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.


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

10553 - Picture imperfect - The Hindu

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM OCTOBER 21, 2016 15:55 IST


Illustration: Sreejith R.Kumar  

Photographs on identity cards seldom resemble the hapless owner of the card

These are days of great convenience when booking train tickets doesn’t mean standing in long queues for hours with a book and a packed lunch handy, maybe even a small pillow for a quick afternoon snooze if you expect to spend the better part of the day creeping towards the ticket counter at a speed that would send the snail sniggering into its shell. The option of online booking has taken care of all that but, mind you, it’s not always smooth sailing.

The first time I travelled with the details of my train ticket on my mobile, I was pretty apprehensive. When the booking was made I wanted a printout of the ticket but was told it wasn’t necessary; nothing would go wrong as long as I had my ID card with me.

But first time jitters continued. What if my temperamental phone decided to stop working? What if its battery went dead? What if the message with the details disappeared? All these ‘what if’s kept troubling me and I almost greeted the TTE like a long lost friend when he came to my coach half an hour into the journey. Once he checked the ticket, I could relax.

The phone didn’t let me down. I located the message and held the mobile under the TTE’s nose. He nodded and asked for my ID proof. He took one look at my Voter ID card and turned pale, as if he had seen a ghost. He almost had, only it wasn’t as much a ghost as a ghoul that glared fiendishly at him from the photo on the card. He jumped back, looking at me with fearful respect. ‘That’s ...your... picture?’ He stammered. “Yes,” I said, sorely tempted to snarl and imitate my photographic alter ego.

I got my Voter ID card years back when the procedure involved going to the polling booth on the date designated to complete the formalities of identification, address proof and other details and get your photograph taken. Now the process is much simpler and easier on the eye too, since you provide the passport size photo. But those who got the cards through the earlier method know that the photos on them, clicked carelessly in a nanosecond, are in a league of their own. They could all jostle for space in the rogues’ gallery, and no questions asked.
I was appalled when I got my card. Dark, irregular blotches on my cheeks were complemented by light patches in innovative designs on my chin and forehead. My lips were curved in a snarl while my eyes bulged out like a bull frog’s, except that they were fixed in an intense glare. And I had no neck.

The only photos to beat the Voter ID specimens are the Aadhaar pictures. When we went to the Aadhaar enrolment centre we heard someone ask if the photos would be as dreadful as those on the Voter ID cards. The lady in charge was indignant. ‘Never,’ she snorted. ‘This equipment is much more sophisticated. And we take greater care.’

When the cards were delivered home, my husband’s card was on top. The greatest care had definitely been taken. One glance at his reinvented mug shot, and my son Amar and I doubled with laughter while my husband stared in horror at his menacing spectacled gaze with his lips curled like a villain’s. But Amar stopped with a gasp when his Aadhaar special face popped up from the next card while my husband joined in. Amar’s bearded image wore the mother of all frowns while his lips were set incongruously in a pout, ‘quite like Marilyn Monroe’s’, commented my husband while I wiped tears of mirth from my eyes.

The others hollered and I gulped when it was the turn of my card. For the photographer had reserved his best for me. He had decided that a patchwork complexion suited me most; I had a squint in one eye and a glazed look in the other, like a fish on a slab. My nose, never noticeable at the best of times, was practically missing while my mouth resembled a vampire’s. And I still had no neck. Whatever people might have said about Aadhaar, there is no denying that its photos have provided much merriment throughout the country. There is no photoshopping here, only photoshocking.

When the TTE almost tossed my Voter ID card back and turned away with a shudder, I wished I had brought my Aadhaar card along. Who knows, he might have seen the funny side.
(khyrubutter@yahoo.com)

[A fortnightly column by the city-based writer, academic and author of the Butterfingers series]

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