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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Monday, April 4, 2016

9729 - Worries About The Aadhaar Monster - Anupam Saraph - Outlook India

Aadhaar, a billion strong today, heralds the destruction of good governance and the end of swarajya.



TARGET IRIS
A woman gets her eyes scanned in the pilot phase of Aadhar, the UID project.


According to the UIDAI almost no person issued an Aadhaar needed any ID as they already had at least two other IDs. UIDAI also admits that it does not certify the identity, address, or even the very existence of an Aadhaar number holder. Since the UIDAI has never undertaken any audit or verification of its data there is no possibility that it can certify identity, address or even existence of the Aadhaar holder. No wonder the UIDAI also emphasizes that it is a mere framework assigning a number to demographic and biometric data submitted by private enrolment parties.

For government agencies, despite repeated orders from the Supreme Court to the contrary, Aadhaar became mandatory to deliver subsidies, benefits and services to the common man. It ushered in a class system of those with and without Aadhaar and made PAN cards, Election cards, Ration cards, Passports, Drivers licenses etc. insufficient to access rights to live in India. In a hurry to deliver "good" governance, no one in government even examined if Aadhaar stands the test of being free of fraud, duplicates and stolen identities.

The Aadhaar Bill, passed in a great hurry and controversy, as a Money Bill takes the powers of qualifying you for subsidy, benefits and services from individual Ministries and passes them to the UIDAI. In case your ID is stolen or your authentication fails, you have no recourse. This Bill does not offer any redress all mechanism nor does it allow the courts to take congnizanse of your plight unless the UIDAI asks it to.

Since the Aadhaar number is issued to all residents, it cannot distinguish a citizen from a resident. Residents will enjoy the same subsidies, benefits and services as citizens.

To enjoy these subsidies, benefits and services you must now be authenticated by UIDAI. According to the UIDAI Aadhaar based authentication does not provide any information to any requesting agency. It merely replies with “yes” “no” answers to match data with another database record. With e-authentication, or doing away with the need for physical presence of an Aadhaar holder, anyone in possession with of your Aadhaar number or demographic and biometric details can now be authenticated as you. This allows for your subsidies, benefits and services to be siphoned off. This is a crime that is undetectable. Even if it is detected, no court can take cognizance without the permission of the UIDAI. This also makes you liable for any crimes committed with your Aadhaar number.

The Rajya Sabha had passed amendments to make the Aadhaar voluntary and even allow persons to have their Aadhaar data be wiped out. They asked Aadhaar to be restricted to government use. They requested the CAG and CVC to have oversight over the UIDAI. They even requested amendment that an Aadhaar number information only be accessible in a national emergency. Even without waiting for a few hours to read and sink in the recommendation of the Rajya Sabha, the Lok Sabha rejected them and passed the Aadhaar Bill.

Arun Jaitley told the Members of Parliament that Aadhaar helped save Rs 15,000 crore due to “targeted” LPG subsidy. Research done by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) contests this claim. Their computations indicate that  the benefit from Aadhaar in the scheme through de-duplication of records was at best limited to Rs 12-14 crore in 2014-15 and about Rs 120.90 crore in 2015-16, that, too, before accounting for any additional costs. IISD estimates the costs of implementing Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT) Rs. 1,343 crore (USD 200 million) – ten times greater than the fiscal saving from integration into DBT in FY 2015/16. It is also estimated that much of the “saving” is because consumers have been denied subsidy if they did not link bank accounts to their LPG consumer numbers after DBT. With such "targeted"delivery no one will ever know of leakages in the system.

The implementation of this Bill will clearly bode difficult times for citizens. Whether you are with or without an Aadhaar, you may face the indignity of being denied or having to justify your rights to subsidies, benefits and services. Very likely you will also be denied justice as your rights are snatched away by an unequal class. The swarajya of Tilak is clearly dead.


Anupam Saraph is a Professor, Future Designer, former governance and IT advisor to former Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and the Global Agenda Councils of the World Economic Forum. He has designed and implemented government delivery and identity schemes in his past roles.