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


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.


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Sunday, December 25, 2016

10644 - Those who oppose demonetisation must come to the help of those in cashless distress - Economic Times

November 30, 2016, 12:03 AM IST T K Arun in Cursor | Economy, India | ET

Reducing the use of cash in the economy and attacking black money are wholesome goals. The Opposition’s criticism of demonetisation will carry no conviction, if it has nothing constructive to offer on how to achieve these goals. Akrosh does not cut it.

What can, however, is the Opposition parties mobilising volunteers to help ordinary people use their bank accounts to make payments. Anyone can, in principle, pay for vegetables or dal by transferring money from her own account to the vendor’s, clicking a few buttons on her phone — any old phone, it does not have to be a smartphone. The only requirement is that both the buyer and the seller must have bank accounts that are linked to their phone or Aadhaar. And they must know how to operate their accounts using a phone.

Stand With the Poor…
Demonetisation is not much of a challenge for those who live cosseted in an electronic banking ecosystem. The salaried classes who do not have unaccounted income and do not have to undertake a cash-intensive operation such as a wedding are unlikely to be majorly inconvenienced, except for having to pay their support staff with money they can spend. You can switch your shopping to big retailers that have card-swipe machines or you could explore the possibility of the small retailer accepting electronic transfers.

But if you are in Bettiah, Bihar, you will probably be unable to buy or sell anything without cash. The price of cauliflower in Bettiah’s mandi is reportedly down to Rs 1 a kilo, from Rs 20 BD (Before Demonetisation, what else?). The cauliflower grower is in distress. People who are unable to buy vegetables are in distress. Workers at the mandi are in distress. When distress is acute, the prime responsibility is to alleviate it, not try and score political points.

Another cash transaction because of lack of connectivity? Will fix it right now!

Suppose India were in the midst of a man-made famine of the kind Mao imposed on his country, with his order to finish off sparrows, compliance with which led to a population explosion among locusts that ate up the crops, resulting in mass starvation over 1959-61. What would the hungry masses appreciate more, the Opposition trying to organise soup kitchens or the Opposition staging protest marches in their name?
Right now, people in rural India are in distress. The Opposition cannot distribute cash. Cash has to be printed at the mint and distributed by the RBI across the country. While this proceeds apace, what people need is the means to make payments, in the absence of the usual medium of transaction: cash.
People can make use of the National Unified USSD Platform, created by the National Payments Corporation of India, to pay wages, and buy things using bank accounts. People just need to learn how.
USSD is a communication protocol used by telecommunication service providers to establish a two-way data connection between subscribers’ phones and designated computer servers. On any phone, if you dial *99# and press call, you get a basic banking menu. It begins with asking you to enter an identifier code for your bank. This is where you lose the typical villager.
…Not Just for Them
To transfer money from your account to another person’s using a phone anytime, any day, you need to know your bank’s code and must have generated two numbers: your mobile money identifier (MMID), a seven-digit number, and your four-digit Mobile Personal Identification Number (M-PIN). Armed with these, you are ready to send money, provided you know any of (a) the intended recipient’s MMID and phone number, (b) his account number and the Indian Financial System Code (IFSC) number of the bank/branch and (c) just his Aadhaar number.
Is it sensible to expect a barely literate/numerate villager to remember so many numbers? The only number he needs to remember is his four-digit M-PIN. Other numbers can be written down. A would-be recipient can always provide his own Aadhaar number to the payer.
If people do not have Aadhaar, they must be enrolled. Those still without bank accounts must be helped to open them. These accounts must be linked to their phone number and Aadhaar.
Then, they must be trained to use these resources already available in the system, to replace cash. Is helping the government achieve its goal the best way to oppose it? Reducing cash use is not a Modi-exclusive goal. The NPCI was set up in 2008, it started working in 2009. Aadhaar was envisaged and kicked off by the UPA. NUUP was fully functional before 2014. Now, when rural Indians are in dire straits, the goal should be to help them out.
If Opposition volunteers do not chip in, they can watch volunteers of the Sangh Parivar do the job and take credit for providing relief when people need it most.
How can the Opposition do its bit on black money? It can start collecting funds openly and disclose all of it, rather than just a fraction, as has been the practice so far. This would be a paradigm shift. But the country demands it. Whoever takes the lead will reap a big harvest.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author's own.