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.


Sunday, March 27, 2016

9669 - On paper, electrified villages — in reality, darkness - The Hindu

March 26, 2016


  • SAMARTH BANSAL

  • The Hindu
    “As of April 1, 2015, according to government numbers, 18,452 Indian villages were still un-electrified.” File Photo 

The Centre claims to be fulfilling the Prime Minister’s plan for full rural electrification. But a close check of its own real-time data shows that the gap between official claims and ground reality is stark

Haldu Khata, a village in Bijnor district of Uttar Pradesh, is one of the 7,008 villages that the government claims to have “electrified” in the last year, under the Modi government’s flagship scheme of rural electrification, Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana. However, according to the government’s own field engineers, there is no electrical infrastructure in the village. Similarly, Dimatala in Assam, Kadam Jheriya in Chhattisgarh, Buknari in Bihar and Sunwara in Madhya Pradesh are misclassified as electrified villages in government books. These are not exceptional cases. The Hindu’s analysis of rural electrification data shows that the number of villages said to be electrified in the last year is exaggerated.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his Independence Day speech of 2015, had announced that all remaining villages would be electrified within 1,000 days. As of April 1, 2015, according to government numbers, 18,452 Indian villages were still un-electrified. Note that a village is considered electrified if public places in the village and 10 per cent of its households have access to electricity.

To make the process transparent, real-time data on villages being electrified has been made available to the public through a mobile app and a Web dashboard called GARV. The platform was launched in October 2015. Alongside, 309 Gram Vidyut Abhiyantas (GVAs) were deployed by the government to monitor the electrification process and enter the data on the GARV application.

Discrepancies galore

One major source of discrepancy is regarding those villages where the GVA has noted that the village is un-electrified, yet it is counted as electrified on the app. The Hindu was able to spot over 30 such villages on the app after scanning through GVAs’ comments. When this discrepancy was pointed out, a senior official of the Rural Electrification Corporation (REC), the nodal agency for rural electrification which functions under the aegis of the Ministry of Power, said: “We put a lot of emphasis on photos. If there is a pole and distribution line visible in the photos, we call it electrified.” This perhaps could be one of the reasons leading to the inflated number, as the presence of electrical infrastructure doesn’t automatically translate into electrification.

A GVA from Pagara Buzurg village in Neemuch district of Madhya Pradesh told The Hindu that the contractor did set up power lines in the village but they were stolen before they could be charged, and now there is no electricity in the village. Neither does a conductor exist there. For Birni village in Giridih, Jharkhand, the GVA remarks: “Work not started. Village located in remote location. No roads to reach. Situated on mountains..naxalite affected area (sic).” Both villages are counted as electrified villages.

Conversations with GVAs reflect the gap between official data and ground realities. The Hindu found 342 villages where the status marked by the GVA was ‘e0’, which means un-electrified (‘ee’ and ‘en’ mean electrified). And yet, in the ‘overall’ category, all of these villages have been marked as electrified.
Further, as of March 10, 2016, for around 300 villages, the status said: “Village declared electrified by discom [power distribution company]. GVA yet to visit the village for verification.” This indicates that villages have been declared as electrified without waiting for the government’s own representative’s verification, rendering the monitoring system redundant. For many others, a pattern is observed where the date of electrification is way before the first visit made by GVA. And further, if the GVA marks it as un-electrified after visiting, the status is not updated from ‘electrified’ to ‘un-electrified’.
Another concern is that uninhabited villages have been marked as electrified. The villages Panalomali, Kusadangar, Patyetapali in Odisha and Sunwara in Madhya Pradesh — all counted as electrified villages — have no people residing there. Reading comments in the application, more such villages were found by The Hindu, such as Akbarpur in Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh, which is a forest area.

Statistical jugglery

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget speech of 2016 said that the number of villages electrified in the last year was more than the combined number in the past three years. This claim may not be true, as The Hindu found that of the 7,000-plus villages said to be electrified last year, 3,604 villages were assigned the status, “Village found electrified during the survey.” This means that these villages were found electrified when GVAs first visited there. The REC official explained, “It is difficult to say when the work was done as the GVA visits started in October 2015. It could have happened after April 2015 (when the list of un-electrified villages was prepared in consultation with State governments), maybe two years ago or even earlier.” Conversations with GVAs and comments from the dashboard indicate that perhaps even the list of un-electrified villages was an overestimate. For instance, Changlang (Arunachal Pradesh) was electrified in 2001, Farbandhia Kahar (Assam) in 2012 and Mahdaili (Bihar) in 2013. But they were shown as un-electrified on the April 2015 list. It is also worth noting that work is ongoing even in villages declared as electrified; called “intensive electrification”, this aims to cover all households and not just 10 per cent.

A detailed questionnaire mailed to the REC on March 19 seeking its official response went unanswered.

The count of villages being electrified, ticking upward every day in the GARV application — extensively shared by Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal on social media and cited by Prime Minister Modi in his speeches — is thus not a guarantee that all villages being claimed as electrified are actually so.

samarth.bansal@thehindu.co.in

Also read:


Here, the light goes out of their lives at sunset 
For residents of two villages in Bijnor district of Uttar Pradesh, their ‘electrified’ status on paper is a cruel joke. Read more
Keywords: Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojanarural electrificationGram Vidyut Abhiyantasrural electrification data


Comment:
This is the India that is going to get DBT through Aadhaar based authentication! Like rural electrification, DBT is also going to be virtual!

Anupam Saraph.