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.


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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

10058 - ODING ON THE OVERDRAFT - Mumbai Mirror


By Ajit Ranade, Mumbai Mirror | May 28, 2016, 12.00 AM IST


The PM's scheme to reach the poor by giving them bank access was a great idea, but giving them unsecured loans may not be.

Two years ago, on India's independence day, prime minister Modi announced an ambitious financial inclusion scheme. It was officially launched as the Pradhan Mantri Jana Dhan Yojana (JDY), with the explicit aim of reaching the unbanked population. The PM exhorted banks to reach out to the last person without an account in the remotest part of the country. Such was the missionary zeal of bankers, that in just a few months more than 100 million such accounts were opened. The pace set a Guinness World Record. There is a website which tracks these accounts, and as of May 11, 2016 it reported 218 million accounts. This achievement is simply outstanding.

Now cue to the Economic Survey this year. This is the official annual report card of the Indian economy tabled in Parliament by the Finance Minister. This year's Survey talked about spreading JAM across the economy. No, the finance minister did not suddenly think of the whole country as a slice of bread! JAM is a trinity of J - Jan Dhan Yojana, A - Aadhaar card or the universal ID number and M - mobile phone. The Survey argued that India's poor can be better accessed and served by using the technology of these three platforms, eventually graduated to cashless transactions.

The direct benefit transfer of cooking gas subsidy is an example of JAM in action. Here's how it works - your bank account and cooking gas connection are linked to your Aadhaar number. You pay full price for the gas cylinder at the shop, which eliminates the black markets in cylinders. Your subsidy amount is credited directly to your bank account. The JAM model is being applied to many other schemes such as old age and widow pensions, and disability payments. It is possible that even ration cards, and food subsidies under the Public Distribution System will become JAM enabled i.e. you pay full price for the food grain and the subsidy is deposited in your account.

There are many critics of JAM, and the loudest in the chorus are those worried about the "Big Brother" aspect that JAM can come parcelled with - when registering for an Aadhaar card, you submit biometric data. Linking your bank and biometric data to centrally administered schemes gives the government significant access into your personal life.

Others worry that the JAM can't extend far enough because there are very few physical bank branches in remote areas. How will people access money in their accounts, if there's no ATM nearby? The government's hope is that lakhs of business correspondents will spring up (like the village kirana store) who will be the extension counters of the banks they represent. The viability of expanding banking reach through agents is still untested.

Meanwhile the 218 million accounts of JDY have already got about Rs 37,000 crores of balance. The Prime Minister in his monthly radio address hinted that these account holders will get an overdraft facility along with a credit and debit card. Which means they can spend more money than they have in their account. When will they repay? Not clear. Will the account always be in overdraft mode, i.e. showing a negative balance?

Now think about this. If of our 218 million new account holders, even 100 million decided to draw an overdraft of Rs 5,000 each, that would amount to total bank credit of Rs 50,000 crores. Since this credit is being extended without any other paperwork, or collateral, is this not like a loan mela?

The amount of Rs 5,000 per account may seem small, and similar to loans given out by microfinance institutions (MFI). But MFI borrowers have an almost 100 percent repayment record, since they are organised as self-help groups, or as joint liability borrowers. One default can black list the entire group, hence there is great repayment discipline. The only way that the MFI model fails is when it is politicised, and borrowers sense loan waivers (as happened in the undivided Andhra Pradesh in 2009).

The recent suggestion of blanket overdraft for Jan Dhan account holders, if not thought through carefully, can easily become another loan mela with huge potential losses for banks. Then the JAM will taste bitter.