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.


Friday, August 5, 2016

10260 - Jan Dhan, Aadhaar, Mudra: Making women a visible part of Indian growth story - Financial Express

In the Indian context, studies related to credit accessibility of women show that relative access to institutional credit of rural women may be limited vis-a-vis their urban counterparts...


By: Soumya Kanti Ghosh and Kajal Ghose | Published: July 21, 2016 6:12 AM

One proxy for women empowerment is the status of rural women in India.

If you thought there is no prize for guessing what JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and mobile in policy parlance) stands for, then you are mistaken. Using a large random sample of Jan Dhan and Mudra accounts opened by the State Bank of India (SBI) between August 2014 and March 2016, we found an enabling traction across Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mudra loans—this is our terminology for JAM.

The logical corollary is a discernible evidence of women empowerment through JAM by allowing them to have better access to credit. We also found that in states with high women literacy, there were more inward remittances, irrespective of gender, and concomitant cash withdrawals.
First, let us take up the issue of women empowerment through JAM. The UN defines women empowerment as the process by which women take control and ownership of their lives through the expansion of their choices.

In general, women empowerment indicates an increase in economic, social, spiritual and political strength, boosting their self-esteem, enlarging their decision-making power and allowing them better access to resources. All this leads to a positive attitude after all.
One proxy for women empowerment is the status of rural women in India. Rural women play a significant role in the life of the society, and national development is not possible without nurturing this segment. In the Indian context, studies related to credit accessibility of women show that relative access to institutional credit of rural women may be limited vis-a-vis their urban counterparts.
In our study, we found that there is indeed traction, though limited, across Jan Dhan and Mudra accounts—primarily in the shishu category of loans, that is loans less than R50,000. Interestingly, if we apply the same percentage of the SBI overlap ratio—that is people having both a Jan Dhan account and a Mudra loan—to the aggregate Jan Dhan accounts opened till date, then we have close to 100 lakh Mudra account holders with a Jan Dhan account.
The good thing is that 23% of Mudra loan account holders with the SBI are women with an average ticket size of around R55,000. Alternatively, this implies that most of the women account holders have taken loans under the shishu category only. In contrast, 65% of the Mudra loan account holders are men with an average exposure of around R87,000, of which there is a good chunk from the economically backward classes.
But the most remarkable finding was the distribution of women entrepreneurs across India, with 36% of the accounts coming from southern India (Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana) and 16% from eastern India (West Bengal, Odisha and Assam). Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh accounted for another 17%. Thus, it clearly seems that states that were laggards in terms of economic growth in the past are seeing more traction in women entrepreneurship through the Mudra route.
In terms of the average exposure amount for women entrepreneurs across states, results were even more interesting. On an average, in most of the states as mentioned above, activities were related to grocery and kirana stores, retail shops and even public utility services. But in some of the smaller states like Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Nagaland, Mizoram, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh and even eastern states like Bihar and Jharkhand, the average exposure was significantly higher than the national average. It is possible that though limited in number, loans may have been availed by women in such states for activities like buying trucks, cars for passenger and freight transport, given the inhospitable terrains which necessitates the need for an efficient transport infrastructure.
In this context of empowering women, an analogy may be drawn directly to the self-help group or SHG-bank linkage programme—often considered as the ultimate benchmark in women’s empowerment and socio-economic development. Loans like the ones under the Mudra scheme are analogous to micro-finance and remain a powerful tool for development as it brings down the capital and the operating costs and helps women entrepreneurship blossom from mere superficiality to productivity.
Now coming back to our second major finding: Nearly 35% of the total inward remittances in the SBI sample are also from states with high women literacy rates, of which 25% are below the age group of 45 years. Similarly, 48% of the cash withdrawal—with a larger probability of women withdrawing cash from their accounts compared to their male counterparts—also comes from such states. This clearly indicates that the inward remittances sent by their male counterparts are possibly being put to more productive use by the female folks, facilitating independent decision-making.
To sum up, it has been now been well-researched that investing in women’s capabilities results in the well-being of the family, especially children. The experience of the successful SHG-bank linkage is a case in point in the Indian context. There is no harm in emulating this in the context of better Mudra loan targeting by using the Jan Dhan account interface. As our results show, even as women entrepreneurs, specifically the rural ones, are somehow using the Mudra route, we must encourage them even more.
This can be achieved by better targeting using Big Data analytics. For example, states with high literacy across women may be specifically targeted for more of Mudra loans. Simultaneously, the government must think seriously about creating a database of women entrepreneurs across states pursuing similar activities.
This will create a successful Mudra-bank linkage. After all, as the SHG example shows, women save more, repay on time and promptly attend SHG meetings. This is all we need for making women a visible part of Indian growth story.
Soumya Kanti Ghosh is chief economic advisor, Kajal Ghose is head of analytics, SBI. Views are personal