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.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

10525 - When will the Aadhaar based Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme be implemented? Find out here - Financial Express

The government has set March 31, 2018 deadline to fully roll out Aadhaar-enabled Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) for food, fertiliser and kerosene subsidies, which together account for more than 70% of the government’s annual R3-lakh-crore budget for various welfare payouts.

By: Prasanta Sahu | New Delhi | Updated: October 12, 2016 7:40 AM

Although the DBT transfers are gradually picking up, there is still a long way to go. The success would depend on integrating the subsidies on fertiliser, food and kerosene into the scheme.

The government has set March 31, 2018 deadline to fully roll out Aadhaar-enabled Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) for food, fertiliser and kerosene subsidies, which together account for more than 70% of the government’s annual R3-lakh-crore budget for various welfare payouts.

Through the DBT platform, it has disbursed R32,141 crore benefits in the first five months of the current fiscal. This takes the total transfers via DBT since it was rolled out in a limited way in 2013 to close R1.4 lakh crore. Bulk of the transfers have been of LPG subsidy and the wage payments under the job guarantee programme.

Although the DBT transfers are gradually picking up, there is still a long way to go. The success would depend on integrating the subsidies on fertiliser, food and kerosene into the scheme. The government had earlier said welfare programmes other than the the above three subsidies would be linked to DBT by March 31, 2017. These include scholarship schemes, crop insurance, transfers related to skill development etc.

While DBT pilots are underway for food subsidy in several parts of the country since last year, the government rolled pilot on fertiliser subsidy in eight districts including four bordering Nepal and Bangladesh early this month. Kerosene DBT has been rolled out in four districts of Jharkhand on a pilot basis. The food subsidy, will be largely paid in cash in urban areas of the country while PDS’ will be automated by integrating Aadhaar of beneficiaries in rural parts of the country to give benefits in kind.

Beneficiaries getting subsidies through DBT into their bank accounts stood at 31.9 crore, out of which 23.24 crore or 73% were seeded with Aadhaar. However, the Centre transferred only 31% of R3,459 crore through the DBT platform in August 2016, using the Aadhaar Payment Bridge (APB) while the rest were transferred through bank accounts not linked with the unique number. The monthly transfers through DBT has been largely uneven — R9,155 crore in April while it was R5,941 crore in July this year, partly due to delayed disbursements, accounting flexibilities and seasonal nature of demands.
Keen to utilise the DBT platform to plug leakages in delivery of sundry benefits and doles, the government has already put 74 schemes on the DBT platform. The DBT enabler, JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile), has resulted in cumulative savings of R36,500 crore for the Centre in subsidies such as on cooking gas, food, wages under the employment guarantee Act etc.
The Centre has advised the states to use Aadhaar-based DBT platform for delivery of state-level benefits as provided in Section 7 of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016. The section provides that the Centre/state may require individuals getting government benefits to undergo authentication or furnish Aadhaar number. The Act was passed by Parliament during the Budget session in the wake of the Supreme Court’s interim order against making Aadhaar mandatory for receiving such benefits. Out of the 128 crore population in the country, 83% or 1.06 crore are Aadhaar enrolled. The Centre is now making it mandatory to seed Aadhaar for government benefits.
The number of beneficiaries currently under different schemes are as follows: MGNREGS (11.02 crore), LPG-Pahal (17.48 crore), National Social Assistance Programme (2.94 crore), scholarship schemes (38.61 lakh) and others (34.66 lakh).
To reform the Public Distribution System (PDS) and Food Subsidy, it is targeting 100% Aadhaar-enabled ration cards for all beneficiaries for benefit transfers in kind. In the case of fertiliser, since subsidy components vary on different fertilisers, the government is looking at a seamless transfer to the DBT platform without altering the experience of farmers.
Kerosene subsidy, which is pegged to be about R7,000 crore in FY17, is deemed to be a dying benefit as consumers are being encouraged to shift to cleaner fuel such as LPG. Nonetheless, the benefit will be shifted to DBT platform as some far-flung areas where cooking gas is not yet available, may need it.