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.


Search This Blog

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

10502 - Universal Basic Income is a bad idea - Financial Express


When even the very rich Swiss have rejected the idea of a Universal Basic Income (UBI), it is unclear why the idea is gaining ground amongst Indian academics and policy wonks.


By: The Financial Express | New Delhi | Published: September 27, 2016 6:23 AM

A UBI of R12,000, just to do the maths, works out to around 9-10% of India’s GDP. (PTI)

When even the very rich Swiss have rejected the idea of a Universal Basic Income (UBI), it is unclear why the idea is gaining ground amongst Indian academics and policy wonks. Apart from the issue of whether UBI will distort incentives to work—it won’t if the amount is small—it costs too much and, more important, when India is putting together an Aadhaar-based direct-benefits-transfer scheme which can target the poor, why look at a scheme which wants to give even the rich R10,000-12,000 per year by way of UBI? This will certainly pull the poor out of poverty—they required a little over R10,000 per year to be pulled out of poverty based on the Tendulkar poverty line in 2011-12, but since they had a certain income/consumption, they required just around a seventh of that amount to become non-poor according to economist Surjit Bhalla. So, while a R12,000 UBI will ensure the poor a decent standard of living, there is the question of whether they are better served by using that money to build better rural roads, provide electricity to villages, build irrigation canals and provide better education and health services for them.

A UBI of R12,000, just to do the maths, works out to around 9-10% of India’s GDP. While that is often juxtaposed with the 9-10% of GDP that the central government spends on non-merit subsidies—like on LPG that is mostly consumed by the middle-classes—in order to argue UBI doesn’t imply any additional expenditure by the government, since removing subsidies is not going to be easy, a UBI will in all probability be an add-on over this subsidy expenditure. In which case, it is even worse than Sonia Gandhi’s Food Security Act that sought to give 5 kg of heavily subsidised wheat/rice to two-thirds of the country—since the subsidy was roughly R15-20 per kg, that worked out to R75-100 per person per month; UBI is several times larger and aims to cover the entire population.

Cash transfers, which is what UBI boils down to, it is true, can fix many of India’s distorted policies. Giving food subsidies by way of cash transfers can ensure, for example, that the inefficient FCI operations are shut down; similarly, giving farmers cash can help trim inefficient fertilizer subsidies that are used only by rich farmers. Now that Aadhaar has been rolled out for a very significant share of the population and there has been progress in linking bank accounts of the poor with Aadhaar numbers, the government should focus on trying to move from physical rations/fertilizers and move towards cash transfers—even for education, giving cash/vouchers to parents tilts the balance in their favour and allows them to demand better services from government schools. The money saved in this manner can be transferred to people but, instead of doing it through a UBI, it can be directed at only the poor or for facilities that primarily benefit them.