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.


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

9444 - Fiddling while Rome is built - Indian Express


Aadhaar bill is one of the most transformative economic reforms ever. But does anyone care?

Budget 2017 contained the announcement that use of the biometric identity card, Aadhar, will be provided statutory backing. On Thursday, the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, hereafter Aadhaar bill, was introduced as a money bill in the Lok Sabha. I believe tabling this bill in Parliament is possibly one of the most transformative economic reform legislation introduced in India. But the editors of the white newspapers (including this paper) thought it more fit to give Kanhaiya Kumar 15 more minutes of fame. He pontificated the following: “Modiji was talking about Stalin and Khrushchev… I felt like jumping into the TV screen, grabbing his suit and saying, ‘Modiji, please speak about Hitler’” (Page 1, The Indian Express, March 4). The Aadhaar news, instead, was buried deep in the white papers (The Indian Express, The Hindu, The Times of India). Are they, too, going the way of TV news?

Coming back to the Aadhaar bill, why is it one of the most transformative economic legislation?Because it’s the single-most important method of decreasing massive political and bureaucratic corruption in India. And of delivering a much higher level of income transfers to the poor. Econ 101 teaches you that it’s important that the government do not interfere in the pricing of goods and services. But before Kanhaiya-led scholars from JNU (and elsewhere) protest that the free market doesn’t guarantee a just distribution of income (it absolutely does not, and not only because it is difficult to define “just”), let me remind the left that Econ 101 also teaches you that income transfers are a necessary part of a capitalist society. None other than the “arch-capitalist” Milton Friedman introduced the idea of a negative income tax.

More importantly, what Aadhaar will do, as it has already done for LPG connections, is to provide bank transfers in the name of the woman head of household. In his budget speech, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley stated the government has embarked upon “a massive mission to provide LPG connection in the name of women members of poor households”. This can now be used for other welfare payments (food subsidies, NREGA, etc). Presently, 50 per cent of food subsidies (approximately Rs 50,000 crore), registered as payments to individuals by the FCI, accrue to no known man, woman, or child in India. But that money is withdrawn from the exchequer — it’s not monopoly money.

The opposition to the Aadhaar bill is on several grounds (as is well known, in India, we also debate the existence of gravity, failing which we debate whether acceleration due to gravity is really exactly 32 ft/sec2! For you youngsters, that’s 9.8 m/sec2). But the prime concern is that the government is mistaken in introducing the bill as a money bill and that it’s doing so to circumvent the Rajya Sabha. This argument has merit, but only if it’s valid.

Article 110 of the Constitution, defining the money bill, states that in addition to taxation matters, “the custody of the Consolidated Fund or the Contingency Fund of India, the payment of moneys into or the withdrawal of moneys from any such Fund” is also part of a money bill. The opening paragraph of the Aadhaar bill, not surprisingly, states that the purpose of the bill is to “provide for… efficient, transparent, and targeted delivery of subsidies, benefits and services, the expenditure for which is incurred from the Consolidated Fund of India” (emphasis added).

 And remember, if any question arises whether this bill can qualify as a money bill, the decision lies with the speaker of the Lok Sabha, and is final. Therefore, the argument that the Aadhaar bill cannot be a money bill is invalid.

Moving on, the BJP is being attacked for having opposed the introduction of Aadhaar during the UPA regime, and rightfully so. The BJP in opposition has the disappointing record of helping the UPA pass every bad bill that shouldn’t have been passed, and obstructing the passage of all the bills that should have been passed. A not-so-publicised fact is that major elements within the UPA were opposed to Aadhaar as well.

The Standing Committee on Finance, in 2011-12, found that UPA ministries had raised several concerns with respect to Aadhaar — the finance ministry on the lack of coordination between agencies leading to duplication of expenditure; the home ministry on the involvement of private agencies in the scheme, resulting in a potential threat to national security, to name a few. While these are concerns to which solutions need to be found (or maybe are already in the pipeline), this is far from undermining the fact that Aadhaar is the need of the hour.

Other objectors belong to the narcissistic holier-than-thou ideologues — that is, impersonal government administered cash transfers are bad, but government administered in-kind subsidies (like food subsidies) are good as long as you ask me how it should be done. In this camp are leftist academics who believe we shouldn’t tinker with the PDS system because, recently, the corruption leakage has been reduced by 10 percentage points from the prior leakage level of 50 percentage points!

I started this article with reference to Kanhaiya, and I will be remiss and amiss if I didn’t comment on Justice Pratibha Rani’s judgment: “The thoughts reflected in the slogans raised by some of the students of JNU… cannot be claimed to be protected as a fundamental right of speech and expression. I consider this as a kind of infection… if the infection results in infecting the limb to the extent that it becomes gangrene, amputation is the only treatment.”

This, in a judgment on whether Kanhaiya should be granted bail after he was arrested allegedly on false charges of sedition and on the basis of allegedly doctored evidence. If this is a sound judgment, then pigs must have learnt to fly. It used to be said the Supreme Court and the RBI are the only two respectable institutions left in India. I guess India is left with only the RBI.
The writer is contributing editor, ‘The Indian Express’, and Senior India Analyst, the Observatory Group, a New York-based macro policy advisory group.

- See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/aadhar-scheme-kanhaiya-kumar-narendra-modi-parliament-fiddling-while-rome-is-built/#sthash.lbQMjasf.dpuf


- See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/aadhar-scheme-kanhaiya-kumar-narendra-modi-parliament-fiddling-while-rome-is-built/#sthash.lbQMjasf.dpuf