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

10630 - Usha Ramanathan offers the most radical hypothesis of the note ban yet - Catch News



@suhasmunshi | First published: 22 November 2016, 0:35 IS

This may be the most radical hypothesis of government's demonetisation policy offered yet. The proposition, which explains the origins and future of the currency ban, sounds like the script of a sci-fi movie. Somewhere in it, is a group of a few people trying to control the fate of billions of Indians.
And black money doesn't figure anywhere in it.

Noted expert on law, poverty and human rights, and an active critic of the Aadhar policy for last several years - Usha Ramanathan - says that in order to understand demonetisation one has to go back to the founding of Aadhar and the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) programme.

It is all about data. Lots of it. Specific data of millions of Indians. Now suppose this huge repository of data, accessible to the makers of UIDAI programme, was to be used to create an application - like Unified Payment Interface - that made money transfer very easy.


It would allow instant transfer of money from bank to individual, individual to individual and government to individuals. Such a bold move, made on such a large scale, would not only force the economy to go 'cashless' or 'paperless', it would also in time make banks redundant.

And if, just then, there were to be a severe cash crunch in this economy, it would only catalyse the move to such an application.

But this would also give you reasons to fear for your personal data being compromised and monetised on a mass scale.

In this interview with Catch, Ramanathan asks us to suppose a scenario like this and claims that we haven't even begun to realise the biggest problem with the demonetisation scheme.

At the face of it, demonetisation seems to be a big positive for several reasons. But there are many things that we don't know about it.

We still don't have any explanation by the government about why this was done. Why 86% of the cash flow couldn't have been phased out strategically. Something as big as this should have gone through the Parliament.

There is no indication of who advised the prime minister about this. On the political front, we only have opposition and justification.

The government has been converting all services to cash transfers at a time when the banking system in India isn't ready. When successive governments' apathy has destroyed the postal service in the country. When inflation is under control and the value of Rupee isn't sliding down.

At such a moment, to suck out 86% of the cash flow in one go doesn't make sense.

But if you begin to look at the whole thing in context of the UIDAI project, demonetisation begins making sense.

How does the UIDAI project connect with this?
To understand what demonetisation is about, you first have to understand what the big technological fight in the world right now is about. It is about data. New Fintech (Financial technology) firms are fighting to acquire specific data of individuals; to use it to market their products among other things.

Fintechs are willing to give you their services without charges, if only you give them information about yourself.
Acquiring specific data of millions of people, which is what happened through Aadhar programme, across the country, is like acquiring a goldmine. Now if you can get all these people online, you create for yourself an invaluable asset.
Once you do that, you can build a platform [or an API] for people to create apps, giving them a share of your data. Apps that could have access to one billion people. Imagine the potential worth of such data!

This gives rise to big businesses and forces the economy towards a 'cashless' economy, or an economy with less cash.

This system allows you to transfer money not from bank account to bank account, but from Aadhar number to Aadhar number. All it would require your Aadhar number, a bank account, say a Jan Dhan account and a mobile number.
Banks, as we understand them become redundant. You wouldn't need to visit any bank. Everything becomes virtual, like Paytm. You wouldn't know where Paytm office is nor would you have to visit it, unlike banks where physical presence is required sometimes.

So what's wrong in a virtual banking system? Wouldn't it be easy to manage every financial transaction through your phone instead of dealing in cash and signing forms?
Look closer at the method with which this new world of economy is being introduced. First Aadhar was a voluntary exercise, then it was made compulsory. Aadhar was not mandatory to avail government offered services, now it is.
Fears of your personal data being compromised was quite real in case of Aadhar, in this case there will be additional fears of your financial data being sold and monetised by others will be as real.
In a similar fashion the state is using all its power and coercive forces to lead us in this specific direction. And this is not the only problem with it.
The same fears that arose that the time of Aadhar, get multiplied several times over if private companies like National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which is a company registered under companies act, not RBI, get their hands on your private financial data.

And if they make it mandatory that all financial transactions be done through apps based on their interface - Unified Payment Interface (UPI).

Look up the names of people behind all these ventures - UIDAI, NPCI, UPI etc - and you'll realise that they are the same group of people. The same group of people, a while back, talked about it taking just 100 individuals to change the system. They are trying to do this now - deciding the fate of this country.

What is worse still is that a large part of the population is not covered through regular banking. They have no access to either banks or internet. If the government decides to send benefits of schemes such as - MGNREGA, pensions, scholarships, Public Distribution System - through such an electronic interface, a lot of people are going to be left out.


Are any other economists or experts in this field who share your ideas?
I don't think so and I can't believe nobody is looking in this direction.

According to you Aadhar has been followed by Unified Payment Interface. What do you think will follow it?
Health. They will go for health sector next.
Edited by Aleesha Matharu