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.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

10029 - India is finally on the path of a truly digital nation - Live Mint

Last Modified: Mon, May 23 2016. 01 23 AM IST


I believe it may take many more years before India becomes a truly digital nation like Singapore, but we definitely seem to be getting there


The government appears to have got its Digital India approach right. It’s imperative that it does so, given that the Rs.1.3 trillion programme envisages a plethora of e-governance services across sectors like healthcare, education and banking, and promises to introduce transparency in the system, reduce corruption and achieve inclusive growth.

I remain optimistic that this will happen. Here are some reasons. To begin with, building on the National e-Governance Plan that was approved in 2006 under the Congress regime, the current Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance government is using technologies like mobility, analytics, cloud and the Internet of Things to implement the Digital India programme that dovetails with its other initiatives like Smart Cities and Make in India.

On the surface, we get to see tangibles like the government’s Digital Locker that allows you to store important files and lets you authenticate them online with your Aadhaar number, e-bastas (‘basta’ is Hindi for satchel), and the linking of Aadhaar to bank accounts and availing of subsidies.

At the back end, these e-services ride on the GI Cloud, also known as Meghraj, where government departments have to host their cloud data, and need to seek permission from the department of electronics and information technology (DeitY) if they want to do otherwise. Over 1,700 government departments and agencies across the country already use the mobile platform, Mobile Seva.

More importantly, Digital India policy initiatives include the use of open source software and open APIs (application programming interfaces) to ensure interoperability of software across departments, collaborative application development and cloud-ready applications.

Besides, Bharat Net (earlier known as the National Optical Fibre Network, it is governed by the department of telecom), the digital infrastructure has components like common service centres (CSCs) for every panchayat. All the post offices and the CSCs are being upgraded and expanded.

However, if so much is happening, why is it that mobile calls still drop when having a conversation in Digital India? Why is it that many people in villages still do not have an Internet connection or enough content in their own vernacular languages? Why is it that India still has poor bandwidth speeds? Or why is it that we are still stuck with the concept of Smart Cities when this country should have, by now, graduated to the concept of Smart Villages and Towns?

And, of course, not to forget that many parts of our country do not even have electricity to power Digital India.
One can easily lay the blame on callous and corrupt politicians but the issue is complex. Execution, for one, will remain a challenge since Digital India has to be coordinated by DeitY, but the implementation has to be done by all government departments, state governments and the Union territories.

There are still numerous versions of PDS (public distribution system) applications in states, for which DeitY has developed an application that states can configure and use in their own domains. Besides, the system is cloud-based; so states need not buy their own data centres or servers, etc., for hosting the application. But convincing the states to do so remains a big challenge, unless you are a state like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh or Maharashtra.

Moreover, the government’s plan to set up two semiconductor units in India, and thus raise about $40 billion investment, is yet to see the light of day. By the time these plans our passed (if they eventually do so), the idea of setting up these units would have outlived its purpose of helping the country’s electronic ecosystem by reducing imports, since the technology treadmill moves very rapidly.

Second, programmes like Smart Cities and Make in India will require considerable investments in terms of manpower, technological upgrades, skill development, digital literacy and, most importantly, a plethora of standards to be laid out and adhered to. Besides, if it takes around 30-40 years to build a city, can a smart city be built in five years?

So when will India become a truly digital nation? By 2018, or by 2020, as the government has indicated?

I believe it may take many more years before India becomes a truly digital nation like Singapore or emulates a city like Barcelona. But we definitely seem to be getting there. There are still many honest politicians and bureaucrats who are sincerely trying to implement this vision.

Besides, we have a huge young population that is applying pressure on social media to make India digital. Experienced hands need to join forces with the millennials to keep up the pressure on politicians. After all, Digital India belongs to the millennials now.

Leslie D’Monte is technology editor, Mint.