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.


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

10286 - PMO turns to UIDAI to ensure Aadhaar for all citizens by March 2017 - Economic Times

By Aman Sharma, ET Bureau | Jul 30, 2016, 06.46 AM IST
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PMO target of March 2017 to finish the Aadhaar project for all 128 crore Indians is driving the change in heart, with earlier concerns over UIDAI’s processes now consigned to the dustbin.

The ordeal of apportioning the labour of identifying each and every Indian citizen to two government bodies has lately swung one way with the Prime Minister's Office setting a strict deadline of March 2017 to roll out the Aadhaar project that would identify every citizen. 

It was supposed to be grand division of the country in 2012, neatly between the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and the Registrar General of India (RGI), to speed up the Aadhaar-for-all project. Four years later and with 25 crore people in the country still to get an Aadhaar, the union government has now ultimately turned to the UIDAI to deliver the goods. 

Last month, UIDAI was asked to enter 10 states and union territories where so far only the RGI had done enrolment since 2012. This comes after five states and Union Territories (UTs) were earlier transferred to the UIDAI from the RGI in 2014. 

From having 17 states and UTs under its ambit in 2012, as per the grand division, the RGI is now left with just two states - Assam and Meghalaya - with a National Register of Citizens exercise going on in the former on SC's orders. The Prime Minister Office (PMO) target of March 2017 to finish the Aadhaar project for all 128 crore Indians is driving the change in heart, with earlier concerns over UIDAI's processes now consigned to the dustbin. 

"The RGI enrolment model has a flaw that leads to slow progress. They hold a camp, maybe 2-3 times to enroll people for biometrics who are residents of that village as per the census records. It is like a census operation and a monopoly operation. Many a time, the person may not be in the village when the camp is held or could have migrated to some other city," a senior government official explained. 

He said the UIDAI however has a system of permanent enrolment camp and multiple registrars to collect biometrics - further a person migrating, from say Uttar Pradesh to Delhi, has the flexibility of giving biometrics in Delhi at any UIDAI camp to enroll for Aadhaar. 

Maybe this explains why RGI states fell well behind in enrolment saturation while many UIDAI states have crossed 100 per cent saturation in 2015 itself. While the UPA did the grand division in 2012, it realized its folly two years later with the high population states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar - which were allotted to RGI in 2012 - logged less than 10 per cent enrolment. 

In early 2014, UPA shifted UP and Bihar along with three other states and UTs to UIDAI's ambit. Last June, the Modi government found that Aadhaar saturation in the 12 states and UTs left with RGI was struggling as well - prompting the latest move to transfer 10 states in one go to the UIDAI. 

A senior UIDAI official said the writing was on the wall in 2012 itself. "When the grand division happened, UIDAI had already collected biometrics of 18 crore people and we contended that we have the capacity to enroll 10 lakh people daily. The RGI by then had collected biometrics of just one crore people. However, the big population states like UP, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal still got allotted to the RGI," the official said. 

Officials in the Home Ministry, which administers control over the RGI, however said RGI's processes of enrolment are far more fool-proof than those of UIDAI and said it was a question of "caution and proceed rather than speed." UIDAI officials however point out a crucial flaw - that the RGI was never mandated to enroll children from 0-5 years of age - who form a population of almost 12 crore in the country and are the biggest chunk of persons still without an Aadhaar in the country. 

At a meeting chaired by the Cabinet Secretary late last year, the Home Ministry was told to bring a cabinet note to authorize RGI to enroll children of this age group as they were getting left out in the RGI-held states. "The UIDAI will now enroll the 0-5 children in RGI-held states. At the time of the grand division, no thought was given on how RGI will enroll 0-5 age children without a mandate," an official says. 

UIDAI is now working overtime to ensure that the 10 states and UT's it has got last month reach 100 per cent saturation by March next year, as per a target being monitored closely by the PMO. Like in West Bengal, the UIDAI has asked the RGI to use the 506 enrolment machines with the latter for enrolling children between 5-15 years of age in schools and anganwadis. 

The West Bengal government has been told to buy and deploy at least 2000 enrolment machines for enrolling the 23 per cent of the state's population that still does not have an Aadhaar. "This is the strategy UIDAI adopted in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Haryana to speed up enrolment," a top UIDAI official said. 

UIDAI is now also entering sensitive states like Jammu & Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland where there could be security challenges when it comes to enrolment and required strategies will need to be drawn up. 


"The premise of the grand division was that the sensitive Coastal and Border States were allotted to RGI and states where UIDAI had already done high enrolment were allotted to us. Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are the biggest examples of UIDAI's success - when we got these states in 2014 from RGI, the enrolment levels there were less than 10 per cent. Today, UP stands at 75 per cent enrolment while Bihar stands at 65 per cent enrolment. However, 101 per cent adults in UP and 87 per cent adults in Bihar have an Aadhaar number today. We will repeat this performance by March 2017 in the 10 states and UTs we have got," a top UIDAI official said.