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.


Sunday, July 17, 2016

10149 - Where is the grain, ask Food Act beneficiaries - The Hindu

(BIHAR)/GUMLA (JHARKHAND), June 16, 2016



Testifying in public hearing at Bharno block in Gumla district of Jharkhand. Photo: Manob Chowdhury

"Out of 200 residents of Pandarni village, only three can avail rations from Keshari’s shop," said Ms Sukramani, a resident of Bharno.

It was about few tense minutes for nearly one thousand local residents gathered under a shamiana in Bharno block office in Gumla district, about 50 kilometres south of Ranchi. The crowd was awaiting the arrival of Sunil Kumar Keshari, the ration dealer of Bharno, who is allegedly not providing rations eligible households.

“Out of 200 residents of Pandarni village, only three can avail rations from Keshari’s shop,” said Ms Sukramani, a resident of Bharno.

Clearly it is a violation of National Food Security Act [NFSA], 2013, which has marked the eligibility and exclusion criteria. Ms Sukramani, like many others, is sufficiently eligible to receive rations under Priority household [five kilogram of food grain per person each month] or Antyodaya [35 kilogram per month for each household] but not covered under any.

An elaborate public hearing was conducted in Gaya and Gumla following a survey conducted in six States by the researchers in Department of Economics in Ranchi University and IIT, Delhi. Halfway through the public hearing in Bharno the women of Pandarni started waving their yellow ration cards.

“The card lapsed and no one bothered to check if we are getting ration for nearly a year,” Ms Sukramani said in presence of members of block and district administration. She nearly cried while talking to The Hindu later.

“Do I look like a rich woman who is not entitled for ration?” she asked standing outside the shamiana-canopy.

Inside the canopy the villagers exploded as Mr Keshari, the dealer, appeared. “Why are you not providing rations to these women,” asked Reetika Khera, an associate professor of IIT, Delhi, orchestrating the public hearing.

“Because the list that I have does not feature their names,” said Mr Keshari, who is the only dealer to have appeared in the hearing. Thus it revealed that there are two lists– one, with the eligible households and the other that missed many of those. Speaking to The Hindu Mr Keshari said he is not responsible for the anomaly. “It is provided to me by the government officials,” he said.

The mystery of two lists was partly explained by Suruchi, one of the student volunteers. “One list is based on whether eligible households have Aadhaar card and the other is a simple list of beneficiaries downloaded from the website. It seems, those who have Aadhaar and featured on NFSA list have received grain, while those without Aadhar have not,” she said. Being reminded of a Supreme Court order that Aadhaar card is not mandatory for eligibility under NFSA, the administration denied having distributed grain on basis of Aadhaar.

Mr Keshari, however, accepted that the card holders are given less than 35 kilogram of grain allotted under Antyodaya, while they are charged for the entire quantity. “We receive less from the district, while in papers we are allotted more…the problem is at the top,” he explained. Professor of Economics and one of the architects of NFSA, Jean Dreze, questioned the allegation.

“This allegation could have been true earlier but got very little validity now as most of the States, including Jharkhand, have initiated doorstep delivery up to the ration shops. So the dealer’s excuse is not acceptable,” Mr Dreze said.

Other complaints
The “last mile delivery” from the dealer to the household is just one of the multiple complaints that surfaced in the survey and the hearing. While the household coverage under Priority or Antyodaya increased under NFSA, it varies “significantly” across regions, a release by the organizers claimed. The survey– conducted in about 3600 households– underscores many problems.

“Missing persons on the ration cards was a problem…approximately, every one person in eight is left out of the ration card,” it said. Receiving less ration than entitlement, not receiving the quota of grain or issuance of cards with duplicate names were some of the other complaints.

An interesting, albeit corrupt, practise on part of the dealers was highlighted by Basanti Devi of Rakshi village in Banke Bazar block in Gaya district of Bihar.

“The dealer asks for all the coupon [of the year] on basis of which the entitlement is distributed. The dealer keeps coupons and distributes ration according to his whims,” Ms Devi said. The dealers are supposed to take one coupon per person per month. The Block Development Officer of Banke Bazar accepted that it is a problem and asked not to give the coupons. “We could be penalised in a bigger way if we do not give the coupens,” said Ms Devi.

However, in spite of its shortcomings NFSA has largely fulfilled its promises. “The purpose of NFSA was to make people aware of their entitlement– to make it simple and clear– and it was largely achieved. Moreover, household coverage has more than doubled since NFSA was passed and thus the purpose of having such an Act is served,” said Mr Dreze.