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.


Sunday, August 28, 2016

10320 - GST: Modi's speech gives impression that PM was driving force behind bill's passage - First Post



Sanjay Singh  Aug 8, 2016 21:23 IST

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi finished his forty-minute long intervention in Lok Sabha on GST Bill on Monday, he left a distinct impression that it was he who was the driving force in his government in conceptualising amendments, building a broad consensus and finally getting it passed from both houses of Parliament.

The passion and clarity with which he spoke on single biggest tax reform bill indicated that the generalist prime minister is no novice in economics, at least as far as the basics of the statecraft and policy making were concerned.

His contention was simple: if India had one Railways, one postal system, one kind of civil and criminal laws, one kind of his pet projects – Digital India, StartUp India, Stand-Up India, then why not One India One Goods and Services Tax system.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking in Lok Sabha on GST Bill on Monday. PTI

In contrast to his predecessor – an economist, Manmohan Singh, who did not leave any lasting impression on the statecraft and policies of the UPA-led government in 19 years – Modi was keen to leave a lasting legacy as someone who eventually pushed for this biggest transformative tax reform since India's Independence.

In the past, at least on two occasions, he made his keenness to understand economics known and also contributed in drafting of the state policy.

First was the decision to continue with Aadhar and link it with a whole lot of taxation, subsidy and welfare schemes so that the amount intended to a designated person on the last mile reached him directly without an interference of intermediaries, official or unofficial.

He subsequently pushed to give a legal cover to Adhar. The bill had its own share of controversies; whether it should be categorised as Money Bill to make the role of Rajya Sabha, where the Congress in a majority, virtually irrelevant. For the record, the decision whether or not a bill can be categorised as Money Bill or not rests solely with the Lok Sabha.

Second was the presentation of Annual Budget of 2016. No prime minister ever, even if Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi had briefly held finance minister's post and had the chance to present Budget put their personal credibility on stake.

But Modi chose to make it different for him. A day ahead of presentation of 2016-17 Budget by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, he said in his Mann Ki Baat: "Friends, your exams are starting. I too have an exam tomorrow. The country's 125 crore people are going to take my examination," the Prime Minister said pointing out that Budget was going to be presented the next day.

But you must have seen how healthy I am feeling, how full of confidence I am. Let my exam take place tomorrow."Though he had talked of it in the context of Class X and XII board examination, but the message was loud and clear. He had personally put in a lot effort in the budget. The popular verdict next day, of experts, industry and common people was positive for him and his government.

His intervention on GST Bill in Lok Sabha was third such occasion when he let it known to the  people at large that he likes to go in details on macro-economic issues. Since the ruling NDA in Lok Sabha has a brute majority, the Lower House would, in any case, have adopted and passed the 122nd Constitutional Amendment Bill with required numbers.

Modi's intervention was curious. By doing that, he sent out two messages – that he takes parliamentary practices seriously and letting his own thought process on GST known, how he cherished its passage and implementation.

He chose to go out in details, which were somewhat different from the facts and merits of the bill presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

Modi's emphasis on how building a consensus has helped, "arithmetic in Rajya Sabha" and putting rashtraniti (national interest) above rajniti (politics) and the benefits it would reap for the state and to the concept of cooperative federalism.

"This decision is not based on majority numbers but it was a journey for building consensus". He termed it the victory of democracy.

In this context, he recalled his meeting with Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh, one from Lok Sabha and one from Rajya Sabha. That way he also responded to a point raised by Congress leader Veerapa Moily who has earlier raised the issue that Lok Sabha was treated as "junior house".

Moily's statement otherwise had loaded connotations for government and also for his own party, the Congress.
He had a message for two social constituencies, poor and small traders. Both his assertions, that most items used by the poor were out of GST purview and it would be in benefit of local baniyas or traders to give a pukka bill (proper receipt) than a kuccha bill (rough estimate on plain paper) will be tested in due course.

But in last three days, Modi had made his mark – on Saturday and Sunday by expressing his outrage against self-styled gau rakshaks and on Monday on GST, which he called Great Steps towards Transformation and Transparency.