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.


Search This Blog

Monday, January 16, 2017

10667 - Demonetisation, Aadhaar, and the Great Rural ID Theft - The Quint

Demonetisation, Aadhaar, and the Great Rural ID Theft

Aman Sethi

December 1, 2016, 6:13 pm

For a negligible fee, Manoj Kumar can assist the residents of Dumri Khas, a village not far from the India-Nepal border, fill out 14 different kinds of government forms, certificates and entitlements, all from his ageing desktop computer and battered printer-scanner installed on a rickety wooden desk in the village haat.

Yet since 8 November this year, shops like Kumar’s have caught the attention of digital privacy experts as the weakest link that could unravel Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s controversial decision to demonetise high denomination currency notes to crack down on unaccounted wealth.

Every day thousands of Indians hand over copies of sensitive data like identity cards, birth certificates, and passports, to unsecured and unaccountable private providers. (Photo: Esha Paul/The Quint)

Kumar isn’t a tout, he mans one of the 1,99,325 privately run Common Services Centres (CSCs) set up by the central government to help rural Indians apply online for passports, caste certificates, old age pensions, birth certificates, Aadhaar numbers and bank accounts, without visiting a government office.

“We scan your documents and upload them to the government website,” Kumar said, “Then the department mails you back your card.”

Under the Prime Minister Jan Dhan Yojana, an Aadhaar card is all you need to open a no-frills account. In 2015-2016, CSCs like Kumar’s generated over 6 crore, largely unaudited, Aadhaar numbers, while printing out Aadhaar cards accounted for the largest number of transactions at CSCs, according to the CSC annual report.


Unwitting Databanks
In the process, CSCs have unwittingly become repositories for the sensitive private data of millions of Indians, which could be used to open and operate untold numbers of Jan Dhan (no-frills) bank accounts to park and launder money through India’s increasingly porous financial system.

Aadhaar cards apart, CSCs are flush with copies all sorts of documents that would be needed to open a fully operational bank account. When The Quint visited, Kumar’s desk was scattered with an assortment of driver licenses, ration cards, and pension applications.

CSCs are gathering confidential data with the aim of financial inclusion, but they are employed by private companies, and so are not accountable. They have the possibility of playing around with the identities of an entire population by sharing this data to anyone who pays for it.

Anupam Saraph, IT Governance Expert, Former Advisor to Government of Goa


Reserve Bank of India circulars, interviews with bank officials, banking correspondents, and news reports indicate that touts have already begun using this information to hijack identities. The absence of adequate protocols has meant that the much-touted biometric security features of the Aadhaar number have been subverted with ease.

A recent report in Deccan Chronicle reveals that brokers in Hyderabad are buying photocopies of identity documents in bulk from CSCs, photocopy shops and establishments that required a copy of a photo id to provide a service. The ids, the newspaper reported, were being used to exchange five hundred and thousand rupee notes for new denominations.

The Jan Dhan Logjam
There are 25.68 crore Jan Dhan bank accounts in India. In the first fortnight after demonetisation was announced, deposits in Jan Dhan accounts increased by a startling Rs 27,198 crore. Banks also opened an additional 16.48 lakh such accounts.
On Wednesday, the RBI tacitly admitted that at least some of the money gushing in through these accounts might be laundered when it issued a circular capping the monthly withdrawals to Rs 10,000 for Jan Dhan accounts with complete Know Your Customer (KYC) documentation, and Rs 5,000 for those with incomplete KYC.

The limits, the RBI said, were introduced, with “a view to protect the innocent farmers and rural account holders of PMJDY from activities of money launderers and legal consequences under the Benami Property Transaction & Money Laundering laws.”