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, October 7, 2015

8832 - Aadhaar-based fertilizer subsidy transfer in limbo - Live Mint

Tue, Oct 06 2015. 12
Given condition of land records and problems in identifying actual beneficiaries, the task is gigantic, say analysts



India’s agriculture sector is facing one of its worst crises in recent years with farm incomes hit by falling prices of produce and drought-like conditions in several states. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

New Delhi: The Aadhaar-based direct benefit transfer (DBT) of fertilizer subsidies may not see the light of day anytime soon.

“The roll-out of DBT in fertilizer will take some time because there are various hurdles,” said a government official, who is working on DBT.

The official, who requested anonymity, said that “this is more challenging” than the DBT of subsidy for cooking gas cylinders, foodgrain and kerosene.

The problems arise from factors such as identifying the actual beneficiaries. “Most of the farming in the country is on contract basis, or what is called tenant farming. Whom to give subsidy and how?” the official said.

Under the DBT for cooking gas, 142.5 million beneficiaries have received Rs.25,795.93 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 cooking gas subsidies every year. The government also expects the DBT in foodgrain will check leakages worth 30-40% of the total food subsidy rolled out through the public distribution system, as reported by Mint on 25 September. 

(http://mintne.ws/1KC83qG).

If the government succeeds in saving 40% of what it spends on the foodgrain subsidy, it will mean savings of another around Rs.50,000 crore annually.

The Supreme Court in an 11 August interim order restricted the use of Aadhaar, the unique identity number, to paying subsidies for the public distribution system and cooking gas. However, the Unique Identification Authority of India, or UIDAI, last week sought the court’s permission to use Aadhaar for all government social benefit schemes till it decides on the case, as reported by Mint on 24 September.

The savings from fertilizer subsidies are expected to be next to that from foodgrain if leakages are checked. A committee headed by former food minister Shanta Kumar, which submitted its report in January, recommended that farmers should be given direct cash subsidy (of about Rs.7,000 per hectare) and that the fertilizer sector can then be deregulated. “Most of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries as well as large emerging economies do support their farmers. India also gives large subsidy on fertilizers (more than Rs.72,000 crore in budget of FY15 plus pending bills of about Rs.30,000-35,000 crore),” the report noted.

For FY16, the budgetary outlay for fertilizer subsidies routed through manufacturers is Rs.72,969 crore. At present, manufacturers sell fertilizer at a subsidized rate to farmers and realize the amount from the government.

According to the committee, DBT of fertilizer subsidy to farmers will plug diversion of urea for non-agricultural uses as well as to neighbouring countries, and raise the efficiency of fertilizer use. “It may be noted that this type of direct cash subsidy to farmers will go a long way to help those who take loans from moneylenders at exorbitant+ interest rates to buy fertilizers or other inputs, thus relieving some distress in the agrarian sector,” added the report.

The country’s agriculture sector is facing one of its worst crises in recent years with farm incomes hit by falling prices of produce and drought-like conditions in several states.
The government official quoted above added that some pilots have been launched to test the feasibility of the scheme. The centre’s approach in select districts is to verify farmers’ land records and proof of identity through the Aadhaar number at retail fertilizer stores. The government expects to create a comprehensive database of beneficiary farmers over a period of time.

However, given the condition of land records in India, the task seems gigantic. “That is the most daunting task. The land records are in a bad shape and we have not cared to fix it in so many years,” said Biswajit Dhar, professor of economics at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Dhar added that the problem of absentee landlords has compounded the issue of identifying beneficiaries.
He added that the US abandoned the practice of farm benefits in the Farm Bill, 2014, as it was found to be inefficient, and that the country has moved to a price support mechanism.