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.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

10317 - National Population Register project now a Rs 4,800-crore sinkhole - Hindustan Times

  • Aloke Tikku, Hindustan Times, New DelhiUpdated: Aug 08, 2016 01:05 IST

Rajasthani women show their Aadhaar cards while standing in a queue to vote in panchayat elections. The Centre says the population register should not expect the UIDAI to give it the biometric data of millions of people, collected for the purpose of obtaining the 12-digit Aadhaar number. (PTI file)

The National Population Register (NPR) is as good as dead, and the Rs 4,800 crore invested in the project might just go down the drain.

The Centre has made it clear that the home ministry-run population register should not expect the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to give it the biometric data of millions of people, collected for the purpose of obtaining the 12-digit Aadhaar number. Without it, the NPR database – once touted as a way to prevent Bangladeshi migrants from settling in – becomes a mere list of names with some demographic details of Indian residents thrown in.

The UIDAI – which collects photographs, iris scans and fingerprints from citizens – uses the biometric data to identify duplicates. It has generated 1.04 billion Aadhaar numbers, and plans to cover the country’s population by March 2017.

Last year, the home ministry had launched a door-to-door survey to collect Aadhaar numbers from people across the country, and pull out biometric data from the UIDAI database. However, the Aadhaar law passed last month barred the UIDAI from sharing the data – throwing a spanner in the works.
“The home ministry has the biometric details of only 280 million people – those who turned up at its camps over the last few years,” said a government official familiar with the project. “However, this will only go waste unless you have the complete database.”

Nearly Rs 4,800 crore of the Rs 6,600-crore approved project cost has already been spent.

The NPR project, inspired by a citizenship card project conceived by BJP patriarch LK Advani, was launched during former home minister P Chidambaram’s tenure in 2009-2010. The idea was to freeze the population register after giving people three chances to enrol. Anyone who came to get enrolled later would have to explain the delay.
Advani had hoped this would make it difficult for fresh immigrants to get into the register.

The progress of the two overlapping identity databases was stymied by a tug of war between the home ministry and the UIDAI, after both tried to independently procure biometric data. 

Led by founder chairman Nandan Nilekani, the UIDAI hit the ground running – leaving the bureaucracy-driven NPR far behind.

NPR was also slow because it enrolled people in accordance with households, not just individuals.

A government official said it was ironical that the primary utility of the NPR database would lie in improving that of the UIDAI – a rival entity with which it once fought many bitter battles for survival.