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

10296 - For DBT to be a game-changer, govt should not lose focus on these issues - First Post



Seetha  Aug 1, 2016 16:42 IST

DBT (direct benefit transfer) has redefined the public service delivery system, cabinet secretary P.K. Sinha claimed at a workshop on DBT last week. It has, he said, increased trust in the government machinery, since people were now getting the welfare payments due to them without hassles or bribes.

The first part of the statement is, no doubt, true. DBT does bring about a paradigm shift in the delivery of welfare benefits. It does, as Sinha said, significantly bring down duplication and leakage and increases efficiency. But while it does bring huge gains to the government, is the beneficiary experience as painless as it is made out to be? That question needs to be asked as the government’s National DBT (direct benefit transfer) Portal is now up and running.

DBT payments for MNREGA have 40% failure rate. Reuters
This will bring together, on one platform, information relating to all DBT programmes by the central government. Right now, information is scattered across individual departments and there is little sense of the various benefits a family is getting. This portal will allow such mapping, down to the district level. It will also enable analytics – how many DBT payments are being made in one district, what kind of payments, and the like. What’s more, families and individuals can also keep track of their payments through this portal.

The portal will start with just information from central government ministries and departments. Over time, the centre hopes, states will also come on to this platform, which will help eliminate duplication and availing of the same benefits from different sources, which even insistence on Aadhaar may not do.

For example, someone who has a ration card in his village in one state can apply for and get a ration card in another state where he is employed (the requirement of getting a no-objection certificate from the home state can be easily managed). Since the food departments of states are not connected with each other, the same Aadhaar card can be used for two cards in two states. If states come on to this portal, departments of different states can start talking to each other and to central government departments through this portal, reducing the scope for such duplication.

The portal is part of a massive DBT push that the government is driving. There is no doubt that the whole DBT initiative, the first feeble steps relating to which were taken during the last years of the United Progressive Alliance government, has really gone places under the Narendra Modi government.

A DBT cell in the finance ministry’s expenditure department has been converted into a DBT Mission under the Cabinet Secretariat. As many as 74 schemes run by 17 ministries have shifted to DBT payments. As much as Rs 1.2 lakh crore have been disbursed among 30 crore beneficiaries till now.
All ministries making welfare payments have been told to shift to DBT mode by September 30; they, as well as Union Territories, also have to set up DBT cells by then. All state welfare schemes where the centre is making payments will also have to shift to DBT mode by end-March 2017.

So that’s all the good news. But the DBT drive is not without its share of problems, and beneficiaries are not overwhelmingly enthused as Sinha would like us to believe.
At that workshop for states he spoke at, ground-level implementation problems did get highlighted.

Take the case of DBT payments for MNREGA wages. That has often been touted as a big success, but, according to accounts of some of the delegates, a representative of the rural development ministry pointed out to a 40 per cent failure rate in the Aadhaar-based bank transactions. Money goes into individual accounts through the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) platform and this, it was reportedly pointed out, is not linked to all banks, certainly not the destination banks.
Delegates also pointed out that even when funds get credited into a beneficiary’s account, getting the money in hand is still problematic. The banking correspondent model just does not seem to be working. There is an inter-operability issue – the banking correspondent of one bank is not always able to make payments to someone in a village who may have an account in another bank. At the valedictory session, there was frank admission that 70 per cent of the payments made through micro ATMs and banking correspondents are failing. There are rural internet connectivity issues as well, which put hurdles in authentication of biometrics as well as financial transactions.
But the government is not only alive to these issues, it is also working overtime to sort these out. The decision on India Post as a payment bank and on micro ATMs may have been delayed but has finally been taken. The rural optic fibre rollout is being fast-tracked.

If DBT has to be the game-changer it is being made out to be, the pace of all this should not slacken.