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


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.


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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

9683 - Transforming India through Digital Innovation


Darshan Yadunath  | March 29, 2016


In recent decades, India’s growth story has been difficult to ignore. And the Indian technology revolution, a key contributor to this growth, has been remarkable. The information technology industry contributes to nearly 9.5% of India’s GDP and is the largest private sector employer, generating some 3.5 million direct jobs, and over 10 million indirect jobs.

However, the dividends of India’s digital growth have been unevenly realized, providing lots of opportunities for improvement, including: 

Mobile penetration in India is still relatively low. India’s rural populace makes up approximately 68% of the population but account for just over 40% of its mobile users.

India ranked 156th in the world in terms of broadband penetration at over 19 per cent, as per the UN Broadband Commission report released in 2015.

Roughly nine out of 10 workers are informally employed and lack social protection. Most workers lack adequate education or skills and the educated youth faces high unemployment rates.

To bridge this digital divide and to provide a digital platform for inclusive growth, the Indian government launched the Digital India initiative in July 2015, with the aim of transforming India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.

At a World Bank event last October in Washington DC titled ‘Digital India: Transforming India into a digitally empowered nation’ Ram Sewak Sharma, Chairman of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), laid out three key elements of the Digital India program and vision, namely: Digital infrastructure as a utility to every citizen, Governance and services on demand, and Digital empowerment of citizens.

One of the key components of this vision is to enable citizen participation in the digital and finance space through the JAM trinity, which consists of:
Jan-Dhan: a program of financial inclusion through which 170 million bank accounts have been opened in a span of 100 days.
Aadhaar: a program to provide Digital-ID online infrastructure through which 920 million Unique IDs have been issued and 1 billion users are expected to be registered by March 2016.
Mobile: a program to leverage the nearly billion mobile phone connections through the creation of mobile IDs and mobile-based service delivery.

The Aadhaar program, for example, assigns a unique 12 digit random number to an individual, collects biometric details, name, gender, age and address and costs only about $2 per individual. Aadhaar holds tremendous potential for unlocking the Indian economy by providing a common platform which can be integrated with a multitude of government programs such as financial and social inclusion programs, and a Public Distribution System monitoring, to name a few.

Sharma mentioned that the introduction of Aadhaar can help plug duplicate and fake identities and generate huge fiscal savings for the government (of up to INR 500 Billion per annum) as it transfers all its subsidies directly to the bank accounts of the intended beneficiaries.

Sharma also mentioned other innovations of the Digital India initiative like e-Sign, a facility that enables citizens to digitally sign documents and open bank accounts remotely; or Digital Locker, which allows for authenticated storage and access of citizens’ government records securely over the cloud.

Although India has accumulated tremendous knowledge in digital transformation over the past two decades, most of this is tacit knowledge that exists with Indian ICT practitioners. This presents a great opportunity for India and the World Bank to work together to share India’s repository of rich technical expertise with other developing nations.

The World Bank-led Digital Development Partnership (DDP) launched in early 2016, along with the World Development Report 2016 on Digital Dividends, offers India a unique platform to partner with the World Bank for digital innovation and development financing. The DDP’s priority areas are broadband access for all, promotion and protection of digital infrastructure, and mainstreaming of digital innovations for sustainable development.

The World Bank Digital IDs for Development program (ID4D) also offers another avenue for collaboration, by providing financial assistance to Digital ID development in sectors such as financial services, social protection, and health care; establishing policies to promote the use of open, interoperable technology while ensuring security and privacy; and catalyzing a global network of digital ID experts including Nandan Nilekani, Melinda Gates, the presidents of Estonia and Chile, and others to assist countries build capacity in designing, deploying, monitoring, and maintaining digital ID systems.

Furthermore, as India evolves from being a provider of digital services to being an intelligent consumer of data to make smarter decisions, it has much to gain by defining a ‘Smart Vision’ by working alongside the World Bank and partner nations such as Singapore, South Korea and Estonia which are pushing the frontier of cutting edge innovation and digital development. 

Together India, the World Bank and other partners can work towards realizing the India of tomorrow by catalyzing the transformation of India into a knowledge society and smart nation.

The article has been adopted from World Bank website