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, December 24, 2016

10619 - Demonetisation: Why UPI could have been the perfect solution to fight cash woes - Economic Times


By ECONOMICTIMES.COM | Nov 19, 2016, 09.30 AM IST

The small number of users that want to change the default can then change it later if they don not like the defaults.
By Pawan Goyal 

With the recent demonetisation move, the government has clearly declared its intent to move towards a cashless society. The common solution that is proposed for this is digital wallet. Want to send someone money using just his/her phone number, receive money using your phone number,transact online without credit/debit card ­ use a wallet. 

The wallets are very usable and great for the unbanked, but they take users with bank accounts outside the banking system. The wallets are a closed ecosystem ­ you can transfer money within wallets of one provider but not across wallet providers. Also, it is difficult to encash money stored in a wallet. To encash money, you have to transfer money into a bank account ­ a leading wallet charges 4% to transfer money into a bank account! 

What if there was a solution that kept you inside the banking system, and, was as easy to use as wallet? 

The solution already exists, and, is known as Unified Payment Interface (UPI). UPI is a bank account to bank account money transfer system that moves money instantaneously. The sender and the receiver both need to register for UPI and have a virtual payment address (VPA). A VPA can be as simple as user­phone-number@bankname. If both the the parties are registered for UPI, then the process for sending and receiving money is same as wallet. The good thing with UPI is that your money always remains in bank account, in an open ecosystem and, not a third party closed ecosystem wallet. 

You can withdraw at will without any charges for transferring to bank account. The question is if UPI is as convenient as wallets, why has it not taken off? 
There are two reasons for that. The first is that the banking apps that have rolled out UPI, have designed the experience very poorly. They have made many rookie designer mistakes such as using terminology that does not make sense to a common user of the product and exposing all the flexibility when most common use case is simple. For example, when you register for UPI, the first thing you are asked to do is to create VPA. Most users are left scratching their head as to what is a VPA. 

There is no prompt/suggestion as to how to create VPA. The format of the VPA is similar to email address. While many users will be familiar with email, most users will not be. Hence, the presentation of VPA needs to be simplified such that a typical user does not have to deal with the "@" symbol. The net result of this experience is that one gets intimidated, and, stops at the first step of creating VPA. 

The second reason is that the rollout process has not been done well. Once you create a VPA, you want to transact with someone. You just don't know who you can transact with ­ the other person also needs to have created a VPA. When I created a VPA, I did not know of anyone who had VPA. Hence, UPI functionality was left unused for several months in my banking app. If most of the people who have bank accounts had a default VPA created, then one does not have to get over the hump of creating VPA, and, can easily start transacting. 

For example, most of the accounts have a mobile number or a aadhaar number registered with them. Hence, for each account with a bank, a default VPA of mobile­number@bank or aadhaar­number@bank can be created. If multiple accounts at the bank have same mobile number, the bank can associate the most used account with the VPA. 

The small number of users that want to change the default can then change it later if they don not like the defaults. UPI actually has plans to even eliminate the "@bank" part and use mobile numbers and aadhaar numbers as default VPAs. However, the timeline for that rollout is not known. The above suggestion can be implemented by each of the banks with no central decision. 

Now let us put both the things together. If the UPI implementation by banks were to have a default VPA created with mobile/aadhaar number, and the user experience for transaction just asked for the other party's phone/aadhaar number and bank name (the phone/aadhaar number can be translated to VPA behind the scenes), then the user experience for UPI enabled banking applications will be as good as wallets if not better. 

The infrastructure and base ingredients are there ­ the banks just need to put them together with end customer experience at the center just as wallet companies are doing it. It is time the banks seize the once in a lifetime opportunity created by the Prime Minister, and put their weight behind UPI adoption for a digital and cashless society. 


Pawan Goyal is the General Manager in a leading software product MNC. He has a Ph.D from The University of Texas at Austin and B.Tech from IIT Kanpur.