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.


Friday, January 8, 2016

9220 - Aadhaar comes to the rescue during Tamil Nadu floods - Live Mint

Last Modified: Mon, Dec 28 2015. 12 03 AM IST

Aadhaar comes to the rescue during Tamil Nadu floods

With banks and ATMs under water, people were able to draw cash from Aadhaar-enabled micro-ATMs


A file photo of a locality in Chennai during the floods. 

Floodwater and power cuts downed ATMs in flood-affected areas in the state and there was no way to load cash in the ones that were working. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: When heavy rains marooned large parts of Tamil Nadu, banking correspondents (BC) armed with Aadhaar-enabled micro-ATMs fanned out to help people retrieve cash from their bank accounts.

The flood swept away many belongings including the bank pass book, debit card and other identification documents of S. Sangeetha, 28, who lives in Anumandai village in Viluppuram district. “There was waist-high water; at least 10 houses in our village collapsed,” she said.

Bhuvneshwari, who lives in the same village and goes by only her first name, managed to save her debit card, but it got wet and could not be used again.

Neither of the two women could access their money, even though payments of work they had done under the government’s rural job guarantee scheme were lying in their accounts.

Banks were shut and automated teller machines (ATMs) stopped working in the flood-affected areas of Tamil Nadu, including metropolitan Chennai. Floodwater and power cuts downed ATMs and there was no way to load cash in the ones that were working.

The two women, like others in their village, used to depend on BCs for cash, since the nearest ATM is a few kilometers away. Both had run out of cash, and that is when a local BC attached with Indian Bank turned up. The BC’s micro-ATM uses fingerprints to authenticate users and it can be used to withdraw cash for accounts held at any bank.

Both women’s bank accounts were seeded, or linked, with Aadhaar, a unique number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). Fortunately, the BC had entered every customer’s Aadhaar number in a diary. “They usually do it so that the number is readily available with them as these are frequent customers,” said Swaminathan Periaswamy, chief executive officer, Commonwealth Inclusive Growth Services Ltd, the BC organization attached with Indian Bank. Tata Consultancy Services Ltd takes care of the technology part of the transaction, and the field activity is done by Commonwealth.
Both women could withdraw cash with Aadhaar’s fingerprint authentication.

“In such micro-ATMs, if a person can key in Aadhaar number and authenticate biometrics, it goes to the server of UIDAI which if authenticates the details of the person, it connects to the bank account of the person through Aadhaar Payments Bridge of the National Payment Corp. of India, and the transaction goes through,” said Dheeraj K. Janbandhu, assistant general manager, financial inclusion division, Indian Bank.
During 1-7 December, the worst-hit period of the flood, Indian Bank saw at least 12,000 withdrawals totalling Rs.4.16 crore through micro-ATMs across the flood-hit areas including Chennai, Cuddalore, Pondicherry, Vellore, Kancheepuram and Tiruvannamalai.

“The system has a cap of Rs.5,000 withdrawal per count per day as this ensures more people are serviced, since the BC has to carry physical cash,” said Janbandhu. Around 600 BCs were pressed into service in these areas.

Aparna, a BC, who uses only one name, stationed herself at the Koyambedu inter-state bus terminus.

“The bus stop was also flooded; so, the ATMs were down. There were a lot of people who wanted to leave Chennai but did not have cash to buy tickets,” she said. Aparna and five BCs who are part of a self-help group helped travelers withdraw money using debit cards or Aadhaar-based authentication.

Aadhaar, a UIDAI project to enrol all Indian citizens, runs on the basis of an executive order issued in 2009, and is not backed by law. On 11 August, the Supreme Court asked the government to widely publicise that Aadhaar is not mandatory for any welfare scheme after complaints that the government and its agencies were forcing individuals to enrol even though registration is supposed to be voluntary.

Following complaints that its biometrics-based identification poses a threat to individual privacy, the Supreme Court referred Aadhaar to a Constitutional bench. The government’s top law officer has told the Supreme Court that Indian citizens do not have a fundamental right to privacy.

In the meantime, the court has limited the use of Aadhaar to the public distribution system, distribution of cooking gas and kerosene, the rural jobs guarantee scheme, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, central and state government pensions and the Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme through two orders. The fate of several other government schemes such as digital certificates and a digilocker—which are built around on Aadhaar—too depend on the verdict.