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


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.


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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

9334 - Can banks survive technology? - Economic Times


February 9, 2016, 7:41 AM IST Ravi Venkatesan in Musings | Economy, Edit Page, India | ET

In 1994, predicting that technology would transform even the stodgy banking sector protected by regulation and incumbency, Bill Gates had said, “We need banking, but we don’t need banks any more.” Globally, banks have, however, proven to be resilient. So, Gates’ quote was forgotten — until the recent frenzy over ‘fintech’ startups. A combination of technological advances, the pervasiveness of smartphones and venture capital-backed entrepreneurs is finally beginning to threaten opaque, multi-layered and transaction cost-laden financial systems.


In theory, depositors and borrowers will get more direct, more immediate and cheaper access to each other, cutting into the margins of the banks that are today in the middle. Just one digital settlement technology called Blockchain is estimated to save lenders more than $20 billion a year in costs. The big risk for traditional banks is not erosion of margins, but customers fleeing from them.

In India, the dynamics are even more interesting. The existence of foundational building blocks like Aadhaar and eKYC, financial inclusion programmes like the Jan Dhan Yojana, and techsavvy entrepreneurs may cause India to once again leapfrog the rest of the world to pole position. This poses a huge risk to India’s banking, still dominated by public sector banks (PSBs). Even the best PSBs in the world are struggling with this disruption. This is because banks are designed to be risk-averse with cultures that are unsuited to rapid change and unable to attract the best technological talent. In India, the challenge is profoundly greater as our PSBs are facing an existential crisis of weak balance-sheets and huge non-performing assets.

They are also hamstrung by the limitations of government ownership. Their only shield, regulation, is also coming down as the RBI is permitting the entry of new competitors. The risk for our PSBs is that they become sitting ducks as new competitors nibble away at their best customers and most lucrative part of their business. This could severely cripple the government’s priority sector lending ability and the nation’s development. Banks, however, shouldn’t be underestimated. Their greatest strength is their customer franchise and hardwon reputation for trustworthiness and stability.

Banks also have considerable expertise in regulatory compliance and risk management. Finally, banks have capital. They have the capacity to invest and the staying power to weather intense competition. It turns out that fintech startups and banks have exactly complimentary strengths. These new breed of companies are entrepreneurial, nimble and can attract the smartest minds. But they have a voracious appetite for capital as they grow. They also have yet to build strong brands based on trust, and they lack a sophisticated understanding of regulatory compliance and risk management. So, the most promising future scenario is partnerships and coopetition between the new disrupters and incumbent banks.

There are two responses to disruption today. One, to shut one’s eyes and hope the threat goes away — or at least materialises on someone else’s watch. Two, to blindly mimic what the startups are doing. Witness the number of banks offering mobile wallets, apps and building concept digital branches. The latter are necessary learning experiments, but far from sufficient. What could be more successful is a disciplined three-pronged approach. First, use technology to radically simplify the customer experience. Think Uber or Amazon and use them as benchmarks for simplicity. Second, get teams to work on radically simplifying and speeding up internal processes.
Think about a 95% reduction in the time to approve a loan or open a new account. When it comes to new business models, it is hard to predict what or who will succeed. The best approach may be corporate venturing, than in-house innovation, where banks get into strategic partnerships in promising startups, thereby creating valuable options for the future. It is famously said that culture trumps strategy. This is never more true than in the conservative world of banking. So, executing such strategies, while conceptually simple, poses a severe cultural challenge.

Banks will have to find a creative way to create an organisationally distinct unit that has the ability to bring in outside talent where essential, free from the constraints of the procurement process and with the mindset and ability to partner with startups. For this, strong personal leadership from the CEO and unambiguous support from the board becomes imperative. It is crucial that the RBI and the finance ministry support the creation of such ambidextrous structures by at least a few of the largest PSBs.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author's own.