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.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

10526 - Despite glitches, government plans to introduce Aadhaar authentication at health centers- Scroll.In


Health activists say this will exclude the poor, and burden short-staffed facilities.

    Image credit:  Anumeha Yadav

Oct 12, 2016 · 02:30 pm  


After using Aadhaar on a national scale in the public distribution system at rations shops, the central government now plans to use the biometrics-based Unique Identity system at health facilities from next year. But the scheme has thrown up questions about whether it will create more barriers to access healthcare to those who need it most.

In a significant remodeling of the public health system, Aadhaar numbers will be used as unique patient identifiers in a new electronic health records system, said officials from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. National identification numbers will be created and assigned to all health facilities, beginning with public facilities.

“When a patient goes to a health facility, they will be asked to provide their Aadhaar number and either verify themselves by placing their fingerprints on a device kept there, or do a one-time password authentication sent on mobile,” said Sunil Sharma, joint secretary in the health ministry. “Aadhaar authentication will allow the patients access to their own health records, which will be portable and accessible online.”
Sharma added that a procedure will be laid down for doctors and insurance providers to authorise use of health records in cases like accidents where a patient is unable to provide authorisation.

The ministry is already collecting Aadhaar numbers of patients and “seeding” or linking the unique identity numbers to patient records in a few states. It plans to begin implementing the new system by June 2017. Sharma said that if a person does not have an Aadhaar number, then alternate IDs such as ration card, voter identity card will be allowed in the interim.
“No one will be denied medical treatment,” he said. 

Pilots in states
Ministry officials say that health records stored in information exchanges will reduce cost and duplication as well as inconvenience to patients when they consult more than one doctor. The electronic record will include previous medical history, procedures undergone, diagnosis, drugs prescribed, and which hospitals visited accessible on a cloud-based e-application.

The health ministry had notified Electronic Health Records standards for India in 2013, which were reviewed by an expert group in 2015. In May this year, the ministry put the revised standards up for public comment and consultation. According to this policy paper, the electronic health records will aim to provide a “summary of various clinical events in the life of a person”. In this system, the paper elaborates, Aadhaar will be the “preferred identifier” when available, but in the absence of an Aadhaar number, two other identities, “local Identifier (as per scheme used by health care service providers)", and any central or state government issued photo identity card numbers may be used.

Under the National Rural Health Mission of 2005, Health Management Information Systems(HMIS) have already been created in states. The new standards, the document notes, aim to facilitate “interoperability”, which means the ability of various systems to share, exchange, and interpret shared data.
The Aadhaar-based programme is being funded under National Health Mission. Following a circular issued by the health ministry, some states are in the process of setting up systems to collect Aadhaar data for patients undergoing treatment in National Health Mission schemes. These include immunisation, maternal health schemes, communicable and non-communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, diabetes, vector-borne diseases, mental health and others.

“We have identified facilities such as Patna Medical College, and a few district hospitals to start the programme,” said Dr Shashi Bhusan Kumar, director of the National Health Mission in Bihar. “We had a one-day training on October 7 for our district data entry operators. We plan to organise a workshop with National Informatics Centre for our staff.”

Kumar said that Aadhaar is currently not mandatory for registering under this system. "But we are emphasising that patients get it," he said. "We are organising camps for patients to register for Aadhaar.”

In Madhya Pradesh, the collection of Aadhaar data of those seeking medical care will be started on a pilot basis in two districts, according to Kiran Gopal, the state's National Health Mission director. “We plan to use Aadhaar as an identifier for the Anmol programme, focused on ante-natal care of pregnant women," he said. "In this, 16,000 auxiliiary nurse and midwives will have an e-tablet which will track the services for pregnant women.”

Dr Saransh Mitter, Chhattisgarh director of National Health Mission, said the state had not yet received any communication on the Electronic Health Record scheme from the centre. “In villages, internet connectivity, and lack of infrastructure will be an issue,” he said.

Besides state departments, Aadhaar data is also being collected for treatment in some national health programmes.
“We are encouraging people living with HIV who come to antiretroviral treatment centres to enroll in Aadhaar,” said Dr R S Gupta, who is deputy director general of the National Aids Control Organisation. “The ART centres will also help link patients who do not have Aadhaar to centers where they can register in Aadhaar.”

Barrier to access?
While the government policy document endorses the use of Aadhaar in the new Electronic Health Records system as an “empowering” tool for those seeking treatment, public health experts expressed concerns over the transition to the new system.

“Right now, the government is not able to set up a basic online transparent cross-facility referral system for free beds in private hospitals for economically weaker section patients who come to Delhi," said Dr Vandana Prasad, a pediatrician and national convener of Public Health Resources Network. "How are they going to create this state-of-the-art facility, from a village in Jharkhand to Delhi? Where are the funds going to come from?”
Prasad pointed out that despite a Health Management Information System being created in all states 10 years ago under the National Rural Health Mission, no proper system of referral existed within states. Basic data such as on births and deaths of infants and number and location of pregnant women was not maintained at district and village level because of shortage of staff and infrastructure.

"The main problem patients from economically poor sections face is not duplication, but lack of access to good quality health facilities," said Prasad. "They are sent from pillar to post without proper treatment, there are staff shortages and basic laboratory technicians are not hired. Most staff is contractualised, not paid on time, not trained. How will one Aadhaar number change all that?"

State officials who spoke to Scroll.in said that health departments planned to implement the new system with their existing staff working on collecting and entering data on Aadhaar numbers. This, though, may burden already short-staffed facilities.

As per health ministry data from 2014-'15 on health facilities in rural areas, which include public health centres, community health centres and sub-centres, there was a shortfall of 1.84 lakh staff of 4.92 sanctioned posts. That is a 37% shortage of health staff who are not doctors. These staff include auxiliary nurses and midwives, health workers, radiographers, laboratory technicians, pharmacists and nurses. Across India, 5,053 sub-centres or 3% of all facilities function without a auxiliary nurse and midwife or a health worker.