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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Monday, March 7, 2016

9440 - The three big positives of the Indian budget - Live Mint

Last Modified: Fri, Mar 04 2016. 12 47 AM IST


For anyone looking for the big picture, the fiscal deficit number, legislative backing to Aadhaar and focus on infrastructure are the big positives

R. Sukumar

The reason the bond and currency markets are positive about the budget is because finance minister Arun Jaitley has stuck to his commitment of ensuring that the fiscal deficit will be 3.5% of gross domestic product in 2016-17. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint

New Delhi: I can’t remember the last time bond, currency and stock markets received an Indian budget as enthusiastically as they have the one that was presented on 29 February.

Sure, the stock markets fell on the day of the budget, with the Sensex, the BSE’s benchmark index, closing down 152 points and the National Stock Exchange of India Ltd’s (NSE’s) Nifty index ending below 7,000, but both indices have recovered smartly in the two days since (this article went to the press on Wednesday, 2 March).

On Tuesday, 1 March, the Sensex posted a gain of 777.35 points, the highest absolute gain in nearly seven years. The rupee fell 0.21 paise to the dollar on Monday but gained 0.55 paise on Tuesday to close at 67.87, the biggest gain (in percentage terms) in six months. The Sensex closed 1.95% (463.63 points) up on Wednesday, 2 March, and the Nifty, 2% (146.5 points).

The bond markets were more instantly appreciative. Yields on 10-year bonds fell the most in a day since June 2015, and closed at 7.62%, down 16 basis points. Yields were flat on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The reason why bond and currency markets are positive about the budget is because India’s finance minister Arun Jaitley has stuck to his commitment of ensuring that the fiscal deficit will be 3.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016-17, resisting calls from several people, including some in his government, even his ministry, to tolerate a little bit of a slippage in the interests of growth.

If the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) governor Raghuram Rajan appreciates this by cutting the policy rate—many expect him to do so, even ahead of the next monetary policy review in April, one reason why the stock markets have rallied—India could well see the beginning of what economists term a virtuous cycle.
The fiscal deficit number, then, is one of the big positives in the Indian budget.

Sure, there are concerns whether the government’s math will add up. After all, it did miss its direct tax collections target in 2015-16 and was helped by growth in indirect tax collections, largely on account of low oil prices (as prices have fallen, India has continued to raise the excise tax on oil, passing on less of the benefit of the lower prices to end-users than it could have, but bolstering its own finances in the process). It will also miss its target for the amount to be raised by selling stakes in government firms in 2015-16 by more than half.

And finally, the government managed to meet its fiscal deficit target of 3.9% of GDP in 2015-16 by drawing down on its cash. The government’s net cash balance stands at a deficit of Rs.22,084 crore in 2015-16 against a Rs.12,041 crore surplus in 2014-15.

The government has set ambitious targets in 2016-17. Can it raise Rs.4.9 trillion from corporate taxes? Can it sell stake worth Rs.56,000 crore in government firms? These are questions that need to be pondered over; for now, though, the bond markets seem to believe them.

The other big positive is the promise to give legislative backing to Aadhaar, the programme that has enrolled almost a billion Indians, captured each one’s biometric information and also assigned a unique number to each.

The number is the cornerstone of the government’s direct benefits transfer (DBT) programme, which seeks to transfer subsidies and benefits directly to beneficiaries, ensuring there are no leakages. It is also one of the key drivers of India’s move to a cashless economy that will help the cause of financial inclusion and tackle the menace of black money, or untaxed, unaccounted-for wealth.

The third big positive is the focus on infrastructure, with an allocation of around Rs.2.2 trillion. This is a clear manifestation of the intent of the government to revive the investment cycle through a focus on public investment.

There are other positives, and several negatives as well, including the Indian state’s continuing reluctance to repeal a retrospective tax law, but for anyone looking for the big picture, these three are it.