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


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


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.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

10304 - Wipro given undue favours in Aadhaar project, says CAG report - Hindu Businessline


In a CAG report, Wipro has been accused of 'undue favours' in the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) project.
India's third largest software exporter, had bagged the UIDAI project in May 2011 for Rs. 134 crore which involved supplying, installing of servers computers, storage systems, security systems in the data centres of UIDAI in Bengaluru and Delhi/NCR region. These systems were to be fully operational, subject to an acceptance test based on UIDAI’s norms, the report stated.
These norms involved the usual warranty, time-related clauses and testing them before deployments, all a part of a technology project. As UIDAI did not have in house technical expertise in this testing, in March 2012, it hired Standardization Testing and Quality Certification (STQC) for conducting third party testing of all equipment and systems on behalf of UIDAI. Third party testing is a norm to ensure that the systems are properly tested but the vendor name was not disclosed. An email sent to Wipro went unanswered.
After testing, UIDAI found out that in certain cases uptime requirement relating to equipments like servers did not meet contractual specifications, the report said. In January 2013, UIDAI even reduced 'uptime' requirements, after which the tests found out that system performance was 'satisfactory' and accepted the equipment in February 2013.
However, on Wipro's requests, UIDAI decided to adopt February 2012 as the date of final commissioning of equipment, noted the report. As a consequence of this action, the warranty period of 12 months for items other than servers and storage system expired in 31 January 2013, a month before its acceptance.
When an audit was carried out UIDAI agreed in March 2013 with the vendor for Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC) of these equipments was found to be Rs. 4.92 crore for the period from February 2013 to January 2014. This, the report finds is a deviation from the original contract, which, could have been avoidable.
When CAG asked UIDAI about this, the latter in its reply said that there were several questions around testing and quality after which testing was done again. CAG has argued that “since the equipment was in operation and Aadhar was getting generated, acceptance of equipments were a contractual requirement and hence covered under warranty.
In a statement Wipro had said:"The company maintains the highest standards of corporate governance and transparency. We respectfully disagree with the findings of the report that UIDAI extended undue favor to Wipro. We draw attention to the response provided by UIDAI in the CAG report that the acceptance of goods was given by the competent authority in UIDAI after the commissioning of the equipment. The annual maintenance contract was signed post the expiry of the warranty period.”
(This article was published on August 2, 2016)