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


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


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, January 7, 2017

10656 - Modi May Not Get Demonetisation Bonanza From Rbi, But Tax Base Is Set To Soar - Swarajyamag

R Jagannathan - Nov 30, 2016, 11:32 am

The massive surge in deposits made with the banking system (Rs 8.44 lakh crore until 27 November, which is nearly 60 per cent of the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes outstanding) suggests two things: that either there was very little black money held in cash, or that most of the black money is coming back fast into the system.
The government’s tearing hurry to push through its Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill 2016, which has provisions to impose a tax of 50 per cent on undisclosed incomes resurfacing as deposits, is indicative of this fact. If the dash to make deposits had not accelerated so quickly into the demonetisation effort, there would have been good reason to suspect that most of the black money may well have become trash. Now, of course, the opposite seems likely to be the case.
If the bulk of the Rs 14-lakh-and-odd crore outstanding in terms of the demonetised currencies is now being deposited in banks by hook or by crook, one can speculate that more than 90 per cent of the cash will be back in the banking system by 30 December.
This means the notes left outside the banking system after 30 December will not lead to any large spike in the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) profits (due to liabilities being extinguished). Thus, not much will get transferred back to the government as dividends. There may be no dividend bonanza for government, at least not on the scale of Rs 1.5-2 lakh crore that has been speculated about earlier.
However, there is one huge gain – and this could sustain. The sudden influx of cash deposits into the banking system means that suddenly the taxpayer base will expand dramatically.
The tax department’s latest figures (for fiscal 2013-14) shows that 5.15 crore Indians paid taxes, even though only 3.91 crore filed returns. One can presume that by this financial year, the 5.15 crore figure would already have spiked substantially. If the taxman asks those reporting higher deposits or business earnings to file returns, there will be another large gain in terms of the taxpayer base. This base is bound to start paying taxes in the coming years.
To make this growth in the taxpayer base persistent and ever-expanding, the government needs to do one simple thing: it should issue PAN cards to all Aadhaar card holders who are adults – and who are of working age.
There are more than one billion Aadhaar cards in existence, and the government has thus far tried to ask taxpayers to voluntarily link their PAN numbers to Aadhaar numbers. Now it can do the reverse, by unilaterally issuing PAN cards to all adult Aadhaar number holders of working age, and then asking them to quote PAN in various transactions. Those with amounts of more than, say, Rs 3 lakh can be asked to file returns from this year.
The PAN card can logically be used not only for taxpayers, but also for subsidy receivers. They are, in effect, negative income tax payers. The taxman’s database can be used to check how many taxpayers, who aren’t filing returns are subsidy receivers.
The second thing worth doing is to bring back the Banking Cash Transaction Tax (BCTT), introduced by P Chidambaram and abolished by Pranab Mukherjee in 2009). The BCTT taxed cash withdrawals above a certain limit at 0.1 per cent.
If the BCTT is applicable to all cash withdrawals above, say, Rs 10,000 a month (with no exceptions) and, simultaneously, card or digital payments are discounted by 1 per cent, India will be weaned off cash faster and more permanently and sustainably. The BCTT can be raised to 0.5 per cent for higher levels of cash withdrawals, and to 1 per cent for cash drawn above, say, Rs 1 lakh, so that everyone is nudged towards the cashless system.
Narendra Modi’s demonetisation may not bring him any worthwhile windfall cash dividend from the RBI, but he has just made it possible for the economy as a whole to gain from this shock treatment.