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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Thursday, March 9, 2017

10890 - Aadhaar, midday meals and key questions in SC - Indian Express



Govt has linked Aadhaar to school midday meals, among several other schemes. The Indian Express explains details of the move, and recap the pending legal challenges to Aadhaar

Written by Ritika Chopra , Utkarsh Anand | Updated: March 8, 2017 9:25 am

The Mid-day Meal Scheme (MDMS) is the largest school feeding programme of its kind in the world

How many children have midday meals?
The Mid-day Meal Scheme (MDMS) is the largest school feeding programme of its kind in the world, covering 10.03 crore students enrolled in government schools from Classes 1 to 8. The programme was first introduced in 1925 for disadvantaged children in Madras Municipal Corporation. By the mid 1980s, three states — Gujarat, Kerala and Tamil Nadu — had emulated the scheme’s success. The union government launched the scheme on a pilot basis in 1995 for children in Classes 1 to 5. By October 2007, MDMS had been scaled up to Class 8. The basic objective of this scheme is to enhance enrolment in schools.

How many children might theoretically be left out due to the Aadhaar link?
The HRD Ministry is currently collecting data on how many out of the 10.03 crore beneficiaries already have Aadhaar. However, the government has clarified that no student will be deprived of hot cooked meals in case he/she doesn’t have an Aadhaar number. The February 28 gazette notification states that till the time Aadhaar is assigned to a child, the benefits under the scheme will continue, provided the child can produce an Aadhaar enrolment slip or an undertaking by the parents or legal guardian stating that the child is not availing the benefit at any other school.

What are the schemes and benefits in which Aadhaar is now mandatory?
Following multiple notifications issued last week, Aadhaar is now mandatory for over 30 schemes, including ex-gratia to Bhopal gas leak victims, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Bonded Labour Rehabilitation Scheme, Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, National Action Plan for Skill Training of Persons with Disabilities, National Water Mission and National Health Mission. The union government plans to make it compulsory for all 84 schemes covered under the direct subsidy benefit transfer programme.

Why are activists opposed to using Aadhaar to identify beneficiaries of the midday meal scheme?
Civil society groups, activists and opposition parties say it goes against the Supreme Court’s order that Aadhaar can’t be made mandatory for welfare schemes. Also, critics say, there is no role for Aadhaar in MDMS, and it would subject children to lifelong tracking without the option to opt out later.

And what is the government argument?
The government has justified the linking of Aadhaar to several DBT schemes saying it would simplify delivery processes, encourage transparency and efficiency, enable citizens to get services easily, clean up databases by removing duplicates and ghost identities, and plug leaks in all DBT schemes.

What has the Supreme Court said about making Aadhaar mandatory?
While the validity of Aadhaar as a scheme remains to be decided in law, the court has passed a few interim orders, saying Aadhaar is not mandatory. In September 2013, it said “no person should suffer for not getting the Aadhaar card”, and that it should be voluntary.

The first modification in this order came on August 11, 2015, when a 3-judge Bench referred the issue to a Constitution Bench but said the government could use Aadhaar for the public distribution system (PDS) and to distribute LPG cylinders. But it must “give wide publicity in the electronic and print media… that it is not mandatory for a citizen to obtain an Aadhaar card”.
On October 15, 2015, the court allowed the government to use Aadhaar also for MGNREGS, National Social Assistance Programme (Old Age Pensions, Widow Pensions, Disability Pensions), Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO). But the 5-judge Constitution Bench reiterated: “We will also make it clear that the Aadhaar card Scheme is purely voluntary and it cannot be made mandatory till the matter is finally decided by this Court one way or the other.” The court has passed no other direction since then.
What are the questions pending before the court in the matter?
The main petition was filed by a retired Karnataka High Court judge, Justice K S Puttaswamy, in 2012. The 90-year-old has claimed that the UID scheme infringes upon a citizen’s right to privacy, which flows from Article 21, which guarantees the fundamental right to life. The petition underlined there was no system to ensure that people’s biometric data would be safe, and would not be misused by the private collection agencies. Subsequently, several cases transferred from High Courts, and writ petitions by activists like Aruna Roy and S G Vombatkere and NGOs, challenging Aadhaar, were tagged with the main petition.

On August 11, 2015, a 3-judge Bench referred the matter to the Constitution Bench to ascertain whether the Constitution does indeed guarantee a right to privacy and, if such a right exists, what its source and contours are.

The case came up before the Constitution Bench, then headed by CJI H L Dattu, only for the purpose of deciding the government’s application on letting it use Aadhaar for more services. The court allowed it in October 2015.

While the matter has not come up in over a year, a few contempt petitions have been filed in the mean time, alleging that the government has made Aadhaar mandatory for various services not enumerated by the court in its interim order. 

However, with no Constitution Bench having been reconstituted, there have been no orders in these petitions either.

On January 5 this year, counsel for the main petitioner, Justice Puttaswamy, had made a request for an urgent hearing before the CJI, who declined it “for the time being”. But CJI J S Khehar has now indicated that the 5-judge Bench will be constituted to hear Aadhaar cases during the summer vacation, which starts on May 11.