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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Thursday, September 8, 2016

10378 - Verifying India's urban poor to a better place - Forbes India

UPFRONT/SPECIAL | Sep 1, 2016 | 2428 views

Harichandan Arakali, Forbes India Staff
I aim to bring you stories on what happens when tech meets business and they meet the rest of us -- I'm a big-picture junkie.

In five years, the India-Stack should have taken off and the poor in India should have a platform to acquire skills, seek jobs and get loans

Image: Mansi Thapliyal / Reuters

The Indian government has begun to use the UID database, known as Aadhaar, to make direct cash transfers to the poor, in an attempt to cut out frauds who siphon billions of dollars from welfare schemes
‘Who are you?’ could be a philosophical question for sure, but for hundreds of millions of urban poor in India, the answer can make or break their meagre livelihoods. This makes for an environment in which India as a nation-market is forever on the cusp of a revolution in inclusion (That idea has stuck in my mind from an interview with Govind Rajan, CEO of mobile wallet company Freecharge).

And I say nation-market, inelegant as it sounds, because that is how it is: The governments are attempting to build some of the backbone infrastructure for billions of low-ticket digital transactions, which private businesses will offer useful services on. And because a lot of this will be achieved not as public-funded projects, but by private enterprise, the result could be a better life for a billion people.

I saw one example today. BetterPlace Safety Solutions, a startup in Bengaluru, is perfecting a platform that will add its bit to push that revolution over the edge—Nandan Nilekani, the author of India’s Aadhaar unique ID effort, certainly thinks so: He was present and spoke in support of two new solutions the startup launched on Thursday in the city, to use Aaadhaar as the basis for providing a comprehensive fully-digital verification.

This could potentially help millions of urban poor get the so-called blue-collared jobs—in security providers, as courier and food delivery boys, and in warehouses and factories and shopping malls and on cab-hailing networks.

BetterPlace has initially launched an Aadhaar-based ‘Verifier’ app and an attendance tracker. It sells its solutions to businesses, generating a ‘TRUST score’ for their employees—it accesses information about individual staff after formal consent, but Nilekani points out that people will create their profiles on such platforms out of self interest.

Once they understand the power of such scores and authentication-based systems to give them better access to skills, jobs and credit, they will embrace it, he believes. Indeed, BetterPlace has already partnered urban microfinance provider Janalakshmi Financial Services to identify people who’re registered on its platform who could also gain from small loans from a formal lender (rather than from loan sharks otherwise).

And the money is there for all these efforts. Just the sum total of all the “impact funding” currently in the process of being deployed, at various stages, is about $500 million, by one estimate. BetterPlace is an example of such a beneficiary, having received help from Unitus Seed Fund, a prominent impact investor in India.

In five years, Nilekani believes the India-Stack, an aglomeration of solutions and services on top of the Aadhaar ID, built largely by private companies, will have taken off. Today a labourer from Bihar gets to Bengaluru via brokers and word of mouth. In five years, he may be able to bid for a job from wherever he is, on BetterPlace or some other such platform.

With each job done well, his TRUST score could rise, bumping his value up as a worker. He may be able to add a skill too, say for welding, and a potential recruiter access his certificate in a secure digital locker, eliminating fakes. Getting to that better place, starts with empowering India’s millions with the right answer to the question we started with.