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.


Search This Blog

Friday, May 20, 2016

10013 - Big Data and the Fight to Eradicate Poverty - Inside Big Data


In this special guest feature, Nitin Donde, CEO of Talena, Inc., discusses how the business of Big Data impact the economic development front, especially as it relates to poverty alleviation. Nitin Donde is the Founder and CEO of Talena, Inc., a provider of software designed to support always-on Big Data applications through backup, recovery and other data management capabilities.

Big data has made its imprint in numerous ways in the business world. Technology’s impact on society is immeasurable; it has changed how we work and live, how we consume news, how countries democratize. And as John Battelle puts it, “Business is humanity’s most resilient, iterative, and productive mechanisms for creating change in the world.” How then will the business of Big Data impact the economic development front, especially as it relates to poverty alleviation?

For an organization like Unicef, good data is key to delivering immunizations, healthcare, and water to some of the world’s most disadvantaged children. In the mid-1990s, Unicef developed the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (Mics) methodology after it realized that there were huge gaps in the availability of data on the world’s poorest, hardest to reach kids – and Mics is now the largest source of statistical information on children. These enormous data sets enable important trend analysis and progress monitoring; all critical to Unicef’s work.

Public institutions and NGOs alike are discovering big data sources that can be used by policy makers to both understand trends and change policy in relative real-time, rather than relying on five-year census data. Examples of these new data sets include:
  • Mobile phone calls: Traditional census surveys often miss the poorest and most marginalized populations and mobile phone data is key to filling these big gaps. Mobile devices and data associated call detail records (CDRs), often the primary communications mechanism in developing countries, can be used as proxies to identify changes in socio-economic levels and even track spread of infectious diseases such as malaria. Because the data is real-time, analyzing mobile phone data can often shed light on emerging poverty trends in developing countries. In the Ivory Coast, a lower-middle-income economy in West Africa, mobile phone penetration rate is over 80%. The results of a recent research effort showed a strong correlation between call details with patterns of wealth in the country, which enable government officials to supplement official data to validate growth and poverty alleviation hypotheses.
  • Satellite imagery: Combining satellite data with machine learning and data analytics can help governments identify poverty trends and supplement existing census work. Satellite data can provide a degree of geographic specificity that is not available in typical government data sets. For example, a current pilot study in Sri Lanka is looking at analyzing satellite images of rooftop building materials and building height that might indicate poverty levels. Satellite data can also help estimate harvest size even before the harvest occurs, critical to a significant part of the world’s rural poor.
  • Biometric data: India is probably the best-known use case of biometric data to drive greater efficiencies in poverty-reduction programs.  With more than one billion people already enrolled, the Aadhaar program uses biometrics to create unique identifiers and help the poor access benefits and subsidies with clear identification of one’s identity. The project also uses a Hadoop-based database that verifies an individual’s identity within 200 milliseconds. Since India spends $50 billion a year on these subsidies, ensuring that benefits go to the right people and eliminating middleman waste and corruption is critical. To provide a sense of the impact, on May 31, 2014 there were 4.6 million Aadhaar transactions. Less than two years later, on March 31, 2016, there were 107 million transactions.
The preceding discussion focused primarily on the benefits of non-traditional big data sets that can be applied to poverty analytics. However, there are natural consequences with the gathering and use of these data sets.
  • Privacy: government and other agencies need to clearly communicate that these data sets will be used solely for their intended purpose to ensure buy-in from the populace whose personal information is collected
  • Security: the recent rash of ransomware attacks should help everyone understand the value of protecting these data assets against intentional attacks and unintentional errors
  • Transparency: by highlighting how these data sets are able to shape poverty alleviation programs governments will be able to generate greater support for their data collection efforts
There is no doubt that these atypical data sets provide a significant opportunity to help government and non-profit agencies refine and optimize poverty-alleviation programs. Greater efforts must be placed on connecting the people who have the tools to analyze and interpret the data with the companies that generate the data in the first place to ensure that these new and improved data sets move from being interesting anecdotes to becoming truly transformative. I believe we have the power in our lifetime to put data to work to greatly alleviate poverty and for the betterment of all.