Aadhaar

The UIDAI has taken two successive governments in India and the entire world for a ride. It identifies nothing. It is not unique. The entire UID data has never been verified and audited. The UID cannot be used for governance, financial databases or anything. It’s use is the biggest threat to national security since independence. – Anupam Saraph 2018

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 scholarUsha Ramanathandescribes 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

In the Supreme Court, Meenakshi Arora, one of the senior counsel in the case, compared it to living under a general, perpetual, nation-wide criminal warrant.

Had never thought of it that way, but living in the Aadhaar universe is like living in a prison. All of us are treated like criminals with barely any rights or recourse and gatekeepers have absolute power on you and your life.

Announcing the launch of the#BreakAadhaarChainscampaign, culminating with events in multiple cities on 12th Jan. This is the last opportunity to make your voice heard before the Supreme Court hearings start on 17th Jan 2018. In collaboration with @no2uidand@rozi_roti.

UIDAI's security seems to be founded on four time tested pillars of security idiocy

1) Denial

2) Issue fiats and point finger

3) Shoot messenger

4) Bury head in sand.

God Save India

Friday, December 11, 2015

9157 - Agricultural Subsidies: A Perfect Test Case For Modi’s JAM Strategy - Swarajya



Govt may have kissed goodbye to Rs 18,000 crore in farm subsidy leakages.

The Comptroller and Auditor General(CAG) has, in one of its recent reports, pointed out significant irregularities in the distribution of agricultural subsidies to the tune of Rs 50,000 crore. This has occurred across multiple states, and CAG says payments made to the tune of Rs 18,000 crore to farmers were difficult to ascertain. It was not sure if the full money way paid to farmers. In plain language, this means the money could have been stolen or given to unintended beneficiaries.

Farm subsidies are paid out through government-mandated minimum support prices (MSP). CAG found the leakages linked to millers and state government agencies who disperse the subsidies in one form or another.

An audit report of the CAG says-
A large number of deficiencies like non-authentication of land holdings of farmers, cases of payments to farmers with doubtful identity, non-obtaining MSP certificates, non-availability of details of farmers (bank account number, name of village, etc.) were noticed in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.

It would not be unreasonable to assume that a large portion of such subsidies ‘leak’ to unintended beneficiaries and middlemen. Subsidy leakage is not new to India. Consider the case of kerosene subsidies. Only 46 percent of subsidised kerosene is consumed by households that are below the poverty line. The situation is not different when it comes to fertiliser subsidies that cost nearly Rs 70,000 crore a year. According to informed observers, large quantities of fertilisers are smuggled to neighbouring countries or diverted to other industries. Back in 2008-09, a study pegged leakages at Rs 12,000-15,000 crore.

While the problem is well known, what is to be done about it?
The CAG report, which flagged the irregularities, also points out to the obvious solution: direct benefit transfers (DBT), as done in the case of LPG subsidies. The Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile (JAM) threesome can be used to identify and target subsidies by cutting out middlemen. JAM may not necessarily solve all the problems causing subsidy leakages but it can help with: (a) eliminating intermediaries (in this case millers of rice who play a role in disbursements), and (b) authentication of intended beneficiaries.

There is, however, one catch. The Supreme Court has said that subsidies cannot be denied to the poor just because they don’t have Aadhaar. This means Aadhaar cannot be made compulsory formally, but can only be pushed through covertly – to those who voluntarily choose to take it.

The best route is to pass a law providing privacy protection to Aadhaar members so that the objections to a wider rollout of the scheme are overcome. Till then, the DBT will limp along.