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.


Monday, March 21, 2016

9593 - Aadhaar disquiet in the House - The Hindu

March 18, 2016

When the Narendra Modi government chose to introduce the Aadhaar Bill in the Lok Sabha a couple of weeks ago as a money bill, the move came under sharp criticism. The Rajya Sabha’s recommendations on a money bill are non-binding, and the Lok Sabha can reject them. The BJP-led NDA does not have a majority in the Rajya Sabha, and this was therefore seen as a way to avoid a defeat of the legislation. On Wednesday, this controversial strategy allowed the Lok Sabha to pass the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016, in its original form, ignoring a handful of amendments to the legislation in the Upper House. It is unfortunate that the government chose to so summarily toss aside the Rajya Sabha’s concerns. Giving legal validity to a project that seeks to provide unique identification numbers to more than a billion people, that too after many futile attempts over six years, is no doubt an achievement. But the Bill’s un-amended passage is a missed opportunity, for those amendments would have only strengthened the stated idea behind it, which is to provide an efficient and transparent process to transfer benefits and subsidies.

The Opposition’s effort in the Rajya Sabha, spearheaded by Congress Member of Parliament Jairam Ramesh, was focussed around issues of privacy as well as preventing the use of Aadhaar being made mandatory. Very serious concerns have been raised from various quarters that the proposed Aadhaar database facilitates mass surveillance, and that there are not enough checks to secure citizens’ data from misuse. The Aadhaar Bill has provisions to deal with data protection, but these are not sufficient because exceptions are built into confidentiality clauses. One of those exceptions can occur on the grounds of national security. One of the five changes successfully moved by Mr. Ramesh was to substitute the words “public emergency and public safety” for “national security”. A related amendment aimed to include the Central Vigilance Commissioner or the Comptroller and Auditor General of India in the committee to decide on requests for biometric data. He had also sought to make Aadhaar optional, by permitting alternative means of identification and giving individuals the choice to opt out of the system. According to the Bill, Aadhaar is necessary for receiving certain services and benefits. An amendment successfully moved by Mr. Ramesh sought to do away with a clause that deemed “nothing in this Act shall prevent the use of the Aadhaar number for establishing the identity of an individual for any purpose, whether by the state or any body, company or person.” Certainly, critics of the amendments would compare the Congress-led UPA’s version of the Aadhaar Bill and the NDA’s version to point out the Congress’s hypocrisy now that it is no longer in power. But that is a political point. What is important, and disquieting, is that the Opposition did seek to work in popularly voiced privacy concerns within the ambit of the legislation, and these interventions have been disregarded.