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.


Thursday, March 10, 2016

9465 - Basis of a revolution - Indian Express


Aadhaar Bill will enable government to go paperless, presence-less and cashless.

Written by Nandan Nilekani
Published:March 9, 2016 12:00 am

The Parliament House.

Science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. He was absolutely right but in public policy, engineering is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for the widespread adoption of any technology; it also has to be buttressed by design simplicity, a scalable architecture, an “open” platform, satisfying multiple stakeholders, privacy safeguards, and trust. India will soon cross 100 crore Aadhaar numbers, and the current Aadhaar Bill in Parliament is important infrastructure to enable government to go paperless, presence-less and cashless. This will catapult India to the front of the league of nations whose governments use technology to create an effective, efficient and modern welfare state that treats its people with dignity.

Every entrepreneur knows that if you wait for all lights to be green, you will never leave home. I took the Aadhaar job in 2009 with the understanding that a law would eventually be passed and that we had solid legal grounds to initiate the project. Because of the decision to start and not wait, today we have close to a billion numbers issued, and visible evidence of its utility with Rs 10,000 crore-plus savings in LPG subsidy in one year alone. But Aadhaar now needs regulatory legitimacy to operate at its full potential. The current bill is a balanced synthesis of various stakeholder perspectives and adequately addresses the concerns of the Supreme Court. Let’s take a look at the bill and what kinds of revolutions it could enable.

The key features of the Aadhaar Bill are in the details. 

Enrolment is voluntary. It shall only be used as proof of identity and not as proof of citizenship. It enables the government to prevent fraud, corruption and waste by requiring the Aadhaar number for delivery of any benefit, subsidy or service from the Consolidated Fund of India, such as LPG subsidy, MGNREGA wages, various insurance schemes, provident fund schemes, government scholarships, and much more. It does not prohibit the usage of Aadhaar for any other purpose by any public or private entity. It provides privacy protection at an unprecedented level for Indian law. For example, it has, one, “use limitation” — it can only be used for the purpose for which the user gives consent. 

Two, “collection limitation” — no information other than demographic (name, address, date of birth, sex and, optionally, email id/ mobile number) and biometric (photo, fingerprint and iris scan) will be collected. No other personal information of an individual will be in the Aadhaar database. 

Three, “access and rectification” — the user can access his own information and has an obligation to rectify it if it needs updating. 

Four, no demographic information or identity information received from the Unique Identification Authority of India can be displayed publicly. 

Five, the only exception to certain confidentiality (but not security) obligations is national security, provided an order to disclose information is issued either by a court, or by a joint secretary or higher officer, and vetted by a high-powered committee headed by the cabinet secretary. Even then, sharing of a particular piece of information will be permitted only for a limited time period. Further, that no core biometric information can be shared is a principle without exception — people saying that core biometric information will be shared are wrong because Clause 29(1) is not overridden by Clause 33(2). Finally, the bill includes stringent penalties, including imprisonment for breach of privacy and other violations. 

Overall, the law represents a useful synthesis of the learning, feedback and advice that two governments have received and should take care of the Supreme Court’s concerns that Aadhaar was functioning in a legislative vacuum, without accountability.

Moreover, as the recent net neutrality debate shows, there is a clear and present danger of “digital colonisation”. An important aspect of that is who manages the online digital identity that people will use to access the internet. We run the grave risk that all our online access will be in the hands of a few foreign internet “gatekeepers” that will track all our digital activities. In that context, the Aadhaar platform, which gives an open, secure and privacy-protected digital ID to a billion Indian residents to access the internet, will be a critical bulwark to ensure our digital independence.

The massive savings from a limited deployment of Aadhaar show that it is a powerful instrument against retail corruption, far better than creating another bureaucratic layer that only deepens the decision-making gridlock. Once the bill is passed, India could see a Cambrian explosion of innovation inside and outside government. It would enable unprecedented financial inclusion. It could eliminate more than 2,000 crore pages of paper (a low guesstimate). It could enable more than 300 million daily seekers of government services to save at least two hours every day. It could eliminate fraud in government subsidies of at least Rs 50,000 crore every year. It would enable linking individuals to an organisation that has a unique enterprise number and this would shift enforcement to big data rather than feet-on-street. It could unclog our highways and eliminate waiting rooms in hospitals. It could eliminate fraud in degrees and substantially improve labour market matching. And much more.

In the wonderful book, The Case for India, written in 1930 by historian Will Durant, he lamented, “…study and writing were frivolous things in the presence of a people — one-fifth of the human race — suffering poverty and oppression bitterer than any to be found elsewhere on the earth… I was filled with astonishment and indignation at the apparently conscious and deliberate bleeding of India by England throughout a hundred and fifty years. I began to feel that I had come upon the greatest crime in all history.” India has not only beaten the odds but come a long way since 1947; we are a vibrant democracy, a growing economy, and a cultural honeypot. Aadhaar can accelerate India’s rise and fulfil our tryst with destiny. It is time for legislation, action and innovation.

The writer is former chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India.

- See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/aadhaar-bill-lpg-subsidy-mgnrega-paperless-govt-basis-of-a-revolution/#sthash.3bcRkzRl.dpuf