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


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.


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Saturday, August 27, 2016

10307 - Is Aadhaar voluntarily mandatory now? - Economic Times Blog

August 4, 2016, 1:37 AM IST Economic Times in ET Commentary | Economy, India | ET

By: Aman Sharma

Make no mistake. Enrolling for Aadhaar is now mandatory if you wish to avail a government benefit or subsidy. The alternative mechanism to deliver you the service if you do not have an Aadhaar will kick in, that too temporarily, only if you enrol for an Aadhaar at once.

By enforcing this, the government is taking its chances with the Supreme Court that, through two orders last year, laid out the road-map on how GoI should proceed while paying benefits using Aadhaar as a base.

Paragraphs 1 and 2 of the four-point Supreme Court order on August 11, 2015, are critical here. “The Union of India shall give wide publicity in the electronic and print media including radio and TV networks that it is not mandatory to obtain an Aadhaar card. The production of an Aadhaar card will not be a condition for obtaining any benefits otherwise due to a citizen.” Subsequently on October 15, while allowing government to include more schemes in which benefits can be paid using Aadhaar, the apex court reiterated in Paragraphs 4 and 5 of its order, “We impress upon the Union of India that it shall strictly follow all earlier orders passed by this Court.… We will also make it clear that the Aadhaar card scheme is purely voluntary and it cannot be made mandatory till the matter is finally decided by this Court one way or the other.”


While the Supreme Court is clear that enrolling for Aadhaar is not mandatory, through Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act passed by Parliament this March, GoI has effectively made Aadhaar enrolment mandatory for receiving any subsidy, benefit or service for which expenditure is borne out of the Consolidated Fund of India. According to the Section, an individual should either furnish proof of possession of an Aadhaar number or, if not assigned one, make an application for enrolment.

Oh, yes, the choice is yours

What has caused some confusion is an added proviso that if an Aadhaar is not assigned to an individual, he shall be offered alternate and viable means of identification for delivery of the service. This has been interpreted in some quarters as an individual being able to receive benefits even without an Aadhaar by alternative mechanisms. This matter was raised in Parliament last Friday.

However, information and broadcasting minister Venkaiah Naidu cleared any uncertainty when he issued a statement on behalf of the government the same day. He added a couple of crucial explanatory phrases to Section 7 to state that a person not been assigned an Aadhaar number “shall be enrolled for Aadhaar” and offered alternate and viable means of identification for receipt of subsidy, benefit or service “till Aadhaar number is assigned to him”. In short, Aadhaar enrolment is indeed mandatory if one wants a benefit on a second occasion.

The irony of all this is that Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act has not been operationalised yet. On July 12, the government issued a notification operationalising only Sections 11to 20, 22 to 23 and Sections 48 to 59 of the 2016 Aadhaar Act — not Section 7.
The reason behind the government’s big push is March 2017 as the target to complete Aadhaar enrolment of all 1.28 billion Indians, the current enrolment figure standing at roughly 1.04 billion as of today. Many in the government feel the ‘mandatory-voluntary’ debate is infructuous as 99% of all adults in the country — apart from Assam and Meghalaya where the Aadhaar exercise is not on — already have an Aadhaar number and they are the majority recipients of government benefits.

The real gap is in the 5-18 year category, where students would need an Aadhaar to receive any government scholarship, and the 0-5 age category. Nearly 21crore people in these two age groups are still to get an Aadhaar. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has now been asked to tailor its strategies to speed up enrolment in these age groups and run campaigns in the high-saturation states to enrol any adult who is without an Aadhaar. The inspiration for Aadhaar remains the US Social Security Number that was introduced in 1935. This has, over the years, seen a range of services come under its ambit and has virtually become the national identification number in the US.

The concept here is very clear: if you want a government benefit, there cannot be a situation where you can say, ‘I will neither give an Aadhaar nor apply for it.’ The government says it has aright to check if the money being given by it is reaching the right beneficiary, and you don’t have a choice.

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