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.

Friday, December 4, 2015

9128 - Nilekani @ 60: Getting set for yet another innings - Indian Express

 By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Published:December 2, 2015 1:09 am

Nandan Nilekani

Nandan Nilekani needs no more awards to feel his lifetime’s work has been appreciated — he’s won a bunch of them and must treasure, above all, the Joseph Schumpeter Prize that was awarded to him in 2005 for innovative services in economy, economic sciences in politics.

That recognition was particularly prescient as just a few years thereafter, in 2009, Nilekani joined the government as chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India to spearhead an initiative that someone rightly described as “biggest social project on the planet”. The idea was to provide every Indian citizen with a social security number and proof of identity that would forever change the way they accessed cash or services.

The Aadhaar project allows the government to pursue social welfare scheme more efficiently and save the exchequer thousands of crores that would otherwise have found their way into the wrong hands. That it has turned out to be a stunning success — netting some 910 million people – and has all top regulators in the country — the Reserve Bank, Securities and Exchange Board of India, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India — batting for it, despite the Supreme Court’s refusal to make it mandatory, is testimony to Nilekani’s brilliant thinking and ability to execute.

The programme has had its share of detractors but as this paper has pointed out, the invasion of privacy argument doesn’t hold because although Aadhaar is a database of biometrics, it cannot be used to construct a profile of an individual.
For his outstanding contribution to the IT industry and for creating Aadhaar, Nilekani takes home the Express IT Awards Lifetime Achievement Award, 2015.

For anyone to make a big success of even one career is creditable – helping build and lead a company like Infosys is in itself an admirable achievement. But Nilekani has done it twice over with Aadhaar and with a bit of luck could pull it off a third time.

The small-town boy from Dharwad may not yet have all the levers he needs – a position in government or a mandate from the people – to launch another scheme like Aadhaar. But that is unlikely to stop him from trying to transform lives and livelihoods. At 60, Nilekani has the energy, experience and enterprise to take on a project and make it succeed.

As he says, his wealth lies not in his bank balance but in his experience as co-founder of Infosys and Aadhaar chairman where he delivered more than he had promised. And he’s generous with both – between mentoring start-ups, helping out with EkStep and advising the National Payments Corporation of India where they’re working on a payments platform for interoperable mobile payments, Nilekani’s more than busy. As he says, he can contribute best by leveraging his knowledge of technology, business and social activity. EkStep is particularly close to his heart. “I think the change that I would like to see, I would do it through ‘EkStep’,” he said in a recent interview. Going by his track record, Nilekani’s ideas could once again bring about a change of unimaginable magnitude, this time bettering the lives of hundreds of children across the country.