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.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

10433 - Jan Dhan Yojana empowers, that’s why the red flag - Indian Express


Budget for it, make it official, advises former Expenditure Secy; Justice B N Srikrishna warns of account misuse.


More than 50 per cent of the Jan Dhan accounts have been seeded with the Aadhaar of the account holder.
In terms of scope and size, and the breadth of coverage, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana is a stand-out scheme perhaps among all financial inclusion initiatives underway in other parts of the world.

With 24.1 crore bank accounts having been opened till August 31, 2016, and with an accumulated balance of  Rs 42,094.24 crore, according to official records, it could be the transformative agent that the Prime Minister has so soften talked about. By bringing all households into banking, it will provide access to other financial services such as insurance and pension besides credit, help reduce leakages in subsidy payments, promote the larger goal of encouraging electronic payments and progressively reduce the use of cash.

More than 50 per cent of the Jan Dhan accounts have been seeded with the Aadhaar of the account holder and thus, these accounts are eligible for all wage payments to NREGA workers through Direct Benefit Transfer and also for direct subsidy payments related to LPG.

An estimated 19 crore of these accounts have been issued Rupay cards and they can be used like any other debit card to withdraw money from ATMs.

All the more reason why efforts to ramp up numbers of non-zero balance accounts raises several concerns about ethics, breach of trust, accuracy of data and, more worryingly, the potential for misuse.

Banks in India have a code of customer rights — developed by Banking Codes and Standards Board of India — to ensure protection of customers, promote fair banking practices, and foster confidence in the banking system. Officials themselves putting money — even if it’s merely a rupee — into Jan Dhan accounts without the customer’s knowledge to boost numbers of non-zero-balance accounts violates the code. To establish this as a mala fide may be difficult given that banks have said that there aren’t any written instructions.


Justice B N Srikrishna, former Supreme Court judge who headed the Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission or FSLRC, which submitted a host of recommendations for a new financial architecture, isn’t certain about the legal bar on transferring or depositing funds into a bank account without the express approval of the account holder.

But what is of greater concern, he says, is the potential for misuse of such accounts. “Someone could deposit money into your account and later anyone can say this was bribe funds. Using the account of someone who is not aware of basic banking is a good way to convert black money,” he says.


For the more savvy or financially literate customer, this may not be an issue given constant alerts for each transaction. But that’s not the case for those with recent access to basic banking services.

Former Expenditure Secretary D Swarup says that a cost-benefit analysis should be done to ensure that these schemes are successful and effective. In other words, if a one-rupee payment needs to be made to reduce zero-balance accounts for whatever reason, says Swarup, a budgetary provision for implementing this and compensating banks for providing such services would be a much more transparent way of doing it.
Also, this would not put pressure on banks and ensure accountability.

Breach of trust isn’t the only issue.
Inflated numbers also portray an inaccurate picture of the success of a scheme and this can lead to faulty policy interventions, more funds being poured in without any effective monitoring or assessment post implementation. This could also prevent corrective measures mid-course and a more robust rollout of social sector programmes.