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

10718 - How demonetisation has affected the homeless - Business Standard

The Geeta Ghat shelter for homeless men in Old Delhi is unnaturally crowded in the afternoons these days
Geetanjali Krishna  |  New Delhi 
December 13, 2016 Last Updated at 02:04 IST

The Geeta Ghat shelter for homeless men in Old Delhi is unnaturally crowded in the afternoons these days. Usually, during the day, it empties out as men go out in search of work. “These days, as many as 60 men are hanging around here, unemployed, during the day,” says Gufran Alam, a field worker from Centre of Equity Studies that oversees the shelter. “Many of them have not gone for work for as long as a week!” For these migrant rickshaw pullers, labourers and beggars, life is a day-to-day existence in which they have to buy everything they consume. Why, then, are so many of them out of work?

“It’s not that we haven’t been getting any jobs since the government abruptly announced note-bandi this November,” clarifies Ashwini Kumar, an occasional inmate at the shelter. Wedding contractors hire people like him for behind-the-scene odd jobs during large parties. “But contractors are paying us only in old notes,” he says. Since only a small fraction of the men living in the shelter have bank accounts, most resort to commercial moneychangers, who, they allege, are now charging a commission of 50 per cent on old notes. “I last worked for two days last week, when the contractor paid me Rs 1,200 in old currency,” says Kumar. “When I found that I could only exchange it for Rs 600 in new notes in the market, I decided it was just not worth it to seek work right now!” Like Kumar, another inmate Sushil Kumar Chakraborty, an occasional cook who gets part time work with caterers, says he, too, prefers to sit idle rather than work and get paid in old currency. “I don’t know how long can I stay without earning,” he says. “I guess I’ll wait till I become desperate.”

The few among the homeless who are fortunate enough to have bank accounts, have a different story to tell. Sushil Kumar Jha, a tuberculosis patient who is being treated at the Geeta Ghat recovery shelter, works when he can as a waiter in weddings and parties. “The last time I worked and was paid in old notes, I exchanged them for whatever I could get in the market,” he says. He did not even try to deposit the money in the account as he wasn’t up to braving the long queue at the bank. “I haven’t the faintest idea how banks work, and worry what will happen to my hard-earned money once I deposit it,” he says. “I feel more comfortable when I have all my belongings with me.”

Chakraborty, Jha and Kumar echo the sentiments of an estimated 200,000 homeless people in the capital. Illiterate, disempowered and bearing a deep mistrust of the system, few of them possess voter cards, Aadhaar Cards or bank accounts and none can withstand the job/income loss that demonetisation has caused. Fieldworkers estimate that there are about 1,000 men who stay in government shelters along the banks of the Yamuna. “Not even a handful of these have voter ID or Aadhaar cards,” says Alam.

Without these key means of identification, these people find it hard to get employment in the organised sector, and also stand no chance of receiving government social security benefits.

Yet, they are merely symptoms of a larger malaise. “Whether it is the homeless, or the transgender, there is a significant number of people in Delhi who don’t have Aadhaar cards and Jan Dhan accounts and are suffering the ill effects of demonetisation,” says Anjali Bharadwaj of Satark Nagarik Sangathan. Harsh Mandar of Centre for Equity Studies (CES), observes that the plight of destitute women beggars in the Jama Masjid area is pitiable. “Dependent on alms that have virtually dried up because of the cash crunch, many are now in a very bad shape,” he says. “The government has not thought about the people who are the neediest – the country’s millions of informal workers, farmers, migrants, nomads, tribals, single women, disabled, sick and old people, street children – in its sudden decision to demonetise our currency!”

Since the November 8 announcement, CES and several other NGOs have been working overtime to enable more people to obtain Aadhaar cards and bank accounts. Most hit the same old circular roadblock. “To open a bank account, one needs an Aadhaar card. For an Aadhaar card, one needs to show address proof, which these homeless people don’t possess,” says Alam.

While the Election Commission is supposed to periodically set up camps to issue voter ID cards to the homeless, these are few and far between. “And, the last few have been poorly advertised and held in places with hardly any homeless population,” he adds. CES had filed 400 applications for voter ID cards, of which only 65 have been accepted. The rest were rejected because of the lack of photo ID.

“Although the poor and homeless are used to life’s hardships, the uncertainty brought by this new government policy on demonetisation is no less than a calamity,” says Mandar. There are neither any easy solutions nor shortcuts to the problems, big and small that economists and activists are seeing on the ground every day. “We’re going to be seeing the effects of demonetisation on India’s most vulnerable citizens for a long time to come,” says Mandar. History will tell whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies on demonetisation and digitisation will transform the lives of the poor, but one thing is for sure. Winter has come, and it promises to be a bitter one.