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

9375 - Internet access has to be an open platform; it can't be a walled garden: Nandan Nilekani - Business Standard

Interview with Former UIDAI chairman; co-founder, Infosys
Bibhu Ranjan Mishra & Alnoor Peermohamed  |  Bengaluru 

February 16, 2016 Last Updated at 00:32 IS

After stepping down from the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), Nandan Nilekani has been advising several organisations - including National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and think tank iSpirt - on how to take the work he had done to the next level by building technology layers to solve many common problems. One such idea, the unified payment interface (UPI), expected to help the country become a cashless society, has just been launched by NPCI. In an exclusive interview with Bibhu Ranjan Mishra & Alnoor Peermohamed, he talks about moving towards a cashless economy and freedom of internet, among others. Edited excerpts:

After Aadhaar, you were highly optimistic about the disruption in the financial services space. Now, with the launch of the unified payment interface (UPI) by National Payment Corporation of India under your guidance, how is the segment expected to transform?

Once more and more people have unified payment interface (UPI)-compliant apps on their phones, more and more business correspondents (BCs) and merchants can open up to using UPI. You will have more outlets faster. For example, in a village if one has a device with a UPI-compliant app, one can transfer money from his/her account to the account of the BC who in turn can give out cash. So every merchant can become a BC. The model of BC would spread faster, and also cashless economy can spread much faster.

After UID, you have been evangelising the use of Aadhaar to disrupt the payments' space. When did the concept of UPI come to your mind?

We started having some conversation in this regard towards the end of our stint at UIDAI. NPCI had already built the immediate payment service (IMPS) system and it was a huge success. But IMPS was not meant for merchant transaction because that did not offer a good debit capability. It had more become a remittance product. After I stepped down (from UIDAI), I started spending more time on this. We also saw the growth in smartphone penetration in the country. So it all added up together.

While UPI will allow person to merchant, merchant to person, and person to person money transfer, it won’t enable transfers between non-bank wallets. Do you see there is a possibility of this, going forward?

As of now, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has allowed this (money transfer) only between banks. It’s up to the RBI if they want to further liberalise.

Do you see a possibility of large global internet companies using UPI?

UPI is an open platform and that's why it is so important that we make it popular. It's because we want payments to be open and not through any gatekeeper types of organisation.

You are one of the industry experts who are pioneering ‘India Stack’ — to build applications on the Application Programming Interface (API) which has been made open by the Government — for solving various issues that the country is facing. In what stage of journey it is now?

In ‘India Stack’, Aadhaar authentication and eKYC have already been rolled out and lots of people are using it. eSign also has been launched. Then the digital locker system needs to be launched with ecosystem approach which the Department of Electronics and IT is working on now. While the UPI has already launched, the other thing that is expected to get done this year is the 'consent architecture’ which would allow lenders to legally access the digital footprint of a potential borrower’s financial history. Good and Services Tax is expected to come up in next year or so. So, all these are work in progress.

Apart from financial inclusion through technology, you have been supporting freedom of internet. You were one of the critics of Facebook's Free Basics programme and termed it a 'walled garden'. Now, they have demolished both the wall and garden. In a country where internet penetration is still very low, how can it be universalised?

Obviously, internet access should become universal. There are many ways to do it. We had suggested doing it through direct benefits transfer for internet data packs. You can do it through Wi-Fi hotspots or free data. There are so many ways to do this. But it has to be an open platform. It can't be a walled garden.