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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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

9167 - The Aadhaar of a Unique Idea - The New Indian Express

By TSR Subramanian
Published: 12th December 2015 10:00 PM



The Aadhaar card is an idea which has come to stay in India. 

Already more than 70 crore Indians have Aadhaar identity, a remarkable achievement within a span of three to four years; as noteworthy as the spread of mobile telephony within one decade to the remotest part of India. The book by Nandan Nilekani and Viral Shah essentially relives the vicissitudes of creation of this Unique Identity programme; having outlived the original doubts, sharp opposition from the Home Ministry (then led by the redoubtable P Chidambaram, who was gunning for the Home Ministry’s alternate rival version card), groups questioning the feasibility of the programme as also the possibility of national sabotage though ‘sensitive’ population information reaching the wrong hands. Aadhaar has survived all these; the final victory being seal of approval by the Modi government. The authors have relived the roles played by many individuals and institutions, as well as the inevitable crises, dog-fights, road-blocks and scepticism en-route; surely with much delicate chest-thumping, no doubt deserved!

Rajiv Gandhi had once said that in all development programmes, only 16 per cent of the pay-load reaches the ultimate rural beneficiary; the distribution pipeline is highly faulty, politicised and reeking of corruption.

The Unique Identity, if properly used, can be a major vehicle for cleaning up the ‘payments’ system, to reach money or services to intended beneficiaries with minimal leakage, at least cost. Thus, as the Digital India Programme takes off, the impact on issues such as KYC (Know Your Customer), banking facilities in every part of India, micro-financing of small, tiny and atomic sector (which are now out of reach of formal financial institutions and are prey to private money lenders), and finally bringing a near-total cash economy to banking channels can all contribute significantly to system efficiency. Aadhaar is poised to be a key element in the success of the ambitious Digital India Programme, aggressively pursued by the government, which has potential to reach the 3,50,000 panchayats of the country, bridging the urban-rural divide. The Unique Identity is an important cog in this wheel.

Advances in technology need interlocking and converging forward movement in different fields to manifest itself. Indeed the Unique Card idea was proposed formally by many sources as early as the early 90s. But its time had not come, as the other supporting technologies had not arrived on the ground in India. One recalls that as early as the late 90s, the technology was available, the decision was taken and money allotted for commencement of a massive programme for computerising land-records, starting in two states—till date this has still not succeeded, due to major opposition, and vested interests of local authorities and petty politicians who stand to gain by keeping the rural land ownership scene confused and complicated. Indeed, Chandrababu Naidu started computerising urban land records to lead to seamless transparent urban land transactions, starting in Hyderabad and a number of other Andhra towns; even after two decades this is not a reality in most towns and cities in India. Technology per se is only a tool. It is not the final objective; the atmosphere for its application is essential.

Unique Identity is not a new concept in the world. The social service number concept of the US and other similar programmes in many countries, including Switzerland, are decades old. The Nilekani/Shah narrative sharply brings out the salient features of adapting technologies used in other countries to serve in Indian conditions. India in many ways is unique—many economists transplant foreign ideas into Indian soil, without appropriate modification to meet Indian requirements. 

The Aadhaar success story brings out clearly the lesson that every good idea cannot be automatically borrowed in India.
The authors have indulged in airy-fairy high-flown plans for nearly every sector of the economy: revamping education, reaching power to rural areas, bringing public health to the common man. These ideas have been floating for decades; they are also technological feasible. Nilekani and Shah have not said anything new here—technology is not enough, the system and the politics and culture have to accept change. One need not see too much in this book, except an account of a successful journey well planned for many decades, but whose time to succeed has arrived.