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

8835 - FM Arun Jaitley’s Facebook post: Linking PAN with cash transactions will hit blackmoney hard - Financial Express

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has done well by announcing in his Facebook post on Sunday that the government is planning to link permanent account number (PAN) with cash transactions to combat blackmoney.

By: Santosh Tiwari | October 5, 2015 3:36 PM


In a country of more than 120 crore people, only 3.6 crore file income tax returns despite more than 17 crore having PAN. Extensive use of PAN and its linking with Aadhaar is a key tax reform for curbing tax evasion and blackmoney.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has done well by announcing in his Facebook post on Sunday that the government is planning to link permanent account number (PAN) with cash transactions to combat blackmoney.

Linking of cash transactions with PAN would mean that the records of any cash transaction beyond a certain limit could be accessed by the Income-Tax Department – while this will help find out the tax evaders, it will also act as a deterrent and shut this major window for blackmoney operations.

The FM’s Facebook post has obviously been to tell people what the NDA government is doing to tackle black money after embarrassing results of the three-month compliance window which saw the disclosure of just Rs 3,770 crore; but the direction in which the government is moving now, though delayed, will yield good results if the steps he has outlined are pursued judiciously.

Jaitley has said: “The Government is at an advanced stage in considering the requirement of furnishing PAN card details if cash transactions beyond a certain limit are undertaken. The monitoring regime of income tax has been strengthened and its capacity to access information and apply technology driven analytical tools to expose evasion, has been enhanced. Its ability to detect large cash withdrawals, or large cash transactions which enter the system, is being strengthened. GST regime once introduced will also be a landmark step in this direction. Thus for commodities like gold where the initial purchase by the exporter is after the payment of custom duty, the subsequent transactions which are mostly in cash, can easily be found out”.

Going forward, it is quite clear that the government might also look at restructuring the personal income tax rate structure to address the issue of the highest tax rate of 30% kicking in at a low income of Rs 10 lakh – it should kick in at a higher income – and also enhanced promotion of plastic money.

The government must take note of the Tax Administration Reforms Commission (TARC) report’s suggestion here.
The Commission in one of its report submitted to the finance ministry in November 2014 pointed out that, “India has a low taxpayer base even as a percentage of the total population. With a population of over 120 crore, only 17 crore have a PAN and of these, about 3.6 crore file income tax returns. Only 3.3 per cent of the population pays tax, which is very low compared to 39 per cent in Singapore, 46 per cent in the USA, and 75 per cent in New Zealand. This, of course, reflects India’s low income levels, which, for a large part of the population, falls below the basic income tax threshold; yet huge potential remains to expand the taxpayer base… the base could perhaps be doubled at most to say 7 per cent”.

The Income-Tax Department has already started linking Aadhaar numbers to PAN through e-filing of tax returns to make the refund process easier and a non-intrusive handling of the taxpayers – 3,492,298 returns are already PAN-Aadhaar linked – and this process needs to be extended as far and wide as possible.

First Published on October 05, 2015 11:24 am