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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Saturday, March 5, 2016

9372 - #dnaEdit: Aadhaar’s bad luck - DNA


Tue, 16 Feb 2016-06:40am , dna

The reported plan to introduce the Aadhaar legislation as a money bill does disservice to its potential for use in welfare schemes

The Centre’s plan to introduce a legislation to provide statutory backing to the disbursal of central subsidies through the Aadhaar Unique Identification (UID) project is welcome. However, it has been reported that the government is planning to introduce the legislation as a money bill, so that the Rajya Sabha, where the Opposition commands a majority, cannot block it. This is ill-conceived and may not withstand judicial scrutiny. While there have been two recent instances of the black money and the bankruptcy code legislations being introduced as money bills, the implications of the UID project are much bigger. A thorough discussion by both houses of Parliament will only help iron out the weaknesses in the Bill and ensure it passes legal scrutiny.

The Modi government has come up with the catchy acronym JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhaar, Mobile Governance) to plug leakages and speed up the delivery of payments related to central welfare schemes worth nearly Rs3.5 lakh crore. Though over 90 crore persons have already been enrolled in the UID project, the failure to ensure statutory backing has hurt its rollout in cash transfer schemes. With concerns about privacy violations and its possible use for intrusive purposes unlike welfare schemes, Aadhaar has come under the Supreme Court’s scanner. 

Currently, the Supreme Court’s interim order on Aadhaar usage restricts it to identifying beneficiaries of the public distribution system (PDS) and transferring subsidies on cooking gas and kerosene. As a result, ambitious plans to use Aadhaar for biometric attendance, Jan Dhan Yojana, pension payments, scholarships, MGNREGA wage disbursals, and operating payment banks, which were finalised, are being held in abeyance.

The legislation which has reportedly been titled the Aadhaar (Delivery of Benefits, Subsidies and Services) Bill 2016 will have to ensure that the twin imperatives of privacy and data security are upheld. For the government, it is also an opportunity to convey the impression that it has not lost its reformist zeal. The Jan Dhan Yojana has been successful in meeting its financial inclusion goal by roping in more people into the banking structure. But a large number of zero balance accounts opened under JDY are not showing signs of activity thus robbing the scheme of any meaningful utility for the beneficiaries. But by tying the bank accounts to the Aadhaar UID number and the mobile phone number, the Centre is on the cusp of entering a revolutionary phase where cash transfers become the norm.


The Aadhaar UID number will help in identifying the beneficiary while the mobile number will help in alerting the beneficiary about deposits to the account. Currently, there is no way to account for the leakages at the grass-roots level where fake muster rolls and ration cards are being used to divert MGNREGA funds and food grains allocation. Similarly, payment banks can use Aadhaar and mobile numbers to validate payments thus helping to drive more financial transactions to digital platforms. Despite the benefits that Aadhaar entails, the central government has repeatedly made a mess of ensuring its orderly rollout. The Opposition is certain to see political motives in certifying the legislations as a money bill. The Centre should attempt to build political consensus over Aadhaar, a UPA-era project, rather than provoke the Opposition to mindlessly raise reservations.