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.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

9739 - Government to ask Supreme Court to widen Aadhaar ambit - Live Mint

Last Modified: Tue, Apr 05 2016. 01 35 AM IST


On heels of Aadhaar crossing the one billion coverage mark, telecom minister Ravi Shankar said government will approach the Supreme Court

Remya Nair

Aadhaar has crossed the one billion coverage milestone almost six years after the first unique identification number was issued in September 2010. Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint

New Delhi: Armed with legislative backing and widespread coverage of Aadhaar, the government will soon approach the Supreme Court with a request to allow the usage of the unique identity number for more government services and social security programmes.

Aadhaar crossed the one billion coverage mark on Monday.
“One of the core issues of concern articulated in the court is that there is no legal basis backing Aadhaar. Now there is a proper law duly framed that will go a long way in assuaging the concerns. We will persuade the Supreme Court to release more avenues for use of Aadhaar,” telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told a press conference, adding that the government will have to get the court’s nod before allowing more services.

“We are quite open to as many public services being brought on the Aadhaar platform for flawless delivery. But the Supreme Court has put some restriction. For new services, we have to take the permission of the Supreme Court,” he said.

At present, the court allows the government to use the Aadhaar number for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, pensions by central and state governments and the Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme, in addition to its use in the public distribution system and the distribution of cooking gas and kerosene—till a constitution bench decides a clutch of cases around Aadhaar and violation of privacy.

Aadhaar is a unique identity number issued to Indian residents after collection of biometric information such as fingerprints and iris scans.

“The Supreme Court’s approval for expanding Aadhaar is only procedural. The real test of Aadhaar will be last-mile inclusion,” said former civil servant N.C. Saxena, a member of the erstwhile Planning Commission.

The government wants to make Aadhaar the mainstay of its ambitious plan for the direct transfer of social security benefits to the bank accounts of beneficiaries. To this effect, it enacted the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, last month that will make Aadhaar mandatory for anyone wanting to avail government services.

Aadhaar enrolment has managed to successfully navigate the transition between two regimes—the United Progressive Alliance during whose tenure this was envisaged and implemented and the National Democratic Alliance, which gave it much-needed statutory backing through the passage of the Aadhaar bill in Parliament.

It also managed to rapidly expand its coverage despite concerns expressed by some critics over privacy and data security.
“What the government has done today is akin to writing an open letter to hackers and governments of other countries saying that we have details of our entire population in a central database for you to hack,” said Sunil Abraham, executive director of the Centre for Internet and Society, a non-profit organization involved with research on freedom of expression, privacy and open access to literature. According to data available on the website of the Unique Identification Authority of India, 1,000,856,739 Aadhaar numbers have been issued till date. This achievement comes almost six years after the first Aadhaar number was issued in September 2010.

The highest number of Aadhaar numbers have been issued in Uttar Pradesh (144.9 million) followed by Maharashtra (105.1 million), West Bengal (73.1 million) and Bihar (66.6 million).
“One billion Aadhaar card holders will not mean anything if we don’t have half as many bank account holders,” said Saxena.