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.


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

9461 - Aadhaar – A transparent tool for all - Forbes India Blog

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The multiple uses of Aadhaar include social security schemes (like public distribution systems, NREGA), subsidy delivery, government services (like passport and land titles), e-KYC (to open bank accounts) and voting. (Image: Mansi Thapliyal / Reuters)

Let’s hope that Parliament actually works this session and that petty politics does not derail the efficient operation of our democracy yet again. One of the important pieces of legislation that cuts across party lines was tabled a few days back – the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016.

Aadhaar was the historic innovation brought in by the previous UPA government and steered by Nandan Nilekani, the chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and a co-founder of Infosys. The BJP initially criticised it and there were fears that Narendra Modi would scrap it after becoming prime minister. But in a remarkable turnaround, after a meeting in July 2014 with Nilekani, Modi became a big champion of Aadhaar and is making it a key pillar of his reforms agenda. The introduction of this bill is a big step towards catapulting India forward in the digital era, dramatically improving the efficiency of public delivery systems and reducing corruption and black money. The Aadhaar project is the world’s largest national identification project and the way it has been rolled out is something that all Indians should be proud of. At the end of February 2016, 980 million numbers had been issued – something that most people said would be impossible in a little over five years.

There have been a few of concerns about Aadhaar, mainly related to privacy and citizenship. The Aadhaar Bill does not make Aadhaar a proof of citizenship or domicile. It is only a unique 12-digit number that each resident in India can use, which contains biometric and demographic data stored in a centralised database.

And the bill is strong on privacy. It limits the use of information to the purpose for which the user has given consent. Users can access their own information and rectify it. No demographic or identity information can be displayed publicly. The system cannot collect data beyond essential details like name, address, date of birth, sex, email address and phone number. It cannot collect details on race, caste or religion. There are stringent restrictions on how the information can be accessed and used for national security reasons. Finally, there are stringent penalties, including imprisonment, for breach of privacy.

The Aadhaar number helps in delivering a host of services and products in a seamless manner, starting off with Direct Benefit Transfers. The savings from this itself will more than cover the cost of the project. As Nilekani and Viral Shah outlined in their book, ‘Rebooting India’, the multiple uses of Aadhaar include social security schemes (like public distribution systems, NREGA and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan), subsidy delivery, government services (like passport and land titles), e-KYC (to open bank accounts), voting and biometric attendance systems. This bill gives a statutory framework to make all of this happen.

Who doesn’t want Aadhaar? Those who fear automation. Those who profit from the inefficiencies in the current system. Those who have something to hide. Those who fear losing power. Those who fear change. These people will fight hard against the higher level of transparency and efficiency that Aadhaar will bring in.

It is important that we support this bill and ensure that it becomes law.