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.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

10417 - What you should know about Aadhaar - Hindu Businessline

Given its increasing importance, it’s vital to understand what UID is

With a billion Aadhaar cards issued, it is hard to find anyone who does not have this universal identification (UID) in India. Direct benefit transfer was the initial use of UID; with time its importance has been increasing.

For instance, transactions such as deposits and balance enquiry can be done by customers using Aadhaar-enabled payment services (AEPS). You can move money easily using Aadhaar to Aadhaar funds transfer. There are also cardless ATMs that work on Aadhaar number and fingerprint to authenticate and transact. The Know Your Customer (KYC) process is also simplified with e-KYC through Aadhaar.

Given its prevalence and increasing importance in various transactions, it is important to understand what UID is and what it is not.

Identity proof
The idea of Aadhaar is to be a source of identification for an individual. The government’s UID database has information such as a person’s biometrics — fingerprint and retina scan — as well as photo and name. A person’s UID is unique as de-duplication is done using biometrics during enrolment. So, it can be used to identify a person uniquely. It is a permanent ID, with no expiry date and need not be renewed once you get it.
It cannot however, be used as address proof currently. Also, the ID is given to any Indian resident, irrespective of his/her nationality. So, it cannot be used as a proof of citizenship.

Authorised access
The UID database is secure and access to information is restricted. For one, users have to authorise the UIDAI (the UID Authority of India) by explicit consent through biometric authentication to release their information. Also, only authorised agencies such as Authentication User Agencies and e-KYC User Agencies are allowed to query the database.

Nor is there a risk of biometric data sharing for other purposes. For example, law enforcement agencies cannot perform fingerprint matching using information in the database. The Supreme Court, in 2014, had also directed that biometric data of Aadhaar card holders cannot be shared with any investigating agency.

Also, the database is built in such a manner that when presented with a number and biometrics, the authentication query will only offer a match or no-match response. No other information will be given, thereby ensuring privacy.

To enable banking transactions, you must link your Aadhaar number to your bank account number.

Linking accounts
When a customer seeds the number in the core banking system (bank where he has an account), a link is created with the Institution Identification Number of the bank. This is maintained by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which routes Aadhaar-based transactions.

When there is an incoming or outgoing money transfer request, a request is sent to the bank linked to the UID. The bank completes the transaction based on the account number that is attached to the number.

What if you have multiple accounts? You can choose to link only one account with the UID. If you have linked more than one, the last account linked will be the one reflected in the database and will be used for transactions. You can check the Aadhaar number mapping status in the NPCI mapper by dialling *99*21# on your mobile phone.

(This article was published on September 11, 2016)