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, August 7, 2016

10278 - Aadhaar: Will it improve your health?- Live Mint

Wed, Jul 27 2016. 04 41 AM IST



Aadhaar has the potential to improve health outcomes, reduce medical errors, and save people both time and money

Bill Gates once said this about the computer: “Never before in history has innovation offered the promise of so much to so many in so short a time.” There is no better place to find this promise than right here in India, and no better example than Aadhaar, the country’s unique identity system, an identity database over which an authentication platform has been built.

India’s unique identity scheme has enrolled almost a billion members already, having covered almost 50% of the population just a year ago. By the end of this year, the tally will stand close to 100% of all residents in India. With the scope of the project enlarged from what was originally envisaged as a proof of identity and proof of residence project, Aadhaar now also serves as the financial address for its residents. 

Armed with this system, India has been able to revolutionize its financial systems, rethink the nature of its welfare state, cutting back on benefits in-kind and market-distorting subsidies, and turning to direct cash transfers paid into the Jan Dhan accounts of the neediest. But what about health?

In his book Rebooting India, Nandan Nilekani has provided a first cut on how Aadhaar can be used to overhaul the healthcare sector when he discussed data for public health surveillance in quickly identifying patterns of emergent epidemics, and understanding our rapidly changing burden of chronic diseases compared to patterns in Western Europe.

This seems to be the tip of a very big iceberg. In our everyday world, a unique identifier means better medical records for the individual and family, and links connecting the patient experience regardless of doctor or facility, something desperately needed in our mobile and migratory social context.

Perhaps the biggest win that Aadhaar can bring about is that it can accelerate the process of “interoperability” in healthcare. Interoperability is the seamless exchange of data across the patient care continuum, not just between the internal systems of the provider network, but also an outside laboratory and pharmacy, and their connection with the insurance company’s claims department. When systems are interoperable, patients and their families and doctors can access patient information. This translates into no longer having to lug stacks of charts, lab and x-ray results, and other documentation from doctor to doctor.

When systems are interoperable, if you need care on a business trip to Hyderabad or Bengaluru, again, the provider will connect with your provider network in New Delhi, or wherever you reside. That saves you and your family time and money, not to mention you receive appropriate care more quickly. 

Yes, Aadhaar has the potential to improve health outcomes, reduce medical errors, and save you both time and money. That improves health, productivity and satisfaction. At a system level, it can save precious funds. In the US, interoperability has the potential to lower health costs by $30 billion annually. Currently, there is $36 billion in addressable waste within the US healthcare system of which 97% is attributed to lack of interoperability.

New ideas and initiatives are taking hold as leaders discover its possible applications. One simple example is an initiative in Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh, where doctors and nurses are tracked for absenteeism using biometric markers. This has improved attendance and access by patients.

Fast forward: Links with longer-term health sector reforms?
India is struggling with the way forward in terms of health reforms. Recently, the government has looked to state nodal agencies as loci for moving to a social insurance model as in Canada, to improve financial protection while improving quality. Could Aadhaar be linked to bank accounts for automatic premium payment by above poverty line (APL) groups?
In the villages of Rajasthan, for example, under a recent public-private partnership, over 40,000 service centres provide electronic payment of utilities and other services. Many of these villages lack water and sanitation, yet monetary transactions are electronic and just a click away. Primary care centres are now starting to use Aadhaar for linking individuals and their medical records.

But is Aadhaar enough for cementing all these innovations? International experience suggests caution. Doctors and nurses may manipulate tracking systems. Consumers may evade premiums, not seeing coverage as a good investment, just as has occurred in nearby Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. More may be needed such as high-quality services, and subsidies of premiums for the near poor and informal sectors, and education for accessing entitled services. While Rajasthan villages have electronic service centres, the primary care centre down the road often still has no drugs or the doctor is absent. Building a “demand side” with no access to quality services will not work.

Where next?
It may be argued that Aadhaar is necessary for big sectoral reforms, but it is certainly not sufficient. It can be a building block for the medium term. The supply side asks, however, remain. The central government must play a key role in setting data standards and regulations, and perhaps incentivizing the development of the network for health. At the same time, it will need to protect data regarding patient privacy and confidentiality of records.

Aadhaar’s benefits can clearly extend to our individual health, on to a healthier system for all. The prime minister has remarked that India is becoming the fascination of the world—the potential of the Aadhaar-health connection is just one fascinating aspect that leaders are watching from around the world.

Jack Langenbrunner is senior program officer, Comparative Health Systems in Integrated Delivery Team, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Comments are welcome at theirview@livemint.com