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.


Friday, January 20, 2017

10713 - Demonetisation: Seizure of currency notes in recent raids shows Modi govt's lack of preparedness - First Post


S MurlidharanDec, 12 2016 17:30:51 IST

The freshly minted currency notes tumbling out of cupboards of crooks in raids across the country bears out the apprehension voiced by many including yours sincerely in these columns. One feared that the exchange facility was fraught, a virtual powder keg that could explode.

And the fear it turns out was not unfounded. Alas the government had not buried its head in the sand ostrich-like. Small crooks have engaged the services of poor with the ubiquitous Aadhaar cards to get their demonetised notes exchanged in return for a small service charge that exceeded their daily wage or earnings. But bigger crooks as always thought big. They presented genuine and fake Aadhaar cards before the pliable bank officials with supple conscience in order to get the permitted quantum of new notes. To wit, 1,000 Aadhaar cards was capable of laundering Rs 45 lakh given the limit of Rs 4,500 per person the RBI had mandated that was later on brought down to Rs 2,500.

This explains the seemingly impossible act of piling up of so much of new currencies by crooks who have been raided within a month of their launch. The bank officials have obviously winked at the massive wholesale laundering in return for a mess of pottage. It is believed that some Rs 70 crore worth of crisp new notes most of them of the recent Rs 2,000 denomination were found on various raids across the country. This may on surface appear small but could well be the proverbial tip of the iceberg.

Exchange was a bad idea right from the beginning. It was bound to tantalize as much the crooks with black money as bank officials with supple conscience. Aadhaar is not a fool-proof identity document. There have been reports of it being issued without due diligence. And crooks would have merrily printed fake aadhaar cards without any pang of conscience perhaps lulled by the smug belief no harm would befall them. But they had obviously underestimated the policing and sleuthing powers of the government just as the government had underestimated the vile capabilities of the crooks.
In the light of skeletons (cash) tumbling out of cupboards and sacks, it is now clear why common folks had to be denied cash all through the first month post demonetisation. The government should try to find a way out and put back the impounded new notes into circulation after they are inspected and registered by a magistrate. If there are any procedural legal hurdles to this, they must be gotten over quickly.

Apart from exchange counters at banks, petrol bunks were another fecund source to launder. They exist in large numbers across the length and breadth of the country. Crooks could have easily exchanged demonetised currency notes and gotten the legitimate ones in return for a small commission. To be sure, the laundering through this route couldn’t have been as brisk and large as through banks given the fact that they do not have access to new notes but only to the existing Rs 100 notes by and large.
Normally one is wiser in hindsight but there were people with seen-it- all experience who were from the day one worried about exchange and other escape routes like petrol bunks and mother dairy outlets. The government ought to have insisted on deposit of the demonetised notes into bank accounts, period. While this would have gotten it greater flak as being too peremptory and draconian, it would have been the right step in a country where crooks take a foot when given an inch.
Banks could have been asked to open as many deposit counters as possible. And new accounts should have been opened for those without bank accounts but in possession of the demonetised notes. The Modi government has obviously bungled by giving too many escape routes and by not gearing its mints to the daunting task of printing new notes on war footing. It should tell the nation how much money was exchanged while the facility lasted. The government did well to pull the chestnut out of fire after a lot of hemming and hawing with indelible ink etc. but it seems a lot of damage had already been done.