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 3, 2016

9906 - ‘Aadhar’ for saving wasteful expenditure - Daily Excelsior


Posted on 28/04/2016 by Dailyexcelsior

Dr Ashwani Mahajan

Recently Parliament has passed ‘Aadhar’ (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, as a money bill to facilitate its safe passage, as government lacks majority in Rajya Sabha and thus never wanted to face embarrassment, which it faced in case of Land Acquisition (Amendment) and GST Bill. Safe passage of ‘Aadhar’ (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill is being considered as a ‘game changer’ and a big success.

Politics on the Bill
‘Aadhar’ was given legal status by the previous UPA Government, as provision was made to give unique identity to all residents (including children) by assigning a 12 digit number on ‘Aadhar Card’. Then UPA government could not get the ‘Aadhar’ Bill 2010 passed due to intense opposition from Bhartiya Janta Party and other opposition parties. During Lok Sabha elections of 2014, Bhartiya Janta Party had opposed ‘Aadhar Card’. However, after coming to power the party thought that it is a good proposition, as with the help of Unique Identity (UID) of residents’ financial subsidies and other public services could be targeted more efficiently. This was also felt that the apprehensions expressed about the assault on privacy could be taken care of by making appropriate statutory provisions. Realizing that the Government lacks majority in the Rajya Sabha, it was decided to bring this bill as ‘money bill’, to avoid defeat in Rajya Sabha. However, we must also understand that though ‘Aadhar’ Bill 2010 and ‘Aadhar’ (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services)  Bill 2016 are seemingly no different from each other, there are number of dissimilarities with the two.

2016 Bill and Privacy Concerns
According to ‘Aadhar’ Bill 2016, if a person has resided in the country for 182 days or more, he/she is entitled to get an ‘Aadhar Card’. According to this bill, a person is entitled to avail of a subsidy or a service from the government; he must either posses an ‘Aadhar Card’ or has applied for the same. These provisions were not there in ‘Aadhar’ Bill 2010. According to ‘Aadhar’ Bill 2016, information related to an Aadhaar number holder’s fingerprints and iris scan shall not be published or displayed publicly, except for purposes specified by regulations. When authenticating an individual’s identity, the UID authority cannot reveal information related to iris scan and fingerprints to the entity requesting for authentication. All these provisions were not there in ‘Aadhar’ Bill 2010. Therefore one can say that an attempt has been made to address the concerns about privacy in ‘Aadhar’ Bill 2016.

In order to grant legal status to ‘Aadhar’, ‘Aadhar’ Bill 2010 was unsuccessfully attempted by then UPA government. NDA under the leadership of BJP had opposed ‘Aadhar’ Bill 2010 on the plank that lot of private information are taken while making ‘Aadhar Card’ and if this data goes to other people, privacy is disturbed. Later on courts have also given their ruling against granting legal status to ‘Aadhar’ and make it an essential condition to take the benefits of government support.

Earlier, when the concept of ‘Aadhar Card’ was brought in and later on Indian Unique Identity Authority (UIDAI) was given statutory recognition there was no clarity about the usage of the same. For general public this was merely an easy way to get identity card. Easy availability of ‘Aadhar Card’ without there being any proof of citizenship, gave rise to apprehensions that this instrument may provide legitimacy to the foreign intruders (especially from Bangladesh).

Why is the New Aadhar Bill a Game Changer?
Once Rajiv Gandhi, our former Prime Minister, during his tenure, had said that 85 percent of the money sent to poor and general public, does not reach the intended beneficiaries and evaporates in the way. Experience so far reveals that the food subsidy, and petroleum subsidy given by the government does not fully reach the intended beneficiaries and there is a lot of leakage in between. Apart from this, in order to provide food security to the people, government has to maintain huge buffer stocks and providing the same to the intended population, government has to spend huge amount from its budget. According to erstwhile Planning Commission, to transfer a food subsidy to the intended beneficiaries of one rupee government has to spend Rs. 3.85. Similarly the benefits of Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (MGREGP) do not fully reach the intended beneficiaries. Fertilizer subsidy given for chemical fertilizers goes to the companies and does not reach the farmers fully. A decade back it was impossible to even think of transferring the benefits from the government directly to the targeted beneficiaries.

Thanks to the techniques, today, it is possible to transfer the benefits of subsidy and other services directly the bank accounts of the beneficiaries, without much cost. For this, what we need is a bank account and a unique identity of the beneficiaries. Earlier, because of hic-ups in opening a bank account and requirement of minimum balance, a poor person was unable to open an hour account. However, under Jan-Dhan Yojna, nearly 18 crore new bank accounts have been opened with zero balance requirements. In fact, along with this, extremely low cost new insurance schemes, have also been launched, encouraging more people to open their bank accounts.

According to official figures, out of 127 crore population, more than 100 crore possess ‘Aadhar Card’. 93 percent of adult population today has  ‘Aadhar Cards’. In 25.5 crore bank accounts,Aadhar number is registered. Persons, with less than 18 years of age can also get their ‘Aadhar Card’, however, very few of them have actually got their cards made. Therefore, it means that universal coverage of ‘Aadhar’ is possible in near future, especially after passage of ‘Aadhar’  Bill 2016. With almost universal coverage of back accounts of households and Aadhar card, now it has become easier to transfer benefits, directly to the targeted population. This scheme may save billions of rupee, as now LPG subsidy, food Subsidy, MNREGA wages and many other benefits can reach the targeted beneficiaries without leakage. According to the government, this could save 70 thousand crore to the exchequer. If this is correct, ‘Aadhar’  Bill 2016 will prove to be a big ‘Game Changer’ for the nation.

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