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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Saturday, October 10, 2015

8896 - Aadhaar: A unique problem of identity - Indian Express



Launched in 2009 as a pet project by the Congress-led UPA government, Aadhaar provides a unique 12-digit identity number based on biometrics to every resident of India.

In September 2010, Ranjana Sonawane of Nandurbar district in Maharashtra became the first to get a unique ID under Aadhaar.
The Supreme Court’s refusal to modify its August 11 interim order and allow the use of Aadhaar for welfare schemes other than PDS and LPG schemes has put the spotlight back on the identification project. 

Ruhi Tewari and Utkarsh Anand explain

The initiative
Launched in 2009 as a pet project by the Congress-led UPA government, Aadhaar provides a unique 12-digit identity number based on biometrics to every resident of India. The idea was to make this number the basis of multiple schemes, initiatives and welfare programmes. On January 1, 2013, the UPA government launched the Direct Benefits Transfer scheme, which linked the transfer of benefits such as PDS and LPG to Aadhaar. While there was speculation about the fate of these schemes when the NDA government came to power, Prime Minister Narendra Modi moved to make Aadhaar the basis of several of his initiatives, including the Digital India initiative and services such as banking and telecom. However, the Supreme Court’s reluctance to allow the government to expand the scope of Aadhaar has come as a setback to the government.

Case in court
The first petition challenging the validity of Aadhaar was moved in the Supreme Court by K S Puttaswamy, a retired judge of the Karnataka High Court, who alleged there was no legal sanctity to the UID numbers since the National Identification Authority of India Bill was still pending in Parliament. The PIL said the collection of personal data by the government not only violated the citizen’s fundamental right to privacy, it was also an executive act in overreach of Parliament.

In December 2012, the court issued notices, seeking responses from the Centre, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and others. Subsequently, other similar petitions were bunched together.

The first interim order came in September 2013, when the apex court said no person shall be deprived of social benefit schemes for want of Aadhaar and that it cannot be made mandatory for the delivery of any services. The second interim order was issued on August 11 this year when the court said that Aadhaar will not be used by the authorities for purposes other than PDS and the LPG distribution system. It added that information collected so far would not be shared with any agency and that the government would give publicity in the media that it was not mandatory for a citizen to obtain Aadhaar. This three-judge bench also decided to refer the matter to a larger bench to dwell upon a constitutional question.

Privacy: Fundamental or not
The case was referred to the Constitution Bench since it involved the privacy debate. It has been alleged that the biometrics database collected by UIDAI was not secure since private agencies were involved in collecting the personal information of individuals without any supervision by the government or its pertinent wings. Further, it was argued that by collecting personal information and biometric data, the project violated the individual’s right to privacy.

The government has, however, questioned whether right to privacy is a fundamental right. It has accepted privacy to be a valuable right but has sought to dispute the petitions which have built their cases on the argument that Aadhaar violated the fundamental rights of citizens.

In 1954, an eight-judge bench ruled that the right to privacy cannot be a fundamental right but some judgments on the subject since the 1990s had noted that the right to privacy can be construed as a fundamental right subject to certain restrictions and circumstances. It is in these circumstances that the issue has been referred to a Constitution Bench.

Arguments, against and for
Besides concerns about privacy, opponents of Aadhaar have argued that instead of ensuring inclusion, it had become an instrument of exclusion by denying services to people who didn’t enroll for it or chose not to.

The government and UIDAI, meanwhile, say Aadhaar is the most widely held identity document in the country with around 92 crore people under it. Restricting its voluntary use, they argue, would mean a majority of the population will not be able to use it to access various social schemes. They say it will impact nearly 1 crore workers under MGNREGA, who use Aadhaar to withdraw their wages every month, and nearly 30,00,000 pensioners. Countering the privacy argument, UIDAI says the data captured is secure and encrypted right at the source and all biometrics are stored in the Government of India’s servers with “world class security standards”.