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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Sunday, July 24, 2016

10171 - India goes from village to village to compile world’s biggest ID database - The Guardian



Government on course to biometrically register country’s 1.25 billion population as part of plan to modernise administration

A villager uses an iris scanner at an enrolment centre in Rajasthan, India. Photograph: Mansi Thapliyal/Reuters

Tuesday 28 June 2016 14.00 AEST

The digital revolution arrives in remote Indian villages such as Akbarpur by communication methods old and new: a WhatsApp message buzzes through to the village chief; he notifies his fellows via megaphone.

The world’s biggest biometric ID programme is coming to town.
The next day, two men arrive at the village in Palwal district, Haryana state, with devices the residents have never seen: an iris scanner, a fingerprint machine, a camera and laptop. They are here to register the people of Akbarpur.

The officials set up an enrolment centre at the village chief’s house. For three days, queues snake around the courtyard. Some of those who come are afraid the iris scanner will hurt their eyes; others do not understand why they need to be enrolled.



“They took our fingerprints and they used that machine for your eyes. The villagers didn’t know what was going on in the beginning,” says Mukesh Maindhwal, Akbarpur’s new chief.
The Aadhaar scheme was launched in 2009, under former prime minister Manmohan Singh, but the current government, led by Narendra Modi, is credited with rolling it out across India. According to the latest figures in May 2016 from the Unique Identification Authority, more than a billion people have been given Aadhaar numbers. Within the next few months, the details of every person in India will be in the government database.
The government’s task is enormous. India’s 1.25 billion population is second in size only to China. Hundreds of officials have been enlisted to go out to register people and give them a unique identification number, which will be linked to their biometric data. 


Some officials have had to travel through deserts and forests to find remote villages which that are still off the grid. Photograph: Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images

ID programmes the world over trigger warnings from privacy advocates and those who are sceptical of government ability to keep data safe from hackers and criminal elements. But those arguments grip less in India, where the need to modernise government administration is urgent

Currently, many welfare schemes are run by individual states, often allowing corruption and fraud at the local level. The national database will allow the central government to take stock of the population’s needs in various parts of the country and provide services accordingly.

Dr Ajay Bhushan Pandey, director general of the Unique Identification Authority, says the programme will transform India. “Each person will be given a biometric non-duplicable ID. This kind of exercise has never been attempted on this scale anywhere. If a person wants to access any government service, they will need to use their Aadhaar number.

“The Indian parliament passed a law in March with provisions to ensure that Aadhaar data is protected and that any violation of privacy amounts to a criminal act, and bears a minimum jail sentence of three years.”

The data collected by the Aadhaar centres will be stored in a network of servers in the southern city of Bangalore. Information from the database can then be circulated to different authorities. The ID system, according to the government, will prevent welfare fraud and ensure subsidies and social security schemes are reaching the right people. Millions of people under the scheme will also get access to bank accounts for the first time.

Some officials have had to travel through deserts and forests to find remote villages that are still off the grid to take the iris scans and fingerprint data of just a handful of residents. Others run Aadhaar camps in schools or workplaces, where hundreds of people can be registered in a day. In some states, hospitals have started issuing Aadhaar numbers so babies are enrolled within minutes of being born.


Paharganj district in Old Delhi. Field operators are dispatched from hubs in cities. Photograph: Alamy
Akhil Sharma, the government official who runs the WhatsApp group in Haryana, is in charge of sending field operators to various parts of the state. “We have an online portal where people can send requests for enrolment,” he says. “Even rural people know now that they need to be enrolled. We get requests from all over the place, and daily data keeps coming in, even from villages where there is no internet. I don’t know how they find a way to get online, maybe they go to the nearest towns, but we get data from all over the place.”
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Field operators are dispatched from hubs in cities. Govind Singh Rawat has run registration drives and door-to-door campaigns around the capital, Delhi, for two years. In that time, he has registered about 250,000 people. “Many people, especially elderly people who are 95 or older, don’t understand why they need this. They say, ‘We have lived all our lives without all this, why do we need to register now?’”
Rawat says the Aadhaar programme’s ambition can sometimes become a weakness. “Many of us field staff get beaten up by people, who ask us why we’re not working faster. When we set up registration centres, sometimes there are long queues and people have to wait for hours. They think we are being slow and inefficient.
“We try to explain to them that the machines take a certain amount of time to process each person’s data, and we can’t work any faster than that.”