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.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

10748 - NITI offers rewards in cashless push but changing govt narratives prove digitisation a tall task - First Post

NITI offers rewards in cashless push but changing govt narratives prove digitisation a tall task

Sindhu BhattacharyaDec, 15 2016 19:15:22 IST

New Delhi: The ever changing government narrative after the demonetisation decision on 8 November has once again thrown up an interesting question: Is it mulling imposition of some sort of charge/levy for cash transactions? A senior government official today first said that more and more incentives would be given by the government to push digital transactions so that cash use declines. He then hinted that some internal discussions may take place on putting a charge/levy on cash transactions to make them less attractive than digital payments, before finally retracting and ending with a caveat that these thoughts were all his own, not the government’s.


NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant. Image courtesy PIB
So as of now, there is no clarity if such a move is even being contemplated within the government. But if indeed there is a though, it would be a rather fanciful one since the government’s own estimates show that only 5 percent  of all payments for personal consumption by Indians are done digitally as of now. Imposing a charge on 95 percent  non-digital payments would be quite impractical.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said today that digital transactions were a parallel mechanism, not a substitute for cash transactions. He said this while making his opening remarks at the 5th Meeting of the Consultative Committee attached to the Ministry of Finance. The subject of today’s meeting was “Shift to Digital Transactions”.

So from becoming a cashless society to examining a possible levy on all cash transactions to admitting that digital cannot be the only way to transact – the government narrative changes by the hour. Jaitley also said in his remarks that less cash can be gradually substituted to the possible extent through digital payments/transactions and that the government and the RBI have taken various steps to bring down the cost of digital transactions.

That the government is at its wits’ end with its stated aim of turning India digital overnight is apparent. It must surely be a gradual process. To a question on what kind of redressal mechanism it has devised for problems with digital payment modes like e-wallets, Niti Ayog CEO Amitabh Kant first said the consumer courts will decide these matters before conceding that an alternative method will have to be devised to ensure speedier redressal. He was addressing a presser on the various incentives the government has announced for promoting digital payments through government backed instruments.

To a question over the unpreparedness of the National Payment Corporation of India in handling secure digital payments - it was reportedly recently hacked by Legion – Kant said all digital transactions via government backed instruments were based on two-factor authentication, making them secure. He gave the example of Aadhaar based payments – where even if someone gets to know your Aadhar number, that person cannot misuse the payment gateway since thumb impression or iris scan is still needed for payment to be completed.

Kant read out a host of incentives the government will dole out to citizens making digital payments (and shunning cash) from 25 December this year. There will be daily and weekly cash awards for consumers as well as merchants beginning Christmas Day, provided any of the four government backed payment instruments are used for transactions between Rs 50 - Rs 3,000. The incentives are available on payment by RuPay card, through UPI, through Aadhaar enabled payment systems and through USSD. The caveat is this though: these incentives only apply on people to merchant and people to government transactions, not for people to people or B2B transactions. So you cannot transfer money to an e-wallet, for example, and become part of the bumper prizes being rolled out.

Lucky Grahak Yojana for consumers:
I) Daily reward of Rs 1,000 to be given to 15,000 lucky consumers for a period of 100 days

II) Weekly prizes worth Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10,000 and Rs. 5,000 for consumers who use the alternate modes of digital payments
This will include all forms of transactions viz. UPI, USSD, AEPS and RuPay cards but will for the time being exclude transactions through private credit cards and digital wallets. Bumper prize: 3 mega prizes for consumers worth Rs 1 crore, Rs 50 lakh and Rs 25 lakh for digital transactions between 8 November, 2016 to 13 April, 2017 to be announced on 14 April, 2017

Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana for merchants:
1) Prizes for merchants for all digital transactions conducted at merchant establishments
2) Weekly prizes worth Rs. 50,000, Rs 5,000 and Rs. 2,500
3) Mega draw on 14th of April
III) Mega prizes for merchants worth Rs 50 lakh, Rs 25 lakh, Rs 12 lakh for digital transactions between 8 November, 2016 to 13 April, 2017 to be announced on 14 April 2017. Announcing ‘Lucky Grahak Yojana’ and ‘Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana’, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said both the schemes would cover small transactions between Rs. 50 and Rs. 3,000 to encourage every section of society to move to digital payments and the government will spend Rs 340 crore in all for this christmas gift.
Giving details on digital transactions post demonetisation of Rs. 1,000 and old Rs.500 notes, he said PoS transactions witnessed a jump of 95 percent since 8 November (till 7 December). RuPay card transactions were up 316 percent and e-wallet by 271 percent, while both Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) witnessed increase of about 1,200 percent each. All forms of transactions through UPI, USSD, Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS) and RuPay cards will be eligible for lucky draws, he said.
Meanwhile, Jaitley also outlined the steps taken post demonetisation to encourage digital payments. He specifically mentioned about the MDR (merchant discount rate) charges which have been brought down significantly in case of transactions up to Rs.2,000 made through debit cards i.e. 0.25 percent in case of transactions below Rs. 1000 and 0.50 percent in case of transactions between Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 2,000. The Finance Minister mentioned that incentives announced by the government last week relating to discount of 0.75 percent in case of purchase of petrol/diesel through digital payment has shown a very encouraging response from the people, by and large.