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

9839 - Road to cashless society: Here’s how Unified Payment Interface works - Hindustan Times


  • Ranjeet RaneUpdated: Apr 14, 2016 11:37 IST
The Unified Payment Interface will enable anyone with a bank account to complete a transfer or make a payment without having to share bank account or credit/debit card details. (Reuters File Photo)

RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan along with National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) adviser Nandan Nilekani launched the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) with the objective of proactively encouraging electronic payment systems for ushering in a cashless society in India. The interface aims to provide a safe, efficient, accessible, inclusive, interoperable and authorised payment and settlement system for the country.
Here is a quick guide on one of the landmark changes to take place in the financial sector.
What is the United Payment Interface (UPI)?
As the name suggests, UPI is an application level interface that aims to bring under its umbrella the multiple payment service providers presently operating in the country by adding a layer of interoperability within such platforms. It will enable anyone with a bank account to complete a transfer or make a payment without having to share bank account or credit/debit card details. It also incorporates additional functionality of authenticating such transactions with known identifiers like Aadhaar number.
This interface is vendor agnostic, so banks, e-commerce portals or any other platform involved in monetary transactions will need to include this interface within their payment applications instead of the end users having to use multiple applications.
Why do we need a platform like this?
The record of cashless transactions in our country is very dismal. At present it stands at 6 transactions/person/year which is partly due to the fact that out of the 10 million plus retailers in India, hardly 1.1 million have card payment acceptance infrastructure. The RBI has been vocal about ushering in more cashless transactions and one of the ways to do so is to tap into the expanding smart phone ecosystem that is slated to reach close to 500 million users in next five years.
The long-term goal is to use the UPI as a means to financial inclusion by encouraging transactions among the newly added accounts under the Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and direct benefit transfer programs.

NPCI adviser Nandan Nilekani with RBI governor Raghuram Rajan at the launch of Unified Payments Interface (UPI) in Mumbai. (PTI)
How much of a part does Aadhaar play in the UPI?
The Aadhaar system that has close to 80 crore enrolments and is now legally accepted as a form of identity for Indian residents is the backbone for authentication and authorisation in the UPI. Aadhaar authentication is the process wherein Aadhaar number, along with other attributes, including biometrics, will be submitted by the interface to the UIDAI system for verification. There is also a provision for financial institutions to integrate their Aadhaar based KYC into their applications that use UPI.

The most notable feature however is the Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS) that enables banks to route the financial transactions through a switching and clearing agency allowing citizens to authenticate and subsequently operate their respective Aadhaar enabled accounts as well as perform basic financial transactions. So essentially, Aadhaar-enabled payments architecture is an overlay on the existing payment architecture of UPI, with the task of user verification handed over to the Aadhaar repository with UIDAI.
How will transactions done under UPI work?
The interface will sit on top of existing payment system by integrating into their code. The National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) will maintain a database of customer’s Aadhaar number, Mobile number and Bank accounts. This central repository (Central Mapper) will be used to route payment instructions based on Aadhaar number or mobile number.
The Aadhaar Payments Bridge System (APBS) will use the NPCI Central Mapper as a part of National Automated Clearing House (NACH) to enable government departments to electronically transfer subsidies and direct benefit transfers to individuals mapped to their Aadhaar number. Similarly, Central Mapper will allow anyone to send/receive money from a mobile number without knowing the destination account details. This is achieved by mapping mobile number to one or more accounts.
What are the main benefits of UPI?
For the end users the most important feature of UPI is the ability to make payments by providing a virtual ID without having to provide account details or credentials to 3rd party applications or websites. It would also provide the ability to pre-authorise multiple recurring payments similar to ECS (bill payments, fees, subscriptions, etc.) with a one-time secure authentication and rule based access. Payments would be more secure with the introduction of single click two-factor authentication by using a personal phone without the need of new devices or hardware tokens. Lastly, as more and more payment service providers integrate this interface in their applications it will led to a fully interoperable system across all PSPs.
What does this mean for e-wallets and bank specific mobile applications?
While the UPI platform appears to target the transactional space presently occupied by e-wallets, the fact that UPI is vendor agnostic, would allow e-wallets to integrate UPI in their application and ease the process of loading money in the applications. Interoperability among the applications bought about by integrating UPI will indirectly led to more user friendly features getting added to e-wallets in the long run. As for bank specific applications, they should look to integrate UPI at the earliest as these will be the first applications to enable end users to avail of the benefits of UPI. Some banks like Yes Bank have already integrated UPI in their application, and early movers will definitely have an advantage.
One aspect that has not been clearly defined in UPI is that of grievance redressal. It is expected that once the technical integrations begin, a very clear path of addressing end user issues is charted out. The ownership of transaction failure on a platform that is masking identity of the parties engages in the transaction needs to be defined on the onset. This will augment end user trust in the platform which will in turn lead to widening of the user base.
Indian banking sector should look at the UPI as the disruptive innovation that will take its service delivery to the next level while enabling financial inclusion in a single stroke and push for adopting this technology with a sense of urgency.

The author is a policy analyst in the information security and data privacy domain. Views express here are personal.