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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Sunday, January 22, 2017

10772 - The Readers' Editor writes: Scroll's Aadhar articles are a good example of what a series should be - Scroll.In




It is the job of journalism to offer its own perspective and to do so by arguing its case well.


Dec 30, 2016 · 09:30 pm  


Like any other publication Scroll.in puts out the occasional series of reports/articles on important issues. “Educating India” is one series which has been running occasionally, “Ear to the Ground” is another.

More recently, we have had “Identity Project”, an ongoing series on and around Aadhaar. Six articles written separately by two authors – Anumeha Yadav and M. Rajshekhar – had been published over the past fortnight until December 29.

A series helps focus attention on a particular issue. The writer(s) have more space to cover all the related aspects. And they have the freedom to develop their arguments more fully.
Not all series pull it off though. Sometimes the articles, free from restrictions on length, tend to ramble. Sometimes they do not hold together as one because each article does not connect with what came before or what comes afterwards,
Not the Identity Project series though. The series seems to be the ideal set of articles on a particular subject.

Much has been written over the past few years on Aadhaar. The Scroll.in series seems to be able to tell us more, both about its history and the new uses to which Aadhaar is being put.

Gaining prominence
Aadhaar started as a programme that was meant to plug leakages in government programmes. Over the years it has grown into something much larger. Now, post-demonetisation, in the drive to a less cash-intensive India, a new and more prominent place is being given to Aadhaar.

What does all this mean? We need to know from those who designed Aadhaar, those who are trying to put it to new uses, and from those who see its problems and limitations.

The articles in the Identity Project series do exactly all that.
The series started with an introduction, drawing attention to how Aadhaar is very different from the social security number of the US. The first article also pointed out to the restrictions in the US on the use of the social security number by private companies – something that does not seem to exist as of now in India. (The series was actually preceded by two articles on the experience in Gujarat (this one and then this one) which provided the setting for one set of issues – the limits of biometric identification in Indian conditions.)

The second article on the experience with using Aadhaar in Chhattisgarh highlighted one particular set of problems with its use in the public distribution system, and how the government has been forced to try and work around infrastructural deficits that affect the efficacy of Aadhaar.

The third and fourth articles dealt with issues that have not been covered much in the media (at least to my understanding): about how private companies are using Aadhaar information, sharing it with others (even building paid services on such information) – all without the consent of the “citizen with a number”.

The fifth article were on draft rules introduced in Parliament on Aadhaar, which again have not been discussed much in the media and should be. The sixth seemed to be a concluding piece, but evidently not. One looks forward to reading what the seventh and eighth articles in the series are going to offer.
The articles are based on interviews with the builders of Aadhaar, a few users, a few “Aadhaar number holders and critics – and most important those in private firms who are finding new uses for Aadhaar data.

Offers a point of view
The Identity Project series is complete in a sense, with a definite point of view. There is no attempt to provide a false sense of balance. It is important for journalism to give all perspectives a hearing, but good journalism is not about giving all perspectives an equal hearing. That would suggest both (all) sides have equally valid points. That need not be so. It is the job of journalism to offer its own perspective and to do so by arguing its case well. It should at the same time give the reader the opportunity to disagree and follow her own line of thinking.
It is not that the Identity Project series has been perfect. One can discern problems in writing and editing. Perhaps the third and fourth articles on private companies using Aadhaar and the implications for privacy went on for too long. They could have been more tightly written and perhaps even condensed into one.
The headline for the sixth article bordered on the sensational (“Aadhaar shows India’s governance is susceptible to poorly tested ideas pushed by powerful people”). The text itself does not do justice to the headline, which is based on a single sentence in the article and which is not adequately established (“… a Joint Secretary with a good idea might not be able to see it to fruition. But a bad idea, driven by powerful people, will go through.”)
These are minor problems with the articles though. All in all, the Identity Project series is what a series should be in journalism.

Readers can write to the Readers’ Editor at readerseditor@scroll.in
We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.