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.


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Saturday, January 21, 2017

10734 - Explained: What An Independent Regulator For Digital Payments Could Mean - Swarajya


Srikanth Ramakrishnan - Dec 14, 2016, 8:58 pm


SNAPSHOT
An independent regulator can help reduce the burden on the already overburdened RBI and focus on matters concerning the digital economy.

A government panel, headed by Ratan Watal, has recommended that an independent regulator for payments be set up. The proposal also states that should such a body be formed, it should be within the framework and ambit of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Among the recommendations made, it has asked for continuous operation of older transaction methods such as NEFT and RTGS instead of it being available only during regular working hours, charges on cash transactions as well as waivers on digital payments, mandatory digital payments for government transactions, introducing a more prominent role for Aadhaar as a payment mechanism, and most importantly, making changes to the Payment and Settlements Act (PASA) to include consumer protection, as well as data security and protection.

With the Prime Minister reminding everyone that a phone is as good as a bank, the finance ministry offering incentives for digital payments, and the RBI publishing daily statistics on digital transactions, this is indeed a good idea.
As R Jagannathan of Swarajya said earlier, the provision for an independent regulator within the RBI is vital, because a stodgy regulator like the RBI is simply not geared for the fast-paced world of digital transactions. A new body will reduce the load on the RBI, while working independently to ensure smooth transactions.
The regulator’s role should ideally be to ensure that transactions do not dwindle. Once the incentives and waivers for digital payments ends next year, payment platforms and wallets may begin to charge higher amounts, which may result in the return of cash. The new body must ensure that this does not happen, while also looking at other parts of the Watal Committee’s recommendations.
For instance, the regulator will be able to suspend operations in the event of a data breach. If a wallet provider’s data is stolen, the regulator should be able to stop all transactions and suspend operations till things return to normalcy. At the same time, such a regulator can ensure that adequate safeguard measures are in place to ensure that such a breach does not occur, and monitor it regularly, something the RBI is already too overburdened to do. The regulator can further ensure that data is not stored with the service provider, but with them alone, and only an identifiable reference number of sorts is provided in the case of transactions.
The most important recommendation, is the inclusion of consumer protection in the PASA. Currently, there are no such measures for dispute resolution in case a transaction has gone awry. In the case of NEFT, RTGS, IMPS and UPI, it can be taken up with the bank, but for wallets, there is no mechanism in place. While certain players like Uber may have dispute resolution processes, these are outside the financial space.
As an independent body, it can also formulate policies based on transaction fees, pushing out newer cashless transaction methods, as well as keep a check on transactions that may be of interest to the Income Tax Department. It would need to work in tandem with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) in rolling out more payment systems, as well as increase protection measures for services such as the National Unified USSD Platform (NUUP). It will also need coordination with the Unique ID Authority of India for better Aadhaar integration, offering fraud protection to Aadhaar users, ensure availability of Aadhaar-based systems and more.
Overall, the idea of a new regulator solely for a digital economy sounds good. It will reduce the burden on the RBI, and in turn both bodies can function better.