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


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


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, July 30, 2016

10190 - Aadhaar Watch: Newborns, school admissions, college, ration, LPG, DBT & More - Medianama

Aadhaar Watch: Newborns, school admissions, college, ration, LPG, DBT & More
By Nikhil Pahwa ( @nixxin , +NikhilPahwa ) on July 4, 2016

An overview of recent news related to Aadhaar, which points towards the increase in government schemes being linked to the scheme, and issues faced by citizens:

June 27, 2016: PTI reports that A PIL filed in the Bombay High Court, asking for the quashing of an order of the Maharashtra Government which made it mandatory for children to submit the Aadhaar card for school admission, has been dismissed, after the state government said the order wasn’t mandatory. The PIL argued that the order was against a Supreme Court order which said that the government cannot make the Aadhaar mandatory for most activities.

June 28th, 2016: Rajasthan Patrika reports that more than the fixed charge is being charged for the Aadhaar card printing

June 28th, 2016: Deccan Herald reports that Indian Oil corporation, BPCL and HPCL have sent messages to citizens that those who don’t submit their Aadhaar cards will lose oil subsidy.

June 29, 2016: The Hindu reports how ration shop employees told citizens that their supplies will be cut if Aadhaar cards of all family members aren’t linked to the ration cards. 9.39 lakh cards have been linked so far. Ration shops weren’t accepting Aadhaar authentication printed online. The collector now says there is no deadline for linking ration card to Aadhaar.

June 30, 2016: HuffingtonPost reports that Jaspal S Sandhu, the Secretary of the UGC sent a letter to Vice Chancellors of all universities, making it mandatory for the use of Aadhaar for “disbursement of all government subsidies, scholarships and fellowships“. This also appears to be in violation of the SC order.

June 30, 2016: The Hindu reports that Newborns in five government hospitals in Hyderabad will link Aadhaar with birth certificates. The program is expected to be expanded to the remaining government and private hospitals as well. No iris or biometrics of the newborn will be taken, but they’ll take a photo along with authentication of the parents. Re-enrolment using biometrics will be possible after the kids reach the age of 5.

July 1, 2016: Times of India reports that NITI Aayog is consulting states and NGO’s regarding tracking malnutrition schemes on a platform which will be linked to Aadhaar cards.

July 1, 2016: Dainik Bhaskar reports that in Mirzapur, the postal department isn’t delivering Aadhaar cards, and banks aren’t opening accounts without Aadhaar cards.

July 02, 2016: The Financial Express reports that the average balance in Jan Dhan accounts has more than doubled from Rs 795 in September 2014 to Rs 1735 in May 2016 according to IndiaSpend. This is because the Aadhaar-based DBT scheme transferred Rs 61,284 crore into these accounts in FY16. Close to 60% of all 24 crore ration cards in India are linked to Aadhaar numbers. Only a quarter of 5 lakh ration shops have biometric readers.

July 03, 2016: The Tribune reports that all land records, urban or rural, will be linked with Aadhaar, under the “Digital India Land Record Modernisation Programme”. Chandigarh will be the first Union Territory where urban land records will be linked to the Aadhar number.

July 04, 2016: Economic Times reports: by the end of 2015, 62.7 crore people above the age of 18 had received Aadhaar cards, around 101% of the adult population for that year. Delhi has 127% Aadhaar enrollment.

Updates: Corrected the date for one story