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.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

9190 - FeDigitalDividend: Digitization making income tax payers’ life easier - Financial Express


With the whole process of I-T return filing, to refunds, and even handling of tax notices now possible online, dealing with the Income Tax Department has become much easier now.
By: Santosh Tiwari | December 18, 2015 9:35 PM

Thanks to the rapid digitization of the whole process, the Income Tax Department has now launched the ‘e-Sahyog’ project, which does away with the need for the tax payer to physically appear before tax authorities unless there is a serious tax evasion case which requires physical scrutiny. (Thinkstock)

From a modest figure of just 3.62 lakh income tax (I-T) returns filed electronically in 2006-07, which was mere one per cent of the total returns filed that year, the number reached close to 3.42 crore in 2014-15 and it has surpassed 2.88 crore in the current financial year already (http://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in/).

This clearly signals an end of the cumbersome paper returns era, and has not only helped the Income Tax Department in simplifying the administration of the return filing and assessment process, but has also made the life of the tax payers much easier as compared to what it was a few years back, when people dreaded the income tax notices.
Thanks to the rapid digitization of the whole process, the Income Tax Department has now launched the ‘e-Sahyog’ project, which does away with the need for the tax payer to physically appear before tax authorities unless there is a serious tax evasion case which requires physical scrutiny.

According to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), “The objective of “e-Sahyog” is to provide an online mechanism to resolve mismatches in I-T returns of those assesses whose returns have been selected for scrutiny, without visiting the Income Tax Office. Under this initiative the Department will provide an end to end e-service using SMS, e-mails to inform the tax assesses of the mismatch”.

The tax payers simply need to visit the e-filing portal and log in with their user-ID and password to view mismatch related information and submit online response — the responses will be processed and if found satisfactory as per automated closure rules, the issue will be treated as closed, and the tax payers can check the updated status online.
While this move is slated to take the unnecessary harassments out of the scrutiny process, the extended use of digital platform to link Aadhaar with the I-T returns is helping the department expedite the refund process by quick and assured identification of the tax payers.
The newly introduced e-verification of I-T returns for the Assessment year 2015-16 has already resulted in linking of 3863223 Permanent Account Numbers (PAN) to Aadhaar and e-verification of 4677358 returns through bank accounts.
So, starting from the payment of taxes to filing of returns, exchange of assessment-related information between the tax payer and the taxman, even refunds or scrutiny, everything can be done online today.
Once there is an extensive linkage of PAN to Aadhaar going forward, the need for any physical interface between the tax payers and the Income Tax Department will completely vanish in a majority of the cases.
Clearly, digitization has brought in the changes in the tax payer services in the last few years that were perceived to be the difficult ones for a long time.
(Keep looking at this space for more examples of this kind on how digital solutions are transforming administration and governance in the country. If you have any of these and want to share it with us, mail it to feonline@expressindia.com).


First Published on December 18, 2015 9:20 pm