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


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


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, November 29, 2015

9084 - Andhra Pradesh takes digital route to ensure transparency in ration distribution - Live Mint

Last Modified: Fri, Nov 20 2015. 01 28 AM IST

Using biometric authentication linked to Aadhaar, state hopes to weed out duplicate ration card holders

Hyderabad: A year ago in East Godavari district, when the Andhra Pradesh government decided to go hi-tech in distributing essential commodities to low-income consumers, it wasn’t an easy task.

The project it undertook then was to digitize the targeted public distribution system, from tracking the stocks that reach the fair price shops to how much quantity a consumer has bought.

The department of civil supplies had to combat the clear hesitation on behalf of the ration shop dealers alongside the inability of consumers to understand how digital things work.

Now, in all the 13 districts of Andhra Pradesh, people who rely on ration card supplies to cook daily meals, can access their allotted rice, sugar, daal and wheat flour with an assurance of transparency.

The government too on its part hopes to save at least Rs.1,000 crore every year on subsidies as it weeded out the non-existent or duplicate users by linking the ration cards to Aadhaar cards.
“Earlier, there were complaints from consumers that they were being cheated when it comes to the weight of the commodities. Also, irregular shop timings, travel involved in reaching the allotted fair price shop along with poor cooperation of the dealer were noticed,” said G. Jayalakshmi, commissioner of the consumer affairs, food and civil supplies department of the state government.

“Now with the end-to-end digitization, all a consumer has to do is walk to the nearest fair price shop. Through biometric authentication linked with Aadhaar (unique identity number), they can collect commodities which are weighed digitally. All the information is fed in our system which can be tracked anytime and does not leave any scope for pilfering,” she said.

In October, the project completed digitizing around 28,000 shops and 12.9 million ration card beneficiaries. In the next one month, the remaining 340 shops, which are not included because of technical lags, will be brought under the digital ambit.

The Rs.200 crore computerization project involved taking the ration card data online through Aadhaar seeding as the first step. In doing so, the government found that 850,000 users were what it calls fake or duplicate. The fair price shops were then equipped with e-point of sale (e-pos) devices and electronic weighing machines. The e-pos device has stored in it fingerprints of all family members of the ration card.

There is also the e-PDS portal, where all information related to ration cards are placed and there’s an app for shop dealers, which is used by them to check information on details like stock allotted and received opening and closing balance. To track the supply chain management, the government’s National Informatics Centre has developed software for the state.
This software captures information like allotment by the commissioner of civil supplies, generation of release orders and dispatches to the ration shops. Dispatches too are done through biometric authentication of dealers by route officers. The vehicles are tracked through GPS and GPRS tracking systems to bring transparency in this segment as well. To be sure, there are 670 vehicles under it so far and not all have the tracking system.

The state government supplies around 2.2 million tonnes of rice every year for Rs.1 per kg, apart from other commodities. While the digitization project seems to have addressed all aspects of taking work online and increase convenience and transparency, the department agrees that there still is scope for improvement. More so in removing risks linked to failure in authentication.
Admitting that there have been some initial loopholes, the department is now working on fixing them. “Sometimes finger authentication fails because of the nature of work that daily wage labourers are involved in. We have introduced iris authentication system in all shops now. Also there are times when the data server and the UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) server is down. We are now looking at strengthening the network or take it offline where it is not possible to do so,” said G. Ravi Babu, director of civil supplies, Andhra Pradesh government.

In case digital authentication fails, the consumers would have to reach the village level officer for physical authentication.
“Digitization through Aadhaar is causing more exclusion than inclusion. There is scope for a host of flaws in this system be it administrative or technical issues. In fact, in a social audit we conducted, there were quite a number of beneficiaries who were left out because of biometric finger mismatch. This does not mean that they are fake. The system for redressal to tackle such issues is also not in place. In a rush to prove that we have achieved end-to-end digitization, the government cannot ignore that technology has its own limitations which cannot be ignored,” said a government official from the rural development department of the state government who declined to be named.

Mint has a strategic partnership with the Digital Empowerment Foundation, which hosts the Manthan and mBillionth awards.