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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Friday, October 9, 2015

8875 - Aadhaar case: Why carrying forward Manmohan's sin does no credit to Modi - First Post



by R Jagannathan  Oct 8, 2015 11:38 IST

The government has only itself to blame for the slapdown it received from a three-judge Supreme Court bench on Wednesday (7 October) on extending Aadhaar even on a voluntary basis beyond LPG and the public distribution system. 

The court said "nyet" even though the government had marshalled a solid phalanx of allies, including the Reserve Bank, Sebi and other financial regulators on its side.

The court refused to blink for a simple reason: having mandated a five-judge constitutional bench to look at the privacy issues posed by Aadhaar, it hardly made sense for it to effectively frustrate a future verdict by changing the reality on the ground in the meanwhile. With 90 crore Aadhaar numbers already issued, it is hardly possible for any court to ask any government to scrap it completely without inviting the charge of causing a huge waste of public resources. So a stay is warranted at this stage.

The government lost its case the minute it argued a few months ago that the right to privacy was not a fundamental one, basing its strong views on an earlier eight-bench Supreme Court verdict. 

This is hardly the kind of stand any liberal would take, for the issue is not whether privacy is a fundamental right or not, but whether it is a right citizens ought to enjoy. If a state can collect and control my biometrics, which are a part of my body, it can conceivably tell women they have only limited rights over their bodies. Or that your bedroom is also the state's domain in some circumstances.

Former Prime Minister Narendra Modi and current PM Narendra Modi. Agencies

Illiberal India has, since the Nehruvian era, effectively trampled on most rights, including fundamental ones like the right to free speech. However, we do enjoy at least truncated rights in many spheres. The right to privacy is certainly not something one should abandon as unimportant in a person's life, however, poor she may be.

The problem with Aadhaar is that it is both a necessity and an abomination. No civilised country lacks a universal identity system that is governed by a legal statute. But Aadhaar is a great idea wrapped in the sin of near-illegality. Given the difficulty of obtaining legislative sanction for it, the UPA used the tentacles of a coercive state apparatus to push Aadhaar. 

The poor and the needy rushed for it, for Aadhaar was whispered to be vital for entitlements and thus made. Mandatory covertly. The poor also voluntarily embraced it because of the dignity it gave them through an officially recognised identity system.

But a person's biometric data - fingerprints and iris prints - is his personal property. You cannot capture it and store it in a database without a guarantee of data protection and privacy backed by a strong law against misuse. So before Aadhaar is extended to every form of use by the state, a law to prevent its abuse is a must.

The Modi government erred in thinking that if Manmohan Singh could do this without moral compunctions, so can we. This is wrong. A semi-illegal thing remains semi-illegal and unethical even if one is not doing anything more than what was done before. The right thing to do is to bring the law first and then extend Aadhaar.

To be sure, the Supreme Court too could have done better than just sit on the issue. Instead of just extending a stay that delays an important subsidy reform of the government, it could have said the scheme can be extended only after a law is passed, even as the court debates the privacy issue. A law to guard private data is hardly something any court is going to strike down.

The government's priority should be a law to legislate Aadhaar with strong provisions against misuse. Modi has to correct Manmohan's mistake, not compound it.