The UIDAI has taken two successive governments in India and the entire world for a ride. It identifies nothing. It is not unique. The entire UID data has never been verified and audited. The UID cannot be used for governance, financial databases or anything. It’s use is the biggest threat to national security since independence. – Anupam Saraph 2018

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 scholarUsha Ramanathandescribes 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

In the Supreme Court, Meenakshi Arora, one of the senior counsel in the case, compared it to living under a general, perpetual, nation-wide criminal warrant.

Had never thought of it that way, but living in the Aadhaar universe is like living in a prison. All of us are treated like criminals with barely any rights or recourse and gatekeepers have absolute power on you and your life.

Announcing the launch of the#BreakAadhaarChainscampaign, culminating with events in multiple cities on 12th Jan. This is the last opportunity to make your voice heard before the Supreme Court hearings start on 17th Jan 2018. In collaboration with @no2uidand@rozi_roti.

UIDAI's security seems to be founded on four time tested pillars of security idiocy

1) Denial

2) Issue fiats and point finger

3) Shoot messenger

4) Bury head in sand.

God Save India

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

9293 - Underperformance is not an option - Hindy Businessline


No more chalta hai. India must get out of the comfort zone of mediocrity if it is to deliver on its growth-targeted ambitions

I for one have not fallen prey to the gloom that surfaces from time to time. It is worth appreciating that the intentions of the Centre and the course chosen by it stay true to the development and livelihood-led aspirations of millions.

But the enormity of the task demands that we frequently assess the status and lend support through constructive suggestions.
Available data or arguments soothe us into ‘satisfactory’ comfort zones, but we also have data — be they business or financial performance pains or lack of creation of meaningful and sustainable livelihoods — of simultaneous ‘underperformance’ zones.

Charting the path
In the year 2000, Sumantra Ghoshal and other experts conceptualised a phenomenon they termed “satisfactory underperformance”. Ghoshal argued that this trend is pervasive in India and gets embedded in the culture and, consequently, in organisations and systems. This entrenchment is one rational explanation why the efforts are not delivering results at the speed we desire or need.

Since the Budget is around the corner, many writers have articulated the need for a “bigger bang”. But I also reason that the Budget by itself is not the comprehensive instrument through which all elements addressing strategy and implementation are addressed. However, the Budget speech can be made significant in charting the path ahead in terms of revenues, investments, spending and fiscal administration.
So we must keenly await articulation of a wide-ranging but grounded action plan that businesses and citizens can reasonably look forward to, covering the next 3 to 5 years. I throw in some ideas.

Some ideas
One possible structured presentation is by way of outlining sectors likely to attract investments — from government, private business or FDI — and estimate the resulting creation of livelihoods by the sector over the next 3 to 5 years.
In short, find a good way to connect fiscal thought and plans to employment in the mind of the average listener, at the same time set up internal metrics linking job creation to investment.
Can we think of suo motu issue of PAN cards to Aadhaar holders (92 per cent of the population)? No liability for tax or filing of returns is suggested, but why not regard such an exercise as a parallel to creating zero balance accounts, and see what the future holds?

Can we substitute the usual incremental expenditure budgeting by zero-base budgeting for material government spending (going beyond expenditure commissions or the like)? India will soon be left with no option but to find ways to protect its industrial base from external onslaught without violating international obligations. Without being protectionist in principle, we have to find ways to shield local manufacturers in key industries, whether through tariff or non-tariff barriers. This budget is now the twilight opportunity.

Of confidence and logic
Despite many positives around us, average citizens are hard-pressed to recognise where and how their lives have improved compared to, say, five years ago. Are small businessmen excited about where they are going? Is the average housewife happy, even if inflation is generally under greater control? Are consumers exhibiting confidence in their own earning stability that allows them to spend while making long-term commitments? Is the next generation on farms clear about whether agriculture will keep them afloat in the coming decade?
Citizens’ faith in the present is essential to building trust. People are seeking real answers beyond policy and perception. Therefore, the more factually reinforced the message, the better will be the outcome in building confidence.

How does one address the inherent concerns of business investors? If one has to wait until the ‘ease of doing business’ numbers published by international agencies look good, it may be too late to achieve meaningful outcomes in the next 3to 5 years (investments take a few years to deliver). The strong signal that the Centre is very serious is necessary but not sufficient to push investment. Intent has to be backed by demonstrable outcomes.

Meanwhile stronger messages from the top will only help drive positivity. In my opinion, there is great merit in Sunil Mittal’s statement from Davos that just the way the Prime Minister promotes India’s economic interests before foreign business, it is time to collect 100 top, committed entrepreneurs and encourage them with his full backing to find solutions to systemic difficulties in their operating environment.
Let us not forget many of these people are those who remained invested in an India growing at the “Hindu rate of growth”, minus ‘ease of doing business’, with ‘old infrastructure’ and for entirely non-mercenary reasons.

New initiatives have both signalling and long-term value. Since the government took charge, there has been a need to seek out both short-term hits and long-term fixes. We have leveraged good fortune (for example, oil prices) to our aggregate economic favour, handled hazards quite well (poor monsoons, inflation risks), and triggered long-term fixes (hygiene, financial inclusion).
Now is the time to deliver short-term hits that improve both real and optical delivery to the people at large. The logical option is to find ways of putting more money into the hands of people and to make sure that infrastructural spending by the state produces new employment.

Hard choices
All of this at this stage of our economy may ultimately go against the prevalent thinking of adhering to internationally expected targets on fiscal matters, but we must decide our own course.
We cannot simultaneously be the global darling “because we have growth” and financially an outcast “due to fiscal numbers”. But revenues from an expanding economy will correct this.
Satisfactory underperformance is a more dangerous illness than is apparent. That we have no choice but to rely on a notorious, creaky implementation machine that developed over decades is obvious. But we have not built a healthy paranoia that allows us to execute stretched targets and pushes our decision-making and monitoring processes out of the comfort zone.
The steps taken so far to break familiarity and kill unhealthy habits must go a long way beyond eliminating entrenched interests. The new India requires more evolved solutions.
This column explores ideas and opinions on Indian enterprise and the economy. The writer is an entrepreneur and former president of Ficci. The views are personal

(This article was published on January 26, 2016)