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.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

9809 - Cash transfers may not suit all beneficiaries: Report - Business Standard


Economists Maitreesh Ghatak of London School of Economics, Chinmaya Kumar and Sandip Mitra studied Bihar's Mukhyamantri Cycle Yojana

Mayank Mishra  |  New Delhi 
April 9, 2016 Last Updated at 22:20 IST



With Aadhaar crossing one billion enrolment mark and the government showing inclination to use the platform to switch over to cash transfer while dispensing welfare schemes, the debate on whether direct benefit transfer is better than the existing system of in kind transfer is bound to intensify in coming days.

A recent paper by economist Maitreesh Ghatak of London School of Economics with Chinmaya Kumar and Sandip Mitra analyses the issue and concludes that in “areas where market access is not easy, cash transfers are not going to be very effective. In contrast, in areas where the administrative capacity is weak and there is limited accountability (say, by the media or local government bodies), cash transfers may be a good way of empowering the beneficiaries.” 

They studied Bihar’s mukhyamantri cycle yojana which provides money to purchase a bicycle to every student who is enrolled in class 9 in a government or government-aided schools. As part of the scheme a sum of Rs. 2,500 is given to the students with at least 75 per cent attendance. Girls were sole beneficiaries of the scheme till 2009 and their enrolment in secondary schools is reported to have gone up significantly after the introduction of the scheme in 2006. 

As part of their project, the authors did a survey in 36 villages across six districts. They found out that only 3 per cent of the beneficiaries said they did not receive the money despite meeting eligibility conditions. Almost 98 per cent of the respondents said they purchased new bicycle with the fund received under the scheme. 

The authors conclude that “some of the basic indicators of the performance of this programme—including exclusion rate, corruption and leakage, grievance rate and money utilisation rate—suggest that the bicycle programme is functioning well, and that most beneficiaries seem to be satisfied with it.” 

Despite high level of satisfaction with the programme, a majority of respondents (55 per cent) preferred bicycle over cash. One of the reasons for marked preference for the kind rather than cash was that nearly 98 per cent respondents said that they had to add an additional amount to purchase a bicycle. The authors therefore argue that “our study suggests that “free to choose” ideas that lie behind cash transfers or vouchers may be more relevant once the income of the beneficiaries cross a certain critical threshold.”

The study shows that richer the household, greater is the preference for cash over kind. It shows that an increase of household income by Rs. 1,000 increases the probability of preference for cash by 6 percentage points. Similarly, there is a marked preference for cash in households with pucca dwelling units. It also shows that households with more members had preferred cash over bicycles. 

The survey found out that the age of head of household as well as the number of working women had had impact on preference for cash or kind. Obviously, the location of village and its distance from the market having bicycle store too had impacted the decision. What is more, bicycle being visible good, there was demonstration effect at play while making a decision to buy the kind of cycle and the top-up amount therefore changed accordingly.

The authors therefore conclude that while cash may seem to be a preferred option on the face of it, there is no guaranty that different groups of beneficiaries will have identical reaction to the same programme. There are number of variables at work. 

Maitressh Ghatak in an emailed response to Business Standard says that “Our study suggests different people have different preferences over cash and kind. Ideally, we should do regular impact assessments but that may be too time-consuming and resource-intensive. So, we should do some large scale initial studies and then devise programmes based on these findings (e.g. Cash in urban areas) but also have an option to switch to respect individual preferences.” 

Sandip Mitra of Kolkata-based Indian Statistical Institute is of the opinion that “any development scheme for this large sized country might have negative implications in the long run unless it tries to capture the heterogeneity.” And Chinmay Kumar, co-author of the paper, argues that “we shouldn't see transfer programmes in the binary of cash versus kind. We should instead try to move towards a system that provides beneficiaries the option of switching between the two types of transfers depending on their needs/preferences.”