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


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


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.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

9279 - Why converting DBT accounts to Jan Dhan is a win-win for both the bank and the consumer - First Post

Why converting DBT accounts to Jan Dhan is a win-win for both the bank and the consumer
by Dinesh Unnikrishnan  Jan 20, 2016 13:45 IST

Is your bank account, linked to Aadhaar, a Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) account? If yes, there are chances that soon it may get automatically converted into a Jan Dhan Yojana account packed with a slew of benefits. A government communication to country’s state-run banks, early this month, instructs the lenders to convert all DBT-accounts to Jan Dhan accounts.


An official with State Bank of India (SBI), who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed this development to Firstpost. “We have already begun the process of converting DBT accounts to Jan Dhan,” said the banker. The story was first reported by Indian Express on Tuesday.

For the government, mandatory conversion of all DBT accounts to Jan Dhan, would mean that the number of Jan Dhan accounts goes up substantially. At the last count, 20.19 crore accounts have been opened under the Jan Dhan scheme nationwide with total deposits of Rs 30,108 crore. India has a total of 22.74 crore DBT beneficiaries as on 31 March, 2015, of which 8.34 crore accounts have Aadhaar-seeded bank accounts.

This is also a logical progress for the Jan Dhan scheme, since one of the basic ideas of introducing Jan Dhan is to channel all government benefits to bank accounts directly and thus plug subsidy leakages. Presently, there are 36 schemes linked under the DBT through which government is transferring various benefits directly to beneficiaries.

The DBT regime kicked off first in January, 2013, during the UPA-regime and was re-launched by the NDA-government in January, 2015. It’s not clear how many of these accounts are Jan Dhan accounts since Jan Dhan was launched only in August, 2014 by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Every account was offered free Rupay debit cards, Rs 5,000 loan over draft and insurance and pension scheme facilities.

Of the 22 odd crore DBT beneficiaries in India, those who aren’t yet enrolled in Jan Dhan, would benefit when banks convert these accounts to Jan Dhan accounts since they will now get access to facilities such as loan overdraft and insurance facilities. Of the total DBT beneficiaries, nearly 4.7 crore are MGNREGA beneficiaries.

If properly implemented, mandatory conversion of all DBT accounts to Jan Dhan could address the issue of possible exclusion of the needy segment from the Jan Dhan outreach. One of the problems when Jan Dhan was rolled out was the rocket-speed implementation of the programme, which forced banks to distribute bank accounts to everyone despite concerns on duplication. In some cases, even those who received Jan Dhan accounts were not well informed the value added benefits of such accounts.

Payment banks
The expansion of Jan Dhan accounts to the low-income class couldn’t have come at a better time since the banking system is set to witness the entry of small finance banks and payments banks.

For payments banks in particular, it wouldn’t be difficult too reach out to the end-consumer in the far-flung areas of the country since many of them are also mobile service operators or have tie-ups with such operators, enabling them make use of the mobile platforms.

The good thing is everyone (or at least one person in the family) has a mobile phone even in rural areas, which can be used for basic banking services with the help of banking correspondents. Total number of mobile phone subscribers has reached 100 crore as on October 2015.

Jan Dhan accounts may not mean much to the average middle-class and wealthy but more to the lower-end of the pyramid (such as MGNREGA beneficiaries) who have very little cash flows in their bank accounts and can’t afford insurance, pension products otherwise.

For them, the Rs 5,000 loan overdraft facility is indeed a big amount. On the whole, it’s a win-win situation for both the DBT holder and the bank to convert such accounts to Jan Dhan accounts since regular cash flows by way of government scheme remittances are assured, hence the question of accounts remaining inoperative doesn’t arise.