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, November 8, 2016

10495 - Yet another ID - Governance Now

A new unique identifier for health mars the purpose of Aadhaar, in terms of both identification and data tracking

Shivangi Narayan | September 26, 2016

- See more at: http://www.governancenow.com/views/columns/yet-another-id-aadhaar-national-health-protection-scheme#sthash.Q45k9D1s.dpuf


The government has proposed to provide a new unique identification number to eight crore BPL households, or approximately 40 crore people, for its new insurance scheme, National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS). The idea of a new unique number, according to a senior health ministry official, stems from the facts that not everyone is enrolled in Aadhaar and no one should be denied services for want of Aadhaar.

Wait… Wasn’t this one of the purposes of the $3.5 billion scheme that is the Unique Identification (UID) or Aadhaar, that not all Indians have an identification document and no one should be denied services for want of one?

Faulty implementation

Nothing shows the failure of Aadhaar implementation better than the fact that a ministry (here, health) is branching out from the system to provide unique numbers of its own. Its implementation has been faulty to say the least. Enrolment is patchy: dusty centres where humidity bars the machine from taking fingerprints are a far cry from what these centres were envisaged to be. These shady centres charge anywhere between '150-800 for one enrolment, depending on how soon you want your number. This is when the government has promised free enrolment and is paying commission to the centres for the job.

Aadhaar was not created to simply fill a gap in the current identification system. There were many identification documents in India, and providing easy access to any one or two of them could have improved the situation. Aadhaar was made for data collection and tracking. In its paper on public health in India, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has claimed that many health-related policies fail because there is no way to track health data. Because of this lack of information, vaccination graph has stagnated at 55 percent, and only 52 percent women go through antenatal checkups, while only 42 percent deliver in hospitals. Lack of a system to connect and track medical records is a lacuna in creating and implementing policies in the Indian health sector.  The same paper argues that linking Aadhaar with Rashtriya Arogyashri Yojana would partially help in tracking health data and checking the spread of epidemics. The Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, which though has enrolled only 5.4 million individuals in 370 districts and 18 states, would also greatly enhance the capacity of the government to analyse health data for making better policies and improving the existing ones.

Aadhaar was created as this connecting mechanism to provide trackable data to the government not only in health but also in PDS, financial inclusion, employment and education.

The ‘new’ unique health identifier

The proposed new identifier for health will identify ‘ghost beneficiaries’ in the system. In 2008, the same argument was given by Nandan Nilekani and the UPA government for introducing Aadhaar. As far as collecting, analysing and tracking data on health are concerned, the new identifier will only work for BPL households and like many other data silos, would not capture the bigger health picture. For example, without any link between this unique identifier and Aadhaar, it would not be possible to understand the impact of health policies or of chronic diseases on the BPL population. It would be a colossal waste of money if this number was created only for identifying ghost beneficiaries. The government looks a little daft in introducing a whole new identification system because it cannot be sure if the previous one (with the same benefits and promises) works or not. It is also duplication of efforts and money when the UID is already present.

Moreover, rules regarding privacy are probably still to be drafted in the health identifier. Privacy and data protection needs to be absolute here because of the nature of sensitive data – medical records – that it holds. The Aadhaar security mechanism has been built with millions of dollars and is claimed to be unhackable. We wonder if the same amount of money would be spent on this identifier as well.

While absolute privacy is not guaranteed anywhere, the lack of redressal mechanisms in case of a data breach makes India a scary place.

As of now, we have sections 43A and 72A of the IT Act 2008. Section 43A talks about compensation for data misuse or wrongful breach and implementation of security mechanisms for data in any organisation. 72A deals with employees misusing their employer’s data or any third-party data. A privacy bill was introduced in 2011 and redrafted in 2014 but there is little clarity on its implementation.

According to Subhashis Banerjee, professor, computer science, IIT Delhi, a better and more efficient system would be to have local IDs for different verticals such as health, education, PDS, and they all be connected to a national unique identifier like Aadhaar. This would help gather and analyse data across domains that will provide valuable knowledge about India to help in policy making. As mentioned before, Banerjee argues that executing this new ID would be like redoing Aadhaar, but without the benefit of linking it across domains.

(The column appears in the September 16-30, 2016 issue)

- See more at: http://www.governancenow.com/views/columns/yet-another-id-aadhaar-national-health-protection-scheme#sthash.Q45k9D1s.dpuf