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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Friday, June 24, 2016

10147 - PLUGGING FOR THE POOR IN A WELFARE STATE - Daily Pioneer

Wednesday, 15 June 2016 | Uttam Gupta | in Oped

The Modi Government has sought to plug the leakages in the welfare delivery mechanism. It must now sustain the momentum to achieve double-digit growth rates

Three decades ago, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi estimated that only 15 paise out of every rupee meant for the poor actually reached them because of leakages in the delivery system. This was a tacit admission that brazen loot of public money was happening but nothing was being done to curb it. Successive political establishments happily recalled the statement but never introspected on its seriousness.

In his two years in office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi not only analysed the modus operandi of how the resources meant for the poor was being misappropriated, but also galvanised the entire Government machinery to stem the rot. The outcome of team Modi's efforts, especially in key areas of subsidy on LPG, food under the public distribution system (PDS), kerosene, pension and payments under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) are there for all to see. All of these point towards immense opportunities for garnering huge savings, badly needed to fulfil the bare minimum needs of the poor.

Using the Aadhaar-based system for direct benefit transfer ( wherein subsidy is directly credited to the beneficiary's bank account, duly authenticated with Aadhaar number), the Government has identified ‘bogus’ beneficiaries and excluded them from the ambit of welfare schemes. In LPG, a whopping 35 million bogus beneficiaries have been weeded out, leading to a saving of Rs21,672 crore (Rs14,672 crore during 2014-2015 and Rs7,000 crore during 2015-2016).

In food, 16 million bogus ration cards were identified in Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Puducherry and Delhi alone. By stopping the release of subsidised food on these cards, the Government saved about Rs10,000 crore. Likewise, weeding out duplicates under MGNREGA resulted in a saving of Rs3,000 crore during 2014-2015. Leakages in scholarships and pension schemes in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh also plugged savings to the tune of Rs2,000 crore.

All put together, the Government saved Rs36,500 crore. This is just the tip of an iceberg. When wholesome coverage all-over India is achieved, savings will be mammoth. According to officials, putting PDS and MGNREGA payments under Aadhaar-based system alone will save about Rs100,000 crore. And these savings will accrue every year.

These savings are 0.8 per cent of India's gross domestic product (about two trillion dollars). Thus, by eliminating bogus beneficiaries, during the current year, the Government can achieve fiscal deficit of 2.7 per cent against a target of 3.5 per cent. For 2017-2018, it can touch 2.2 per cent as against the three per cent target — as per its fiscal consolidation roadmap. This will have unprecedented beneficial effect on the economy by way of low inflation, lower interest rates, higher sovereign rating and more of foreign direct investment.

Second, savings can be used to increase coverage for the poor under welfare schemes. Modi has amply demonstrated this in the case of LPG. By leveraging exclusion of 35 million bogus connections and another over 10 million households surrendering under ‘Give It Up’ campaign, the Government provided connections to 30 million poor households. Another 50 million will be covered in the next three years.

The same approach is being adopted for kerosene wherein in Haryana alone, 600,000 bogus connections were stopped and more will follow as direct benefit transfer has begun (in select districts). This will be good for the environment as well as for kerosene which is being diverted for mixing with diesel adding to pollutants in the air.

A third positive spin-off will be increased availability of resources for investment in infrastructure viz, roads (including rural roads), highways, ports, railways etc. For building infrastructure to the required level, the country needs an investment of one trillion dollar (equivalent to half of India's GDP) of which 50 per cent has to be contributed by the Government. Savings by plugging leakages in subsidy pipes will come very handy to achieve this goal.

Finally, once the corruption money is released, the economic system is laundered producing all sorts of ill-effects. For instance, this money is used for hoarding food items and creating artificial scarcity. It goes for hoarding real estate/property leading to skyrocketting prices. In short, it can inflict serious damage in every sector. Most of it will stop once the leakages from welfare schemes are plugged.


Hopefully, the momentum will be sustained in the years to come; thus, laying a solid foundation for India to traverse on a double digit growth trajectory and ensure a decent living for the citizens.