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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Monday, October 5, 2015

8819 - Using JAM to bring about social change - Governance Now



Direct benefits transfer is increasingly seen only as a framework of fiscal efficiency. It’s much more than that and can actually be used to bring about deep rooted social change
R Swaminathan | October 3, 2015




What can we do if we link money, digital identity and a mobile phone? A lot, if one were to put it simply. The idea is brilliant and practical at the same time, which is a rarity. It’s an idea that the government of India seems to have picked up and is keen on running with it for a long time. Like all things in the Modi Sarkar, they call it by a fancy acronym: JAM or Jan-Dhan, Aadhaar & Mobile.

There are two typical reactions to this move by the government. Both are on expected lines. The first is an almost blind adulation that has come to be associated with techno-fundamentalists. It’s an approach that’s underpinned by an extremely simplistic understanding of complex social realities and an equally naïve conceptualisation of the potential of technology to remove such complexities. In short, the techno-fundamentalists eventually come to the conclusion that social problems are nothing but a technological fix away. In their collective rose-tinted vision, JAM is the silver bullet that will destroy generations of deprivation and marginalisation that has seeped into the fabric of Indian society. Even a cursory analysis of how direct benefits transfer is playing out at the food subsidy level should substantially change the rosiness of the vision to a different hue.

The second reaction is at other end of the spectrum, and is something that’s increasingly associated with the technophobes. It’s an approach that’s based on an overarching fear of any form of technology, and more specifically digital technology, to resolve or change anything that’s remotely in the social realm. In short, for the technophobes, in the final analysis, digital technology is the big bad brother that will further amplify and accentuate social inequities. In their yellowed vision, digital technologies are nothing but another set of tools for the powerful to exert greater control. Just a glance at the way mobile phones have democratised access to information and communication systems in huge swathes of rural India should fundamentally bring in greater rosiness into their vision.

JAM has tremendous transformative potential. There is no doubt about it. Equally, if it implodes, it has enough destructive power to put back India by decades. It’s potential for good and bad are both based in the manner in which JAM is replacing the traditional plumbing and wiring, if one may use a real-world analogy, of the bureaucratic and programme delivery system. The reality lies somewhere in between. If the LPG subsidy is touted to claim how JAM can be a successful way of bringing in greater efficiency and transparency in the allocation and delivery of energy subsidy, the manner in which the direct transfer of food subsidy is playing out in different states with people completely getting deprived of basic food safety net is a warning sign of how JAM can implode. It is within this context that JAM needs to be placed. When the concept and practice of convergence as envisaged by JAM are debated within this context, there are particular strands that need to be understood and deconstructed in some detail and depth. These are critical strands and, if not strengthened adequately with proper public discourse, can rip apart quickly leading to an implosion.

The first is the issue of efficiency. JAM and direct benefits transfer are currently seen in the policy and decision making circles as means to achieve two things: fiscal efficiency at the macroeconomic level through a ‘better targeting’ of beneficiaries and reduction in leakages and corruption by ensuring that benefits and subsidies reach the people directly. The current discourse on efficiency completely ignores the fact that a large population of the most marginalised and deprived sections is not being served at all by the government due to inadequate allocation. There is an urgent need to free the concept and practice of efficiency from the stranglehold of bureaucrats and technocrats so that the efficiency discourse reorients its frameworks to exclusively deal with last-mile delivery rather than allocation. In fact, JAM and direct benefits transfer should be seen as a mechanism for the government to substantially increase its allocation to social sector and focus areas such health, nutrition, education and various critical public goods like water, food and common resources.

The second is the discourse on targeting, which in more ways than one is linked to the current narrative on efficiency. There are several robust and methodologically solid studies that prove quite decisively that targeting of benefits and subsidies not only does not work but also adds layers of inefficiency and operational costs on to the bureaucratic infrastructure. Simply put, any operating logic that needs to identify beneficiaries on set parameters needs the physical and people infrastructure to start doing so. Embedded in that infrastructure are layers of subjectivity, opportunity and processing costs, time delays and audit and forensics requirements. Targeting is capital and technology intensive and requires huge amounts of data, money and people to ensure that parameters are followed. Yet the results are at best spotty. JAM and direct benefits transfer, if located within the reoriented definition of efficiency, can actually be used to remove targeting as methodology of delivery of entitlements and services. There are several real-world examples of how universal entitlements – food grain entitlements through the public distribution system in Chhattisgarh and health services in Cuba – have worked quite well to bring out groups and communities out of extreme poverty.

The third is the idea of universal basic income. If the discourses on efficiency and targeting can be reoriented, JAM can as well become the delivery platform for every single Indian to get a basic income from the state. It isn’t an outlandish idea. It’s based on a deep-rooted social logic that every Indian, whether rich or poor, should get a direct income from the government because s/he and his or her descendents have contributed to the growth of India. For example, a construction worker who builds highways and roads that leads to crores of revenues which in turn contributes to the country’s GDP also needs to earn a regular dividend from it. SEWA has displayed the effectiveness and practicality of the idea by showing its possibilities in a pilot project, supported by Professor Guy Standing (the author of The Precariat Charter), where over 18,000 Indians (men and women and children) were given '300 every month directly deposited into an individual account. Children were given '100 a month, and interestingly the mother was given the authority to operate the account. Preliminary results indicate a substantial jump in all human indicators, from nutritional to learning outcomes.

It’s clear that the government has embarked on a journey that’s going to see digital technology play a big role in the delivery of services, rights and entitlements. In fact, that’s the core of electronic and mobile governance. It is, however, critical to ensure that digital technology is not seen only as a tool to bring about macroeconomic fiscal efficiency. 


- See more at: http://www.governancenow.com/gov-next/egov/using-jam-bring-social-change#sthash.KBTTRXOY.dpuf