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.

Monday, March 7, 2016

9423 - Aadhaar Bill to ensure privacy protection - Business Standard

Govt to present legislation in the Lok Sabha today
Archis Mohan  |  New Delhi 
March 3, 2016 Last Updated at 00:58 IST

The government could introduce a regulatory framework to ensure that the biometric details of citizens it collects is kept discreet and used only to generate Aadhaar numbers or authenticate them.

The Aadhaar Bill, which could be introduced in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, is likely to introduce this regulatory framework. It could also to propose that in cases of national security, an officer not below the rank of a joint secretary will be empowered to call for disclosure of such information.

According to the revised list of business of the Lok Sabha, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley would introduce The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016 on Thursday. It would be a money Bill, since it specifies its objective to provide targeted delivery of subsidies, expenditure of which will be incurred from the Consolidated Fund of India.

A money Bill can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha. The decision of the Speaker is final and cannot be challenged on whether or not a Bill is one. Such a Bill cannot be referred to a joint committee of the two Houses. The government enjoys a majority in the Lok Sabha and has ensured passage of several key Bills in the House only to find these stuck in the Rajya Sabha, where it is in a minority.

Sources said the Bill could propose imprisonment of up to three years and fine of Rs 10,000, which will be Rs 1 lakh in the case of a company, for disclosing or sharing of the core biometric information. The Bill, it is understood, could entail upon the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to take all necessary steps to ensure the confidentiality of identity information by protecting it against access of disclosure or accidental and intentional damage.

The information could be stored in a centralised database of biometrics, the Central Identities Data Repository. The UIDAI will not only take all appropriate technical measures but also ensure that any agency it hires will follow these security measures.

The Bill is likely to propose that no core biometric information will be shared with anyone for any reason whatsoever other than for generation and authentication of Aadhaar numbers.

Information other than core biometrics may be allowed to be shared under the rules - that are yet to be framed. Identity information cannot be disclosed further, except with the prior consent of the individual. The biometric information would be considered "electronic record" and "sensitive personal data or information".

However, an officer not below the rank of a joint secretary, specially authorised for the purpose by the government, would order the disclosure of information in the interest of national security. It is also learnt that an "oversight committee", consisting of the Cabinet secretary and the secretaries in the Department of Legal Affairs and Department of Electronics and Information Technology, would review such a decision before the information is disclosed.

The UIDAI, set up in 2009, will manage the generation and authentication of Aadhaar numbers. The Bill, it is learnt, could propose that the authority will have a chairperson, two part-time members and a chief executive officer for a term of three years but eligible for reappointment.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley likely to introduce the Aadhaar Bill in the Lok Sabha on Thursday. Some of its key features are likely to be
  • It would be a money Bill
  • Could propose strict penalty for disclosing of core biometric information
  • UIDAI to take all steps to ensure privacy of information
  • Information is to be stored in the Central Identities Data Repository, a centralised database
  • UIDAI-hired agencies/consultants to also implement technical measures to ensure privacy
  • In case of a national security, an officer not below joint secretary to take a call
  • Oversight committee, headed by the Cabinet secretary, to review each decision before the information is disclosed