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


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


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.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

10075 - Cut out middlemen: Modi is right in backing technology to choke corruption in welfare benefits - TNN

May 31, 2016, 2:00 AM IST TOI Edit in TOI Editorials |

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for Middleman Mukt Bharat resonates, for a simple reason. All political parties see themselves as ‘pro-poor’ and plough enormous funds into social welfare schemes. However, the bulk of those funds are siphoned off by middlemen. Almost three decades after then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi famously argued that only 17 paise of every rupee spent on the poor actually reaches them, the ghost of corruption and inefficiency still hangs over the sarkari system of social welfare.

However, the overlapping potential of technology and the universalisation of banking – through the trinity of Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile technology (JAM) – now makes it possible to eliminate middlemen from the delivery of welfare schemes. 

Any political party that succeeds in doing this while in government will transform India’s democracy and win the gratitude of the electorate for a long time to come.

Social welfare schemes have always been a boon for middlemen who have exploited various loopholes to profiteer. The system of delivering welfare such as food grains at highly discounted price has provided incentives for large scale pilferage. Ghost beneficiaries are one symptom of this flawed approach. 

Building on Direct Benefits Transfer initiated by its predecessor, NDA has managed to weed out 3.5 crore bogus beneficiaries saving over Rs 21,000 crore under the LPG Pahal scheme in 2015 and 2016. The use of Aadhaar in Public Distribution System (PDS) by states like Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Puducherry has already yielded results with Rs 10,000 crore as savings in the kitty. As many as 1.6 crore bogus ration cards were culled from the list of beneficiaries. UPA’s flagship programme – MGNREGA – too has managed to save Rs 3,000 crore in 2015.

The drive to loosen the hold of middlemen needs to extend to other areas. Millions of small farmers are in the grip of middlemen linked to agricultural mandis or markets. Eliminating the monopoly of agricultural mandis on sale of farm produce will introduce competition and help farmers get a better deal. If NDA wants to make good its promise of doubling farmers’ income, it should free them from the clutches of middlemen. 

Today, it is possible to directly transfer cash or food coupons to poor households. The time is ripe for the country to move away from the traditional mai baap sarkar towards a vibrant social democracy that thrives on innovation.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author's own.