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.

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

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.


Saturday, March 5, 2016

9369 - Editorial: A billion Aadhaars now - Financial Express

A revolution, brought about by the government!

By: The Financial Express | February 15, 2016 9:28 AM

Though governments are mostly reviled for the bad things they do, every once in while they do truly path-breaking work—the work done by the Atomic Energy Commission under Homi Bhabha, ISRO under Vikram Sarabhai, the Green Revolution under MS Swaminathan, Operation Flood under Verghese Kurien, NSE and NSDL under RH Patil and, more recently Aadhaar under Nandan Nilekani come to mind immediately. 

While Aadhaar, which is all set to hit the one-billion enrolment mark soon, is widely associated with transferring cash to citizens in place of subsidies—at least half of which get stolen along the way—the project is worth a lot more than the cash it will save, though that itself is considerable at well over a few lakh crore rupees each year. At the heart of the project was a philosophy to allow Indians to conduct their business in a paperless, cashless and presence-less fashion, and though a lot of that remains to be achieved, a solid beginning has already been made.

Since Aadhaar’s core—the de-duplication software that ensures there can be no two people in the database with the same biometrics—ensures a person’s identity is established beyond doubt, it is now possible to transact online without any fear of fraud, and that reduces costs, and therefore increases access dramatically. In the case of mutual funds, as Nilekani points out, the traditional requirement of a physical signature required a big network of agents for mutual funds and an acquisition cost of Rs 1,500 per client—this, in turn, meant an investor required a portfolio of Rs 3 lakh for the fund to break even and therefore just 3-4 million households could be targeted. If the cost came down to Rs 100, the break-even portfolio value would be Rs 20,000 and the number of target households would rise to 34 million; at Rs 10, which is the cost with an Aadhaar-based eKYC done online instead of the physical signature, the break-even is just Rs 2,000 which means 105 million households are potential buyers.

Digilocker, another Aadhaar-based app, has the potential to take the revolution much further since each government department can give citizens digitally signed documents—few departments are doing this right now, but the infrastructure has been put in place. Which means, eventually, individuals don’t have to keep any papers with them—a potential employer can be mailed a link to your school-leaving certificate in your Digilocker. Another Aadhaar-based app—there are 24 from private sector companies under the Aadhaar-bridge already—Novopay allows villagers to open bank accounts in kirana shops and, with 38,000 outlets already, will do Rs 800 crore of transactions this year itself. Around 62 crore transactions amounting to over Rs 20,000 crore have taken place since the launch of direct benefits transfer (DBT) by various government departments; over 2.3 crore people withdraw their MGNREGA wages/pension every month by using Aadhaar finger print authentication services—thanks to Aadhaar, Indians can now be fully mobile and have their benefits follow them wherever they go, something unthinkable even a few years ago. With the National Payments Corporation of India working on Aadhaar-linked money transfers, the necessity of having bank accounts also disappears. In the same way that Uber became a success riding upon the mobile, the internet and GPS—that is, on infrastructure already created—the Aadhaar infrastructure is ready for developers, both in the government and the private sector, to come up with new solutions. Which, of course, is why prime minister Narendra Modi agreed to support Aadhaar when he came to power though the BJP was against the project till before the elections.