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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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

10368 - Parents struggle to sign up infants, toddlers for Aadhaar as Centre eyes 100% enrolment by March - Scroll.In

Published Aug 29, 2016 · 12:30 pm.   


Critics say making the identification number mandatory for schemes pertaining to nutrition and education may result in exclusion of beneficiaries.

Image credit:  Anumeha Yadav

Anara Devi, a 50-year-old domestic help in Delhi and a migrant from Uttar Pradesh is the first working woman in her family. When her granddaughter was born last year, Anara Devi wanted her to have access to the best school facilities.

For this, she tried signing the child up for Ladli, a Delhi government scheme that provide financial assistance for a girl's education till secondary school. However, Devi’s granddaughter was turned away because the eight-month-old was not enroled in Aadhaar, a project that aims to assign a biometrics-based number to every resident.

The Delhi Women and Child Development Department officials would not allow her benefits under the scheme without an Aadhaar number.

Devi said her daughter-in-law had given birth in the government-run Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi. “But they insisted on an Aadhaar for her,” she said, showing a copy of the birth certificate. “We missed out on Rs 11,000 benefit despite my granddaughter having been born through an institutional delivery.”

The Aadhaar or Unique Identification project was run under an executive order from 2009 when it was launched till this year. State governments, including the Delhi government, effectively made the Aadhaar mandatory for several schemes. In Delhi, it was made mandatory for the Ladli scheme, leading to exclusion of children like Devi's grand daughter.

After several cases were filed in the Supreme Court challenging the legal and constitutional validity of the project, the court passed orders in October 2015 allowing the voluntary use of Aadhaar in only five schemes

In March 2016, National Democratic Alliance passed the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits, and Services) law.

The new Aadhaar law states that the government can ask residents to produce an Aadhaar number for accessing any "subsidy, benefit or service". The law states that "if an Aadhaar number is not assigned" to an individual, they may use alternate means of identification. During the debate in parliament, however, legislators pointed out that when a government agency asks for an Aadhaar number mandatorily, a beneficiary has no choice but to get an Aadhaar number.

The government aims to cover the entire population, especially infants and children, under Aadhaar by March 2017.

Driving enrolment up
More than 98% adults in India are enrolled in the centralised Aadhar database and the government's focus has now shifted to children.
The Prime Minister’s Office has asked for five major central schemes for children to be linked to Aadhaar, reported the Economic Times on August 22.
Of 23.4 crore Indians who do not have an Aadhaar number till now, 92.7%, or 21.7 crore, are children, the report said. Of this, children below the age of five have the lowest enrolment rate, at 23%.
“Aadhaar enrolment for adults is nearly complete,” a senior official in the Cabinet Secretariat told Scroll.in. “The focus will now be on children.”

The Centre now plans to link to Aadhaar the mid-day meal scheme for schools; the Integrated Child Development Services scheme, which provides supplementary nutrition to infants; Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan for universal education; and the Integrated Child Protection Scheme, to safeguard rights of children.
However, gauging from the challenges that families in Delhi face while getting their children enrolled under the biometric-based identification scheme, this is not going to be an easy transition for beneficiaries.

Struggle to get registered
In Lal Gumbad camp, a slum in Delhi’s Sheikh Sarai area, Jia Devi and Ram Laali, whose husbands work as daily wage labourers in the national capital, had fared only marginally better than Anara Devi.
They had to travel 650 km to their village in Raebareli district of Uttar Pradesh, to get their daughters enrolled under Aadhaar.
“The staff at the Aadhaar enrolment centre at the Saket court in Delhi turned me away, saying my daughter is not even a year old, so we rushed to our village to get her enrolled so that she could avail herself of the Ladli scheme,” said Jia Devi, holding her 11-month-old.

Jia Devi traveled with her infant daughter to their village in Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh, after she failed to get an Aadhaar for her in Saket in Delhi. Image credit: Anumeha Yadav

Ram Laali said she had enrolled her three-year-old in Aadhaar in Delhi a year ago, but when they did not receive her Aadhaar number by post even months later, they were worried she would be left out of government schemes. “We then took her to our village as it would be easier to enrol there a second time,” said Ram Lalli.
Suneeta, a migrant from Rajasthan, said she had to make four trips with her two infants, aged three and five, to an Aadhaar agent’s shop in Delhi’s Khirki before she could get them enrolled.
She needed her children to have Aadhaar numbers so that her family could get their full government rations.
Under the National Food Security Act, 2013, low-income households are entitled to five kilo per head of subsidised foodgrains every month, from ration outlets. However, since the Delhi government has linked food ration to Aadhaar, beneficiaries have to enrol even infants under the identification scheme so that the family can get its full per-capita entitlement.
At Jagdamba camp, an adjoining slum, residents shared similar stories of having to make repeated trips to enrolment centres to get their children enrolled.
Laxmi Chauhan, a home-maker in her 20s, said both her husband and her son cannot get their five-kilo share of subsidised food grains because they do not have an Aadhaar card.
“They both enrolled, but we never received their Aadhaar card,” she said. “My son Vansh was two years old when we got him registered. When I tried to sign him up a second time, the staff said ‘iski toh already slip cut hui hai’ (they have already issued a slip for him). But if I show a print out of the enrolment slip to officials while trying to avail of the government schemes, it has a photo of a two-year-old. He is six years old now and officials say this is not the same boy.”
She added in exasperation: “What should I do – make him look as small as he does on the enrolment ID slip?”
Nearly all families reported having paid bribes ranging from Rs 30 to Rs 300 to sign up at privately run enrolment centres and for updating any details, such as change of address, on Aadhaar.

Consent of children

The Unique Identity Authority of India or UIDAI that issues Aadhaar numbers recognises that children below the age of five cannot give their biometric information as their finger prints and irises are yet to be fully developed.

So for children below 5, the UIDAI captures only the image of their face, and makes it mandatory for both parents to submit their Aadhaar and the child’s birth certificate. One parents’ fingerprint has to be submitted as a digital signature.
The children then have to enrol again once they turn five, when their biometric information will be captured. They have to enrol a third time and update their biometric data when they turn 18.

Officials believe linking schemes to Aadhaar allows better monitoring. “For instance, once an infant is enroled, delivery of nutritious meals in anganwadis [a government-run centre that provides meals and non-formal pre-school education to children] and vaccinations can be monitored,” said an official in the Cabinet Secretariat. “Aadhaar will also allow better monitoring of pre-natal care, check-ups of pregnant women.”
Child nutrition experts said making Aadhaar enrolment contingent on birth certificates will lead to large-scale exclusion of children from social schemes.

“In villages, births are noted in anganwadis and panchayats, but nearly 50% of families in North India do not have birth certificates and will get excluded,” said Dipa Sinha, an activist with Right to Food campaign.

Sinha said the government is ignoring the real problem and is focusing on something that need not be priority. “The main problem in mid-day meals is not of duplicate beneficiaries but of the quality of nutrition, and low budgets for the scheme,” she said. “How does linking the scheme to Aadhaar fix this?”

Legal experts raised concerns that enroling children in a biometrics-based database amounts to a violation of of their privacy as they are too young to provide informed consent.
One of the major concerns around Aadhaar has been that biometrics data is continuously being collected and centralised under the project even while India lacks a privacy law. The Supreme Court is set to form a constitution bench to examine the contours of the right to privacy flowing from the government's arguments in the Aadhaar case.

“After all the claims made about respecting citizens’ consent, how does the government explain collection of data of minors who cannot give such consent,” said Chinmayi Arun, executive director of Centre for Communication Governance at the National Law University, Delhi. “Is there a system in place to purge their data without trace if they decide at the age 18 that this is too grave a violation of their privacy?”

Nine-year-old Sanjana Bairwal enrolling in Aadhaar in Bagru, Jaipur district, after it was made compulsory for students to enrol in Aadhaar to access scholarships. Credit: Anumeha Yadav

Dr Usha Ramanathan, a legal scholar, criticised the government for making Aadhaar mandatory for schemes covering infants and small children. “Already, Delhi has recorded instances where financial benefits and vaccinations were denied to infants under these schemes,” said Ramanathan. “By pushing Aadhaar on to infants, the government seems to be focused only on completing its database.”

Ramanathan added that the government was experimenting on infants and children with untested technology.

Untested technology
In a recent interview to­ Business Standard, ABP Pandey, director general of UIDAI, said that research was underway on whether the print of infants’ heel was more fully developed, and hence, more suited for capturing as biometric data during Aadhar enrolment.

During the Rajya Sabha debate on the Aadhaar Bill in March, finance minister Arun Jaitley too had spoken of this. “The fingerprints of a two-year-old will evolve and change,” he said. “Twenty years later, on his Aadhaar biometric details, those fingerprints would not be valid. Now, some of the experts who came, said, fingerprints would evolve and change, but there is one new information, as a part of biometric information, which doesn't with age. It is the printout of the heel…”

Said Ramnathan: “They themselves admit that they are experimenting with biometrics. What gives government the authority to experiment on anyone? The only group that will benefit in this process is technology manufacturers.”

Arghya Sengupta, research director at the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, which assisted the government in drafting the Aadhaar law, passed as a money Bill in March, said that the concerns around children’s consent as well as exclusion could be addressed through regulation.

“The baseline principle has to be that enrolment cannot be without consent and in the case of children, consent will have to be through parents or guardians,” said Sengupta. “Whether someone will have the right to rescind consent on becoming an adult is something that will have to be seen. Such a provision can be made through regulation.”

He added: “I am hopeful that there will be a robust grievance mechanism. The law should be a tool for inclusion, not exclusion.”

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