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.


Monday, April 3, 2017

10939 - What’s really driving big push for Aadhaar? - Asian Age




Yogi Aggarwal

The writer is a Mumbai-based freelance journalist
Published : Mar 29, 2017, 2:37 am IST 

The government is thinking of linking the Aadhaar number to mobile phone numbers.

The Supreme Court had made it clear in October 2015 that Aadhaar was voluntary and could not be made mandatory.

The most important result of the BJP’s landslide victory in the elections to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly last month was not the installation of Hindutva diehard Adityanath Yogi as the chief
minister. Within a few days of the stunning result, the finance
minister introduced the Budget with 33 new unannounced clauses in various bills that immediately became law. This was done by passing them as “money” bills that does not require the Rajya Sabha’s approval. This means that these amendments were passed without debate in a day.

The government “cleverly let MPs from major parties give their speeches before they dropped the amendment bomb” — tweeted Meghnad, a BJD MP. The important changes to Indian law included making it compulsory for all taxpayers to submit an Aadhaar identity card by July 2017, their PAN card being no longer enough, and in none of the donations by cheque to political parties need the identities of the donors be revealed.

These were startling changes to the law with far-reaching
implications. The Supreme Court had made it clear in October 2015 that Aadhaar was voluntary and could not be made mandatory. The court had repeated this position in September last year and made the Narendra Modi government remove a condition making it compulsory for students to give their Aadhaar numbers for various scholarship schemes. By
allowing political parties to not disclose the names of large donors, the government was tightening the grip of big business over politics and giving a ready advantage to a ruling dispensation such as itself to corner most of the money.

The Modi government was taking advantage of its strong win in UP to take steps that weakened the democratic nature of our polity. Its appointment of Adityanath Yogi — with several criminal cases of murder, intimidation and rioting against him — showed its confidence in pursuing a divisive right-wing path. It further showed its confidence in forming governments in Goa and Manipur despite not having the required majority.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley made a fantastic claim that the
permanent account number (PAN), which is essential for all tax
returns, is not reliable since many people have multiple PAN, which are used to evade tax. As an example, he said, though there are over 240 million PANs in the country, less than a million are linked to Aadhaar cards. This is the first time the government has made such a claim without bothering to verify it. The numbers are unbelievable, around 250 PAN cards for every card linked to Aadhaar, indicating that by giving his PAN card is enough for the taxpayer without the need for an Aadhaar card.

Nevertheless, the government maintained that an advantage of linking Aadhaar to PAN will “be a big source to gather banking transaction information, which can be an important indication of a person’s income profile”.

It is part of the government tightening its surveillance of
citizens. Nandan Nilekani, the first chairman of
the scheme, succeeded in creating the world’s biggest surveillance engine, monitoring 1,200 million people, several times more than in any other country.

It ensures that any government will have complete access to all the data of the citizen and can use it to manipulate any one at will.
Control of citizens is increasing by the day.
Initially, people only had to get an Aadhaar card if they wanted
subsidised LPG or kerosene, but the list expanded.

Now, proof of enrollment in Aadhaar is necessary for several
vulnerable groups — including women rescued from trafficking, workers engaged in forced labour, schoolchildren between six and 14 years of age and people with disabilities — to continue to receive government benefits. Schoolchildren, for instance, will not be served mid-day meals from June if they are unable to present their Aadhaar credentials.

Now, since most people pay tax in one form or another, replacing the tried and tested PAN card with the superfluous Aadhaar will mean that surveillance will extend to increasing parts of life. It’s becoming reminiscent of Nazi Germany, when a similar system was used to identify and isolate Jews and other minorities.

Much has been made between Aadhaar and the US social security number.
But the differences are greater than any similarities. Aadhaar uses fingerprints and eye biometrics to identify the person uniquely. The social security number originated in the years of the Great Depression, when it was used to track the earnings of workers and compute the amount of social security benefits to be credited to their accounts. The US government decided not to collect fingerprints, since “the use of fingerprints was associated in the public mind with criminal activity, making this approach undesirable”, notes the Social Security Administration,

And its website states: “The card was never intended to serve as a personal identification document.”

Aadhaar is being used as an identifier to link databases, which
makes it easy for government officials to gain access to personal user information, such as bank records, education data, health records, and for surveillance of phone calls and data usage. This data was not linked; under Aadhaar it is. Taking this further, the government is thinking of linking the Aadhaar number to mobile phone numbers.

The present government’s rush to push for Aadhaar despite the Supreme Court’s many objections and the misgivings of many critics is in line with its eagerness to push digital money transactions. It is not just an attempt at modernisation, but having greater control and surveillance. As the demonetisation experiment proved it could bring great inconvenience to the public but not necessarily affect the government’s ability to put a spin on it to sway voters. Even more than demonetisation, Aadhaar could be sold as being good for the country since it gives greater control to the government.

Government control is one thing. Private profit is another. Nandan Nilekani, in a foreword to a report by investment banker
Credit-Suisse, noted that the use of Aadhaar by the financial sector could open up a $600 billion business opportunity. No wonder private companies are rushing to get their hands on the Aadhaar numbers.