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, October 4, 2016

10488 - Aadhaar can't be mandatory, reiterates Supreme Court - Business Standard


Government says it has established a legal bypass with new Aadhaar-related laws

Nitin Sethi  |  New Delhi 
September 24, 2016 Last Updated at 00:30 IST


The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s plan to universalise Aadhaar through schemes, benefits and services of the state may get mired in litigation despite the law and regulations it has put in place in the recent past. A recent Supreme Court order has come as a warning signal of a possible legal imbroglio. The government, however, remains unfazed and is confident of the legal remedy already in place.

The Supreme Court annulled an order of the government, making Aadhaar mandatory in scholarship schemes for students. A two-member bench gave this ruling on September 14, pointing out that the apex court in its interim orders of October 2015 had barred the government from making the identification platform mandatory till pending the litigation was concluded.

It is the first such order by the SC, reiterating the stay on making Aadhaar mandatory after the Parliament passed and the President gave the assent to the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, in March this year. The Act became fully operational on September 12 when regulations under it were notified by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

According to the government, the new regulations will help it universalise the use of Aadhaar in all kind of schemes, programmes and processes of the government and provide safeguards to people. Multiple senior officials in UIDAI and the Union government said the new regulations adequately address the concerns raised in the petitions being heard in the court on Aadhaar.

“This particular government order (mandating Aadhaar for scholarships) was inconsistent with the Supreme Court orders as well as the Aadhaar law. So, it needed to be rectified, we agree. The new law itself was not challenged before the court in this particular case,” said an official working on the legal issues around the identity platform.

He explained: “Under the new law and the regulations, we do not use the word ‘mandatory’. The regulations require authorities to ask for Aadhaar against the schemes and if someone does not have it, the agency or authority is required to ensure the person gets enrolled. Till the time he or she enrols, the person will not be denied the benefits,” he said. “So, no one is going to be deprived of the benefits for the lack of Aadhaar,” he emphasised. “But just like you earlier required a ration card for availing public distribution system (PDS), now the government can use this documentation route for identification of beneficiaries. One could not say I do not want a ration card, but I want subsidised rations under PDS. Can one?”

IDENTITY CRISIS
  • Supreme Court’s September 14 decision reiterates its interim order to not make Aadhaar mandatory; first such order after the Aadhaar law was passed
  • Govt says Aadhaar can be a necessary condition for schemes and programmes, but after providing for universal enrolment
  • In May 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi set deadlines to make Aadhaar a universal condition for major social schemes and services
  • This includes MNREGA, NFSA, Income Tax Declarations, NGO funding and pensions
  • 8 of the 9 Aadhaar-related cases to be heard by a five-member Bench of the apex court

Those opposing Aadhaar believe the government is surreptitiously making it mandatory by hiding behind the legalese. The net result is the same, they claim — people will be denied benefits if they don’t have Aadhaar. Whether the government’s logic cuts ice with the Supreme Court would be decided when the five-member bench hears a host of petitions, lying before it since the interim orders of 2015. A petition supported by the Congress party questioning concerns of privacy and the passage of the law as a Money Bill in the Lok Sabha is also pending before the apex court, though notices have not been issued in the case as yet.

At the moment, Business Standard could list nine petitions and two interventions pending before the Supreme Court on different issues pertaining to Aadhaar. On the other hand, the Software Freedom Law Centre lists out many dozen instances of alleged violation of the Supreme Court orders in the use of Aadhaar, or of making it mandatory. The UIDAI on September 15 sent a missive to all state and central authorities to identify schemes where Aadhaar would be made compulsory but with the provision that those who don’t have it will be given a chance to enrol. It called it making Aadhaar ‘as a condition precedent’.

Many departments of the Union and state governments began making Aadhaar mandatory before this. For example, in August 2016, the NITI Aayog made it mandatory for NGOs seeking central government grants to submit their functionaries’ Aadhaar numbers. It cited a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ordering as much in May 2016. Business Standard reviewed the minutes of these meetings where timeframe was fixed for ensuring universal use of Aadhaar for many government services, including all major social schemes, on a priority basis.

Moreover, Aadhaar as a mandatory requirement has already been infused in schemes such as PDS in several states. Several media reports have shown either its failure to authenticate people’s identity, leading to denial of benefits, or questionable manual overrides, undoing the entire logic of the technology. But that remains a question partly of the inherent failure rates of the biometric technology and of using the technology when the country doesn’t even have the necessary communication and other infrastructure in place, as a recent reply in the Parliament by the government showed.

"In light of the new regulations and the law now in place, any earlier order by different authorities making it mandatory would have to be amended to say yes Aadhaar is required but if someone doesn’t have it, the authority should enrol the person. If he or she still does not enrol then the scheme or law takes its course,” explained one of the officials.

But, Aadhaar as a mandatory requirement has already been infused in to schemes such as PDS in several states. Several media reports have now come in of either its failure to authenticate people’s identity losing to denial of benefits or questionable manual overrides being provided undoing the entire logic of having using the technology in the place. But that remains a question partly of the inherent failure rates of the biometric technology and of using the technology when the country does not have the necessary communication and other infrastructure in place, as a recent reply in the Parliament by the government proved.