra Modi’s digital initiatives certain to charm the Valley

By: The Financial Express | September 26, 2015 2:18 AM

It is not surprising that Narendra Modi is the first Indian prime minister in more than three decades to visit Silicon Valley since few of his predecessors were either interested in using technology in the way he is, or had much to offer by way of either expertise or business opportunities. Even before Modi became the prime minister, Indian IT firms had established their presence on the international scene, at least at the low end of the market—and firms like GE and Microsoft already had R&D centres doing reasonable quality work here. And, as Nasscom’s recent study points out, while the Indian tech industry has invested $2 billion in the US between FY11 and FY13—and $8.2 billion in operational expenditure in FY13 alone—it supported 4.1 lakh jobs in the US in FY15 alone, of which 3 lakh were for US nationals and green card holders; between FY11 and FY15, a total of $20 billion have been paid by way of taxes to the US government and another $6.6 billion by way of social security contributions. Over a period of time, the quality of Indian tech has improved vastly, which is why US money is finding its way into Indian startups—you have to visit Bengaluru only once to see how tech is progressing, there is even an Indian team participating in Google’s Moon 2.0 programme; indeed, Modi will be speaking at an event in San Jose which showcases the innovation of Indian startups.

Nandan Nilekani’s Aadhaar took this a step forward and firmly established the Indian government’s credentials as a low-cost innovator with huge potential for scaling up—once the biometrics-driven direct benefits transfer programme takes off, it will be the only one of its type in the world with such scale. While adopting Nilekani’s Aadhaar, Modi has added a few more layers on top of this. His ambitious 100,000 MW by 2022 solar power target presents a big challenge as well as a big opportunity for US tech firms including Tesla, whose campus he will be visiting. Digital India is another huge opportunity, in terms of both money and technology. Google’s Project Loon, for instance, can play a role in this, and spreading the internet is also what Facebook’s internet.org is all about. Billions of dollars of equipment will be required when India is fully connected through Digital India, and a large part of it will come from US firms. To achieve its full potential, Digital India will need more satellite technology—US firm Hughes Communications has been trying for half a decade to make a breakthrough here—and it also means India will need to spread its telecom network wider, and fix all remaining issues of spectrum etc. Digital locker means government departments will have to truly modernise to be able to give you digital land records, education degrees etc and Digital India will allow governments—and citizens—to keep tabs on all citizen services across the country, 24×7. In other words, apart from the commercial and philanthropic opportunities this offers techies—both are equally important—Digital India is the essential techie dream of being able to solve the world’s problems using tech, bypassing the messy interface that human beings represent.

There’s only one fly in the ointment in this perfect picture—Silicon Valley tends to be more liberal than the Modi government comes across as being; Modi’s Beti Bachao Aandolan goes down well with Silicon Valley but Mahesh Sharma’s Despite-Being-A-Muslim represents every bit of bigotry the Valley abhors. 

It helps, of course, that Modi’s government has been on the politically correct side of the net neutrality debate and quickly withdrew the encryption policy draft that was seen as an instrument of an intrusive state. Though US tech titans posed for pictures with Chinese president Xi Jinping just a few days ago, chances are their smiles will be warmer when doing the same with Modi.

First Published on September 26, 2015 2:18 am