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.


Saturday, June 4, 2016

10076 - Paytm to have Rs 1-lakh cr GMV by 2018: Vijay Shekhar Sharma - Business Standard

Interview with CEO, Paytm
May 31, 2016 Last Updated at 06:56 IST


Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Paytm CEO

Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and chief executive of One97Communications, which runs Paytm, spoke to Nivedita Mookerji on the group's payments bank plans, funding and valuation in e-commerce and its biggest investor Alibaba's India foray. Edited excerpts:

Do you see this as a challenging time for fundraising in e-commerce?

I can say it's not difficult for us. There's more demand (to invest) than we can handle, there's more incoming request than there was previously. And we have said more 'no' than 'yes'.

When is your next round of funding?

We don't need money now. We have enough money for current operations. People have been making offers and benchmarking prices, while we are saying 'not yet'….

Has your company experienced a valuation markdown like some others?

The offers that we have received are many times over our expected valuation. We are in the business to build money, not to raise money.

What would you peg Paytm's valuation at?

We are not in the market for fundraising, so I cannot give a number yet.

Why do you think valuations in some leading e-commerce companies such as Flipkart have been marked down?

Valuation is typically based on expectation of a business but it is not a single depiction of a company. A markdown could be because of market conditions and demand at a certain point. It may not be a true reflection of a company's intrinsic value. I think the valuation talk is overrated. Founders and entrepreneurs should build intrinsically value-led companies, so that if you are not there, people will miss you hell of a lot. For instance, if Amazon is not there in the US or Alibaba is not there in China, people will miss. If Google is not there, you will miss it a lot.

What about Flipkart? Will it be missed if it was to go?

I'm sure Flipkart will be missed by people who are used to it. There's no doubt about it.

Are you planning to hire more students from IIT, IIM campuses as some rivals have kept students waiting?

Surprisingly, we underestimated our requirements in bank and finance while we hired. So, we can pick up another 100 - given a choice - from IITs, IIMs, XLRI and others soon. This is in addition to recent 45 campus placements.

What's the employee strength and outlook?

It's around 4,500 now, up from 3,500 last year. We have hired more than 200 in technology and business teams this year. Within one year of launching payments bank, the employee strength will be 5,000.

What's your thought on companies shifting from gross merchandise value (GMV) of products sold on a platform to customer satisfaction metrics?

Those who were chasing GMV were dumb from Day One. It was not a number to chase. Their math was not right.

What are the financial goals for the group?

By April 2018, we should have a transaction GMV of Rs 1 lakh crore, up from Rs 20,000 crore now.

Currently, what's the Alibaba play for Paytm?

They are the most important and incredible partners for us. We continue to leverage each others' capability. They also bring us money, surprisingly (laughs).

What if Alibaba enters the Indian e-commerce market on its own? Does that worry you?

No, it is not a worry. We have said clearly that Paytm will be known as payments and financial services company. I haven't heard that Alibaba has plans in those areas in India.

But do you believe that Alibaba will make a direct entry into India on its own, rather than with companies where it has invested?

That's a commercial and economic model discussion. I don't think I have a direction on that. I know Paytm will be a formidable banking and financial services company. We both (Alibaba and Paytm) are in sync. They are giving us ammunition in technology, resources and money as we demand and as we need.

Are you looking for another round of funds from Alibaba?

We have money for 31 quarters if we were to carry on with our current businesses. Once we launch payments bank, the money will still last us three to four years. There has to be tremendous reason to raise money or if someone is selling.

Are you looking at phasing out e-commerce or any other segment over time?

E-commerce is an incredible asset for us, like Amazon Web Services. It is a profitable asset in our business book. It is also critical for access to merchants. As for phasing out, the recharge business may come down in percentage terms in the total transaction pie. It is 25 per cent now and may be down to 5-7 per cent in one year.

How will you rank the segments within the group, in terms of profitability potential?

Financial services will be on top followed by commerce, treasury and payment. Wallet or payment is last because we want to incentivise merchants and consumers. That should remain sustainable rather than looking for profit.

When are you launching the payments bank and how much will you invest?

We will launch by Diwali and will invest around Rs 300 crore to begin with. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has mandated an investment of Rs 150 crore.

How many bank branches are you looking at and which regions do you want to go into first?

We are not aggressive on branches. Maybe one or two, while focusing more on business correspondents. We want to begin with Northeast and central India as they are the toughest. If we solve the tough places, we will be able to solve the rest.

There are concerns around the business model of payments bank and whether they can be profitable.

It is a totally profitable business model. Profitability is not a distant dream. No mark has been decided by the board. The idea is to make sure you are prudent enough and start making money.

What about profitability in your e-commerce business?

We are among the rare e-commerce companies to have started making money. We are technically profitable.

In payments bank, what will be your acquisition cost of a customer?

We are setting it at $1, including know-your-customer (KYC). Currently, the group's acquisition cost of a customer is $2. We have to keep it low.

Are there any regulatory challenges in banking?

Not now, unless roadblocks come later. In KYC, we are talking to the regulator to understand the rules… We want to build India's first Aadhaar-only bank.

Is it a concern that three banking licencees have dropped out?
Not at all. People have to discover their business models. Ours is sorted. We may bring a new banking business to the world along with RBI.