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

9302 - Editorial: The coming PDS reforms - Financial Express

Most ration shops in AP do Aadhaar-authentication.
By: The Financial Express | February 1, 2016 8:56 AM

All ration cards in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have been seeded with Aadhaar, but the progress in Uttar Pradesh is a poor 20%. (Reuters)

Though the progress on using direct benefits transfer (DBT) to give cash to those buying food in ration shops in the public distribution system (PDS) is still limited—mainly LPG subsidies flow through DBT—there has been progress in eliminating fake users in ration shops, though this is limited to a handful of states so far. Going by the progress, within a year or so, the government may well be able to boast of the kind of savings the prime minister talked of in the case of LPG subsidies—in his Independence-Day speech, he spoke of saving R15,000 crore a year by weeding out fake customers. The savings are to take place at three levels—by cutting out theft as the grain moves from FCI godowns to ration shops, by weeding out fake ration cards and by ensuring that all those with genuine ration cards get all the rations due to them.

A total of 11 states have, so far, automated their supply-chain. This does not yet include the populous state of Uttar Pradesh—Bihar, though, has implemented this. Almost 40% of all ration cards have been seeded with Aadhaar numbers which means that, as far as these cards are concerned, there are no fake users. All ration cards in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have been seeded with Aadhaar, but the progress in Uttar Pradesh is a poor 20%. The advantage of this is that, in the process of the Aadhaar seeding itself, a large number of fake users get removed. In the case of Andhra Pradesh, for instance, while there were 4.53 crore ration card users before the seeding was done, this fell to 3.86 crore after the seeding; for Telangana, the number fell from 3.08 crore to 2.82 crore and from 0.96 crore to 0.70 crore in the case of Delhi. In states like Andhra Pradesh, this has been taken even further by giving each ration shop a point of sale (PoS) device where, when the ration is taken, the PoS device captures the buyers’ biometrics and verifies them online with the Aadhaar database to ensure the person at the ration shop is the same individual in whose name the ration card has been issued or a member of his/her family. While there is a possibility that the number of users may further fall with this second level of check, the most important thing is that once this is fully done, there will be no diversion of grain. At a national level, the progress is very poor at just 13%—once again, Andhra Pradesh is at the top with nearly all its ration shops equipped with PoS devices. What is heartening, however, is that once the Aadhaar seeding is done, ensuring each ration shop has a PoS device is relatively simple. This is one big reform the Modi government can justifiably be proud of, and the Congress can feel satisfied that it set the ball in motion.

First Published on February 1, 2016 1:14 am