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

10281 - How digital will save India: Unlike China, India’s economic revolution will come from services not manufacturing - TNN

July 28, 2016, 2:00 AM IST Nandan Nilekani in TOI Edit Page | Edit Page, India | TOI

Bengaluru: Conventional wisdom for the future of India is that we must grow like China, Japan and South Korea. That we must build large companies creating thousands of jobs and exporting goods. I believe that domestic consumption, not exports, will drive India’s growth. The economy will be services-led and not manufacturing-led. Small businesses will lead rather than large corporations.

Serendipitously, this condition has arisen at a time when the globalisation trend is reversing. Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric recently noted, “Globalisation is being attacked as never before.” Protectionism is growing around the world. Brexit is the latest proof of the challenge. India’s exports standing at $22.17 billion in June have slowed for the 18th consecutive month.

In the meanwhile, a key component of delivering services, the mobile phone, is becoming the universal electronic product in everybody’s hands. India is selling 25 million smartphones per quarter and the anticipation is 700 million smartphones in hand by 2020. Internet penetration is growing. With 332 million internet users India is now the second largest internet market, ahead of the US.

Another building block in India is the Aadhaar number – the world’s largest digital infrastructure for establishing unique identity. The system has a billion people and can already authenticate 100 million transactions per day. Aadhaar is the only billion-user platform outside the US and the only government one.

Designed in 2009 as an online identity platform for all Indian residents, Aadhaar provides open Application Programming Interfaces or APIs, which can be integrated easily into any electronic device. These APIs enable online authentication using a fingerprint or iris. Recently Samsung introduced an Aadhaar-compliant tablet with a camera that in a single click performs iris authentication.

With the 2014 introduction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Jan Dhan Yojana for financial inclusion, more than 290 million bank accounts are linked to Aadhaar today, and several billion dollars of benefits and entitlements have been transferred to people’s bank accounts electronically in real time.

The arrival of New Age platform aggregators – from Amazon and Flipkart for small merchants to Uber and Ola cabs for taxis – will create a huge digital footprint that could be leveraged by individuals and businesses to secure credit. Such platform aggregators will also create jobs, not as monolithic large organisations, but as millions of small entrepreneurs connected to a platform.

These platforms enabling seamless transactions give the service economy a big boost. India is the largest young country in an ageing world and will continue to have a young population for the next 25 years, whereas China has started ageing.
Indians will either migrate or do outsourcing work. Care providers around the world will come from India. There will be doubling of GDP growth in housing, education, health – all services. Services are labour intensive and their incremental return on capital is much faster than manufacturing. And then there will be services like tourism that create jobs – Thailand, for example, has 25 million international visitors per year while India has only 8 million.

Many economists have suggested that India should copy China, but it cannot. When China started its development journey, it had no established competition. Global overcapacity challenges India. For example, China has steel capacity of 822 million tonnes and India has 86 million tonnes. Recently the India government had to protect its steel industry by introducing minimum import pricing. Normal competition without tariffs will be difficult in many sectors.

India’s manufacturing and agricultural sectors are fragmented due to excise and other taxes and also due to a lack of infrastructure, cold chains, storage processing and more. Yet India has a single market for banking, telecom, insurance and capital markets.

Consider, to launch an insurance policy or a mortgage in the US, one must go to 50 regulators. In the EU one must go to all member countries. China has a single market but no free movement of labour. India’s free market for labour combined with single market for services is the reason why services is the country’s biggest growth area. The only place where India can achieve economy of scale is in services. This is apparent in the dramatic growth of service tax.

The India Stack – a set of programming interfaces built on the trifecta of government-created people’s bank account of Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and mobile phones – in brief JAM – enables paperless, presence-less and cashless transactions. The Reserve Bank of India introduces Unified Payment Interface on July 31, allowing all payments to be made by mobile phone, which backed by JAM will lead to dramatic leaps in productivity.
Dramatic consequences will follow creating thousands of startups and billions of dollars of capitalisation. Four shifts will happen. First, banking at scale because everything a bank can do, individuals can do on a mobile phone. Second, investment at scale – people can buy a mutual fund on the phone with one click. Third, credit at scale where entrepreneurs can get a loan with just a click by aggregating their own data. And fourth, skilling at scale – as platforms happen, India will have thousands, millions of people gathering skills to operate in this new economy with great strides in reading and math literacy happening at scale.

World trade may be shrinking and barriers may be emerging among nations, all making movement of labour difficult. India with its vast unified market, youthful labour force and growing digital platform-backed services alone is poised to build a new power economy.

This essay is adapted from a speech delivered at Microsoft Think Next 2016 in Bengaluru on June 23, 2016. Reprinted with permission from YaleGlobal Online


DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author's own.