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.


Sunday, October 11, 2015

8914 - "India is going through a technological disruption" - The Hindu

October 11, 2015

"India is going through a technological disruption"

Infosys co-founder and UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani. File photo: Rajeev Bhatt

Infosys co-founder and billionaire Nandan Nilekani is returning to the entrepreneurship field after a stint in politics. Mr. Nilekani, 60, who spearheaded the country’s massive unique identification project, this time will help other entrepreneurs to succeed by mentoring and investing in their startups. In an interview, Mr. Nilekani said that India is going through a technological disruption and a new breed of quality startups are emerging that are addressing unique problems in the country.

Edited excerpts:.

On changes in Indian startup ecosystem
I think, there are many changes. Certainly Bangalore, especially I live in Koramangala, it has a very vibrant startup community. I think, number one, you are seeing many many more startups, literally I see hundreds of startups. Second I think the quality also is very good. People are trying very diverse things, for example Mubble (mobile tech startup) is addressing a very particular unique issue which is that most smartphone users in India are very very conscious about the consumption of their minutes for voice and data, especially as they go into the data world. This Mubble is a product which exactly tells them what is the data consumption. I think these are all interesting problems that are being solved, so I am very excited what I am seeing.

On making angel investments
I am very selective, I don’t really do too many investments, I do help and mentor a lot of people, that is my way of giving back, I meet lot of companies just to brainstorm with them and discuss strategic issues. I have invested in Team Indus (space startup), Mubble and couple of others. When I find a company which that is particularly interesting and has an interesting business model, which is addressing a new area and where I can contribute strategically, then I will invest. I also work as a volunteer with iSpirt (a software product think tank), I find they are doing a great job in creating a volunteer ecosystem, I contribute there.

On his tech project ‘Ek Step’ aimed at honing children’s basic skills
We are launching the first version of the app and we are rolling it out in a pilot stage, I think we are learning a lot about how to deal with literacy, we find actually literacy is much more complex than numeracy, especially because of multi language requirement. We are learning a lot, we are working with Pratham (non-governmental education organisation trying to improve the quality of education in India), looking at launching their app in a digital fashion. We are working with Akshara Foundation in Bangalore, we are doing lot of work on Maths. We are still few months away from having a full fledged platform. It is moving well.

On excessive red tape forcing startups to move abroad
The SEBI Chairman (U.K. Sinha) has been very very responsive to this and I think iSpirt has also worked with him and came out set of streamlining, which is called as ‘List in India’ programme, that has happened recently. What has also happened is that lot of venture capitalists want the companies to list abroad. For them investment in Mauritius, Singapore is easier. But as the government is talking about ‘Startup India’, I know the SEBI Chairman is very responsive, so as they streamline things and by the way many companies are registering, it is not every one is going abroad.

On Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Silicon Valley and learning’s
What Silicon Valley shows us that you need to encourage risk taking and you don’t have to punish failure. You can fail and come back. It rewards diversity, merit and open society. I think beyond just the entrepreneurship, the fact that it creates such a liberal diverse society, we need to learn that also.

On Indian tech startups being bought at lesser price than global startups
It is difficult to tell what is the right valuation, but to me the important thing is that technology companies out of Bangalore or from India being bought by global companies, ZipDial was bought by Twitter and Little Eye Labs by (Facebook), there are many other cases. I think it is a good sign that people are developing very path breaking things here.

On innovation opportunities offered by Aadhaar platform and hackathons
Hackathons are conducted just to get more and more people to learn how to use Aadhaar APIs (application program interface) and learn how to build apps. When you bring a new capability like Aadhaar, it takes time for people to understand what it does and how it can be use and build a company. There is certain diffusion time, we are in that phase, I am very confident in the coming years, Aadhaar based companies and application will be numerous. Just like the internet with the GPS, ultimately became big platforms of innovation in the West, something similar will happen with Aadhaar in next few years.

On future plans of pursuing politics, technology
I feel my best contribution can come by leveraging my knowledge of technology, business, social activities. I think the change that I would like to see, I would do it through ‘Ek Step.’ I am an advisor to NPC (National Payments Corporation of India) on payment platform. We are working on this payment platform for interoperable mobile payments. All these things will make big contribution, that is how I would like to contribute.

On WhatsApp moment in the financial sector
The argument that everything is coming together, the technological disruption, Aadhaar, DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer) payment banks, small banks, Aadhaar based two factor authentication on smartphone with iris (scanners), IMPS (Immediate Payment Service) has been a great success in remittances. There are many things, they are all coming together and the mobile wallets, recharge. In all this, they hold Aadhaar stack. Aadhaar is not just authentication, it also provides eKYC (electronic Know Your Customer), digital lockers, digital signatures and this UPI (Unified Payments Interface). This entire stack allows you to completely reimagine a bank, that opportunity is open to the existing banks to reimagine the way they operate and is open to the new banks. I am not saying who is going to win or lose, I am just saying there is a certain period of disruption happening and it is up to individual players to take advantage.

On other initiatives
The bulk of the work is public service. I am on the board of IIHS (The Indian Institute for Human Settlements) which is trying to create a university, I am president of NCAER (National Council of Applied Economic Research), I work with iSpirt. I work on payments. I am enjoying a lot of these diverse activities.
Keywords: nfosys co-founder Nandan Nilekanitechnological disruption in India