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.


Search This Blog

Sunday, June 12, 2016

10126 - AADHAAR CONTROVERSY Six months after Rajasthan introduced it, only 45% beneficiaries used Aadhaar at ration shops - Scroll.In

Published Yesterday · 09:00 am.   Updated Yesterday · 02:58 pm.

Biometric machines failed to authenticate about 10%-15% of the drought-hit state’s one crore ration beneficiaries. But consumers have no recourse to redress.

Image credit:  Anumeha Yadav

Is Aadhaar, India's biometric-based identity number for residents, helping people access social schemes in a more convenient and transparent manner?

The evidence from Rajasthan suggests otherwise.
Six months after Rajasthan started using Aadhaar to authenticate beneficiaries seeking rations from its Public Distribution System, state officials say biometric authentication does not work for 10%-15% of the beneficiaries, most of whom do manual work on farms and construction sites.

From December till May, of a total of over 98 lakh ration beneficiaries, only 44.4 lakh, or 45%, could get their rations after being verified by handheld biometrics-reading machines, shows Rajasthan government data accessed by Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, a grassroots group.

Activists point out that while crops have failed because of a drought in the state, ration beneficiaries have to make repeated trips to ration shops each month and ultimately have to rely on the manual override feature to get the foodgrains they are entitled to.

Authentication failure
“The government claimed in the Supreme Court that Aadhaar will make welfare delivery faster and remove corruption,” said Nikhil Dey, an activist with Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan. “But Department of Information Technology and Communication figures shows that Aadhaar's untested biometric technology is not working well. In fact, it is adding to the hardship faced by people already facing hunger and starvation in drought-affected villages.”

Dey added: “We request the state government to make this data public so there can be an honest assessment of it.”

Dey was speaking at a public hearing on the “Right to Food and drought conditions” in Jaipur on Wednesday. He said that the state government needed to create grievance redressal mechanisms at the village and block levels because at present, beneficiaries do not know whom to approach when their biometric verification through Aadhaar did not work.

In April, Scroll.in reported how there was unrest at ration shops in villages in Ajmer, and near the state capital Jaipur. 

Beneficiaries faced recurring problems in accessing their ration entitlements under the new Aadhaar-based system. Moreover, there was no mechanism to compensate them for the months in which they were unable to get their foodgrain entitlements because of technological glitches, or other problems in the Aadhaar architecture.

Network problems
In December 2015, Rajasthan became the second state after Andhra Pradesh to distribute rations in all districts using Aadhaar’s biometric authentication. Under the new system, a ration beneficiary must place a finger on a machine, which uses the internet to match the individual’s fingerprints against data stored on the centralised Aadhaar database. Once the beneficiary’s identity is confirmed, the ration shop owner hands over the rations at the prescribed rate.

At the public hearing, several people spoke about how they were denied their monthly entitlements of foodgrains under the new system, and did not have any recourse to redress.
Hemraj Sahariya, in his twenties, had worked as a bonded labourer on the farm of a Sikh landowner in Baran district in southern Rajasthan till four years ago. After the previous government redistributed land and rehabilitated his family, Sahariya, who belongs to a particularly vulnerable tribe, started getting 35 kg of subsidised wheat a month under the National Food Security Act. But since April, after the biometrics-based distribution was introduced in Baran district, several Sahariya families like Hemraj's have not been able to get their complete food entitlements.

“In Bhanwargarh, Khandela, Bakanpura and several other panchayats where Sahariyas were rehabilitated, Aadhaar identification does not work at all for 20 to 30 people in each village,” said Sahariya. “In some cases, when we put our fingers, the machine reads out 5 kg, 10 kg, or 15 kg as our entitlement. But we are entitled to 35 kg as per the government norms.”

Gyarsi Bai Sahariya, in her fifties, said that crops had failed in previous years, and several families were facing distress in Shahbad and Kishanganj blocks, where 41 Sahariya tribals had died due to starvation in 2001, triggering a Public Interest Litigation for the Right to Food.

Devli Bai, who traveled from Gaiya village in Udaipur, said that the biometrics machine did not recognise her fingerprints even once. “I cannot get ration from the machine even after I wash my hands three times with soap,” she said. “In my village, if 50 people queue up for rations in the morning, only 10 are able to get grains by the afternoon.”

Shanti Bai, a social activist working in Transport Nagar basti in Jaipur, said that the machine failed to authenticate over a hundred people in the slum, either because their fingerprints did not match, or because their ration card and Aadhaar data had not been linked.

Iris machines
Hansraj Yadav, who is additional director, Unique Identification Authority of India, or UIDAI, the government agency that issues the Aadhaar numbers and controls the database, estimated that fingerprints authentication was not working for over one-tenth of the state's total beneficiaries.

“We have recorded that fingerprints do not match for 10% to 15% ration beneficiaries,” said Yadav, explaining that this was because of errors while capturing fingerprints, as well as changes in fingerprints through cuts, abrasion etc.

He added that in Andhra Pradesh, which also delivers rations after verification via the Aadhaar system, authentication did not work for 12% of those entitled to rations.

An official from the department of information technology and communication, who is supervising the electronic Public Distribution System, said that only 45% of beneficiaries in the state could get their rations using handheld biometrics-reading machines. “We rolled out the use of Aadhaar in three phases beginning with seven districts in November,” he said. “The system was implemented in all districts only by April.”
The official added: “We expect this figure to improve in the next few months and are educating panchayat functionaries on how to correctly put fingers on the machine, to wash hands before use, and to try and stick to using the mobile number registered in Aadhaar databases so that a one-time password may be sent for authentication in case fingerprints do not work.”
Yadav of UIDAI said that learning from the Andhra Pradesh experience, the state was planning to install iris scanners “so that if fingerprints do not match, iris scans can be used to authenticate beneficiaries.”

The Rajasthan government has already purchased iris scanners for 1,000 of the state's 25,000 ration shops as a pilot project.
In districts like Baran and Rajsamand, where ration shop dealers had complained of connectivity problems, the government had provided additional high gain antennas to attach to the point of sale devices, said the official from the department of information technology and communication.


We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.