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.


Monday, January 16, 2017

10694 - 'Aadhaar' man Nandan Nilekani roped in to steer PM Modi's digital payments drive - First Post


FP Staff Dec, 08 2016 12:44:42 IST

Ever since the Narendra Modi-led NDA government announced the demonetisation exercise early last month to drive out corruption from the system, the focus has since then shifted to making India a cashless economy through faster implementation of digital mode of payments system across the country.

Aiming to make cashless transactions a success story, Prime Minister Modi has roped in former UIDAI chairman and Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani as the government's digital advisor. His appointment comes in the backdrop of the government's decision to ban Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes from the system in November, and encourage masses to switch from cash-based transactions to digital payments platform going ahead.

Although the government's intention seems to be exciting for the country's future growth, implementation remains a key challenge, especially at a time when pressure is mounting on the Centre to improve cash flows at the ATMs and bank branches.

Nilekani along with his 13-person committee will be meeting soon to work out a strategy on how to get more Indians to move to digital payments through smartphones and point-of-sale machines in local villages, a Bloomberg report said.

"India has the underlying digital financial architecture in place to get this going," Nilekani said in an interview after the committee's first meeting. "How quickly the government can reach everyone is a question of execution and speed," according to the Bloomberg report.

Spotting an opportunity in the government's cashless drive, several startups such as Paytm, MobiKwik and Freecharge are pushing their digital wallets to lakhs of smartphone users. However, the committee will focus on two important things; to get more merchants to accept the government's United Payments Interface and procure more point-of-sale devices, the report added.

"There is a sense of urgency," said Nilekani. "All the strategies have to be deployed at the same time to aim for universal coverage," Bloomberg report said.

The ex-Infosys top honcho had openly supported the government's demonetisation move, saying the economic slowdown will be short-term in nature and the country's growth would soon bounce back on the back of government's thrust on digitisation and adoption of technology.

Besides his ability to execute key important projects in the past, few may still construe that Nilekani may have been awarded this post for supporting Modi's demonetisation drive.

As the government intends to link governmental banking services directly to its employees, including the army, judiciary and paramilitary forces, Nilekani's expertise could come handy.

Nilekani's journey so far
Nandan Nilekani has had a fairly successful career at Infosys, as the company's topline grew six-fold under his stewardship when he was the CEO between March 2002 to April 2007.

After leaving Infosys in 2009, Nilekani accepted the invitation of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to steer the implementation of Unique Identification Authority of India or UID card project across the country. This was aimed at providing a unique identification number for all residents of the country, and will be used primarily as the basis for efficient delivery of welfare services.

He is also a member of the board of governors of the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) and the president of NCAER (the premier independent applied economics research institute in India).

A sour point in his otherwise successful career has been the dismal show on the political front. After joining Congress party in 2014, he contested from the Bangalore South constituency but lost the Lok Sabha election by a wide margin.

Nilekani is currently a chairman of a non-profit literacy and numeracy platform called EkStep, which help children in improving their learning outcomes quite early in their life.
With his wealth of experience in the field of information and technology, one hopes the digitisation project would be implemented successfully during his tenure.