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, February 2, 2016

9250 - Spread this JAM thick and wide - Hindu Businessline


MATHEW TITUS

   Not too loaded To check the balance Ch Vijaya Bhaskar

Jann Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile can revolutionise service delivery, provided the technological details are attended to

It is important that we move towards a more granular understanding of programmes such as Jan Dhan and Aadhaar in their utility to India’s transformation. Getting any intervention to scale, without reinforcing efficiency, can jeopardise its future. JAM brings together three fundamentally different interventions — Jan Dhan, Aadhaar, and Mobile (JAM) — to deliver value to the citizens of the country, especially the poor. Potentially, JAM can also serve as the basis for continuous engagement of the beneficiary household with the bank, and even consequently with the government. However, translating that potential requires attention to the underlying comparative advantages of each of the interventions that constitute JAM.

Wide scope
The specifics of each of the triumvirate of programmes are staggering. Under the Jan Dhan programme, by December 2016, some 200 million accounts had been opened, with some ₹28,000 crore ($4.5 billion) spread over 65 per cent of the accounts. Aadhaar, which is the unique number for all residents, has covered 900 million residents and counting. Some 80 million Jan-Dhan accounts have been seeded with Aadhaar numbers, and more are in the process. Mobile phones, too, have become fairly ubiquitous; estimates point to 900 million connections and 500 million subscribers, of which 250 million have some form of internet connection.

Clearly, the potential of this combination of instruments is vast and will be limited only by the failure to build significant bridges that enable their orchestration. While public policy has clearly recognised their potential, the challenge really lies in addressing the complexity that arises from the integration of these very large interventions.

Starting with Jan Dhan, the focus of the programme should be on standardisation of the behaviour of agents, primarily through training and better communication of product and service attributes. Clear norms for customer protection overseen by appropriate organisations need to be matched with innovative supervision that complements a broad regulatory framework that does not drive the cost of compliance high for these transactions.

Demand-side issues
While these assumptions can be fleshed out on the supply side, the more embedded and difficult to appreciate transition is on the demand side. This is because the same financial services affect clients differently because of the following three factors:
1. Their experience of having lost money because of complex procedures, principal agent problems, or fraud.
2. Skill level and understanding of the service and its different components by customers vary given India’s great diversity.
3. Finally, resources that different firms can capture and its allocation to enhancing service could affect competition in this field. Getting a level playing field for all customers will go a long way in building customer confidence leading to greater engagement with banks.
For Aadhaar to become a widespread idiom of usage, more attention will have to be paid to the customer side. Should we want Aadhaar to succeed we will need to ensure increasing utility, without the fear of misuse by the state. Before we go on to examine its contribution even to transfer of benefits, we need to begin by studying customer experience in relation to recourse mechanisms that are Aadhaar-related.
More specifically, we will need an examination of how many of those receiving benefits have been able to make corrections or have made corrections, should they require a change. A measure of this will be the flexibility that Aadhaar will provide in customers choosing how to receive their benefits. Examples would include the flexibility that customers using Aadhaar and Jan Dhan should get in being able to change their agents, their bank accounts or the way they want to receive benefits.
Finally, getting the mobile to be the channel of use will require much more than robust technology. With nearly 900 million connections and 500 million subscribers, the mobile does offer a unique channel to reach individuals. Most programmes or interventions are focussed on getting information to people for a range of purposes; the most significant of these have been the second-factor authentication in transactions and the bank balance updates that follow transactions taking place within a bank account or a card. While these have been useful to engage with the citizen/client, the question is, will it become the channel also of full-fledged financial transactions and service delivery?
Much of the current debate rests on the optimistic rate of growth of smartphones and its users — at present, some 177 million of them and growing at 20 per cent annually. However, the migration to using the mobile for financial transactions or mobile banking has been much slower and that is what perhaps needs attention. There are two components attending to this debate. First is the technology option and second is the customer protection issue.

Upping the techo side
On the technology side, much more can be done to use the existing SIM-based mobile phone to undertake and assist transactions. The way content is transferred manually on to these phones to enjoy “proxy” internet experience is an existing example. Similarly, efforts to enable transactions have to be made. Individual components of financial transactions already exist — pass books in SMS form for example. Putting these components together is what is required and government has to be more decisive in leading this, rather than leaving it to the market. Secondly, much more effort needs to go into using a range of organisations to spread awareness and undertake supervision of transactions and agents than exist at present. Clearly the banks have limited capability to deliver on awareness and supervision of agents. This is a very wide field that requires government intervention if we have to in any way expect financial deepening of these services.
The disruptive potential of the JAM integration is huge. The question is, are we adopting the right approaches in making the cumulative benefit available to citizens, especially the poor? These are overall execution disciplines and not issues of technology. JAM’s success will depend on the right approach.
The writer is with The Market and EcoSystem Advisory
(This article was published on January 8, 2016)