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

9817 - India's Audacious Plan to Bring Digital Banking to 1.2 Billion People - Bloomberg


A biometrics-backed ID system will make it easier for everyone—from rural villagers to urban dwellers—to ditch cash.

April 11, 2016 — 8:00 AM AEST

India is trying to yank its cash-based economy into the 21st century.

But how do you get 1.2 billion people, many of whom have never seen a bank or opened an account, to send digital payments to each other? 

India's Digital Banking Plan
The government's answer is an effort it has named the Unified Payment Interface. Debuting Monday, it's a system designed to make transferring and receiving money as easy as exchanging e-mail or text messages.

The goal is to bring banking and financial services to hundreds of millions of citizens, many of them poor and disadvantaged, in one fell swoop. The network was created by India's retail banks and backed by India's central bank—and they're confident it will work because it's built on top of an even more audacious project: India's biometrics-enabled national ID system, called Aadhaar after the Hindi word for foundation.

So far, India's attempt to assign every citizen a unique 12-digit number associated with a person's unique iris, fingerprint or facial features, is succeeding—just last week, Aadhaar reached its milestone of registering 1 billion people. With more than 80 percent of Indians enrolled, it gives the payments system a solid base to build on.

"The interface will bring banking to the unbanked," said Vinod Khosla, billionaire investor and co-founder of Sun Microsystems. His Bangalore-based incubator Khosla Labs is backing an Indian startup called Novopay, which offers mobile banking at 44,000 kiranas, or neighborhood convenience stores, in the country.

Vinod Khosla. Photographer: Kim White/Bloomberg

More than 233 million Indians have never been to a bank, and most accounts have a balance of zero, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. And even though India has the world's second-biggest population, there are only about 23 million credit cards in the country, according to the Reserve Bank of India.

India is hoping to replicate the success of a similar digital-payments scheme in Kenya. Introduced in 2007, Safaricom's M-PESA system lets people send and receive money via mobile phones. What's impressive is the sheer number of people doing so: 22 million, or half the African country's population. India's system is designed to work at a more basic level, with payments flowing between mobile, banking and other networks. 
That also means mobile banking's growth potential is huge. India has the world’s fastest-growing smartphone market, which is projected to double in a few years from the current 220 million users. Soon, all it will take in India to send money is a phone number, an Aadhaar number or a simple virtual-payments address.
"The robust system will help India leapfrog the desktop and the credit-card economy to become a mobile-first economy, accelerating e-commerce and driving a host of financial services," said Nandan Nilekani, who led the push to introduce Aadhaar and has been advising banks on the rollout of the new payments network.
The main challenge will be cost. In order for India's new digital payments system to succeed, transaction fees will have to be set very low in a country where the average monthly wage is about $300. While the network's backers say costs will come down, detractors said the banks will have to keep fees affordable. Success will depend on the combination of banks, startups, user experience and digital literacy, said Akanksha Sharma, senior analyst at research firm GSMA Intelligence.
Srikanth Nadhamuni, chief executive officer of Khosla Labs, said the best way to think of the project is by comparing it to how shampoo was introduced in India. Decades ago, most people couldn't afford to buy an entire bottle of shampoo, so Unilever, Procter & Gamble and other companies sold them in small sachets that people could afford to buy, paving the way for marketing everything from detergent to toothpaste in rural areas. Nadhamuni is betting that the new digital payments system will be be low-cost, high-volume, like a "shampoo-sachet revolution in the financial sector."

Flipkart, India's biggest online retailer, is getting in on the action. The e-commerce leader recently bought PhonePe, which is building a mobile application based on the Unified Payments Interface. The app will let Web shoppers pay for goods, daily wage workers manage bills and help migrant workers send money home—with just a phone number.


"UPI has the potential of transforming the entire payments ecosystem in the country," said Binny Bansal, Flipkart's co-founder.