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.

Friday, February 12, 2016

9340 - Cable can link 50 crore to Web: TRAI chief - The Hindu

NEW DELHI, February 10, 2016

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India chairman Ram Sewak Sharma on Tuesday suggested that the government tap alternatives such as cable TV networks to provide digital connectivity, instead of banking on optic fibre cable networks and mobile phones.

The proposal is important as the rollout of the ambitious National Optic Fibre Network, rebranded as BharatNet by the NDA government, is mired in delays. The lack of adequate connectivity could undermine the potential advantages from transformational programmes like Aadhaar that gave people a digital identity proof authenticated online in real time, Mr. Sharma told the India Digital summit here. “It would be a pity if connectivity doesn’t support the applications of tomorrow’s system,” he said.

While India had a billion mobile phones, Mr. Sharma said that digital transactions were not possible unless connectivity improved.

“Pipelines need to be made thicker and we should explore alternative models for connectivity besides mobiles,” Mr. Sharma said.

The ambitious National Optic Fibre Network, rebranded as BharatNet by the NDA government, aims to provide broadband connectivity to 2.5 lakh village panchayats at a cost of Rs. 1,09,000 crore.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India chairman Ram Sewak Sharma’s suggestion to the government to consider alternatives for providing digital connectivity was first made to the government a couple of months ago.

The lack of adequate connectivity could undermine the potential advantages of transformational programmes such as Aadhaar that gave people a digital identity proof that could be authenticated online in real-time, Mr. Sharma told the India Digital Summit here on Tuesday. “It would be a pity if connectivity doesn’t support the applications of tomorrow’s system.”

“Pipelines need to be made thicker and we should explore alternative models for connectivity besides mobiles. We have been brainstorming over this,” Mr. Sharma said.

“Can we use cable TV networks to connect? Technologically, it is possible though they may need an upgrade. There are 100 million homes with cable TV and those pipes can deliver up to 10 Mb per second speeds with assured connectivity,” he pointed out.
Assuming 5 persons per household, the telecom regulator said that would connect 50 crore people to the Internet and reduce the load on wireless spectrum.
“We have recommended this to the government a couple of months ago and reiterated it again,” he said, adding the regulator was working with the telecom department on the issue.
PTI adds:

Disappointing, says Zuckerberg
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has expressed disappointment with Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s decision to back Net Neutrality saying this restricts programmes of his and other organisations that provide free access to data.
However, the 31-year-old said he would not give up on breaking down connectivity barriers in India which he described as an important goal for his company.

Keywords: Telecom Regulatory Authority of IndiaTRAInet neutrality