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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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

9999 - Still need to improve subsidy management: Pradhan - Hindu Businessline


RICHA MISHRA/DEBABRATA DAS

DHARMENDRA PRADHAN, Petroleum Minister

Logistics is the key to pricing LPG, says Petroleum MInister

When Dharmendra Pradhan, took office as Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, in 2014, he had said, his focus would be the same as his party’s (BJP), “…removing poverty...people have expectations from the Modi Government. Modi has already dedicated the Government for the poor.”

Thus, started concentrated work on Direct Benefit Transfer of LPG, now followed with Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana. This is even as the Ministry continued to solve the contentious issue of gas pricing and introduced differential pricing, legacy issues in production sharing contracts, and revamped the country’s exploration policy.

In conversation with BusinessLine, Pradhan shares how ‘subsidy management’ will be his focus this year as his Ministry prepares to roll out DBT for kerosene and why importing LPG is cost-effective. Excerpts:

Last fiscal was spent in dealing with corporate espionage, introducing DBT for LPG, new exploration policy and correcting gas pricing. What is on agenda now?
This year our priority is on two-three things: to focus more on the subsidy management of LPG and kerosene. Even last year, the subsidy outgo from the Ministry was to the tune of ₹27,000 crore.
While we want to increase the subsidy net by including more below-poverty-line families, we also want to make it more targeted using technology. The primary focus is to provide energy access to all at affordable price.
Besides, Aadhaar is legal now. Over 15 crore people have been included in the DBT gateway. This financial year, we will introduce something similar for kerosene. Side-by-side we will also focus on improving subsidy management for LPG.
The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana will be expanded to ensure seamless delivery. Alongside, we will have to maintain the growth in consumer numbers achieved in the last few years for the non-BPL category households, which is also an important market. If we combine the two, there will be a significant jump in the number of LPG consumers.

Despite GiveItUp scheme what you are saying is that LPG consumer base is set to expand?
It has already happened. Till 2013-14, there were 13 crore households with LPG connections, in the last two years, we have added 3.7 crore connections, both BPL and Above Poverty Line. So far, the growth was more in APL. But, as we go forward, there will be a substantial growth in both segments. For this, the whole marketing plan, requirement for more bottling plants, more distributors, more LPG will be needed — we will have to see whether it comes from domestic refineries or imports — therefore, the focus will be the whole LPG chain.

Do you think you can replicate the success of DBT for LPG in kerosene as well, particularly when States are key players? How are you dealing with it?
You are right, kerosene DBT has to be done along with States. We are in dialogue. The incentive mechanism being offered by the Finance Ministry has been well appreciated by the States.
Many States like Haryana want to join fully. Irrespective of political parties, States have started realising that the kerosene entering through black market hurts their economy. It reduces the quantum of diesel and petrol sales and the tax on those sales is a loss to the State exchequer.

Kerosene is being sold through fair price shops. There was also a concept of bio-metrics. Can that also be linked to DBT? How will you source data? Bank connectivity is an issue?
This is handled by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution. In the country, there are several States which are digitising their fair price shops.
Both for their own schemes and the Central government schemes also. After Aadhaar, it will be a great help for the mass escalation of the government’s DBT schemes in food, LPG and even kerosene.
Whether it is State government or Central government, slowly the beneficiary list will be based on primary data which includes Social Economic Caste Census (SECC) list, National Food Security Act list, Aadhaar and even consumer numbers of particular items.
People say there are aren’t enough bank branches. You don’t need it when you have payment banks. This is what Digital India is all about. People first thought Digital India is for the rich. But, now people realise it that it is for everyone. Slowly, subsidy will be provided seamlessly. It will be targeted to those who needed it.

You spoke of LPG imports. Would you also look at the big private refiners to supply more?
They are already supplying. As per the policy of the country, they have to give a certain percentage for domestic requirements. But, what we saw from the economics of LPG was that it is cheaper to import rather than source it from domestic refiners. We are one of the few countries who have such a large LPG network and consumer base. Pakistan, Bangladesh and several African countries have not adopted LPG.
We need more LPG, but price sensitivity also has to be kept in mind. What we have realise is that imports of LPG will go up in the coming years and imports are also cost-effective, as we are the biggest market and others are not buying.

Are you taking any corrective measures in terms of LPG pricing?
There can still be a lot of corrective measures in pricing LPG. The logistics of LPG and petroleum products can be streamlined if there were more pipelines and increased use of internal waterways. There are four main logistics routes — roadways, railways, waterways and pipelines.
Road is the costliest, followed by Railways which is slightly cheaper, as in both cases you have to pay two way charges. Shipping is still cheaper than the two.
But, the best is through pipeline as you are paying for one way. Infrastructure capacity building and more investment can help save more money.
(This article was published on May 15, 2016)