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.


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

10957 - Government defends Aadhaar in Rajya Sabha amid setback on Finance Bill amendments - Live Mint

Wed, Mar 29 2017. 09 21 PM IST

The Rajya Sabha saw five amendments moved by the opposition on the Finance Bill being adopted as the government defended its Aadhaar policies

The opposition amendments to the finance bill were adopted with a significant margin, with the difference of votes ranging between 27 and 34 votes in the Rajya Sabha, where the NDA government is in a minority. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: The government on Wednesday faced a major embarrassment in the Rajya Sabha as five amendments moved by the opposition to the Finance Bill 2017 were adopted before the House approved the measure.

Of the five opposition amendments, three were moved by the Congress member Digvijaya Singh and two by Sitaram Yechury of CPI(M). The amendments were adopted with a significant margin, with the difference of votes ranging between 27 and 34 votes.
Trinamool Congress, which has 10 members, staged a walkout before the voting in the House where the ruling National Democratic Alliance is in a minority.

In the 245-member House, the BJP has 56 members while the NDA jointly has 74 members. Earlier, while replying to the debate, finance minister Arun Jaitley strongly defended the government’s endeavour to make Aadhaar compulsory for access to various benefits, saying it was necessary to check frauds, including tax evasion.


While talking about Aadhaar, he admitted that it was a “great initiative” of the previous United Progressive Alliance government and said the NDA dispensation is expanding it. “Earlier, some of us had doubts over Aadhaar...Some of your people (in Congress) also had doubts. Later, a presentation was made to the prime minister (Narendra Modi) where the doubts were cleared,” Jaitley said.

Responding to repeated questions by the Congress members as to why Aadhaar was being made mandatory, he countered by asking why this technology should not be utilised since it was created for public benefit.

Congress leader P. Chidamabaram asked whether the government could give a guarantee that the Aadhaar details would not be leaked through hacking. To this, the finance minister said while hacking could not be ruled out, the firewalls should be made stronger.

“If the firewalls can be broken and hacking can take place, the hacking can take place anywhere,” he said, adding “Hacking does not take place because of Aadhaar” and referred to such an incident that took place at the Pentagon in the US.

When referred to the leakage of Aadhaar details of cricketer M.S. Dhoni, Jaitley said it was the result of an “immature” act by somebody in Ranchi against whom action has been taken. For this reason, the technology cannot be discredited, he said.
One of the amendments moved by Digvijaya Singh related to a clause which gave powers to an assistant commissioner of income tax, rather than the commissioner as prescribed earlier, to order searches. He said junior officers should not be given such powers since the income tax department is already notorious in terms of corruption.

Yechury’s two amendments related to a clause linked to political funding. The amended Finance Bill, which contains provisions for taxation, will now have to be considered again by the Lok Sabha, which can either accept or reject the amendments. If it rejects the amendments, the bill is deemed to have been passed by Parliament.

Jaitley also responded to questions over changes proposed to the income tax laws and asserted that any source who reports about any tax evasion, cannot be allowed to be identified. The finance minister said IT authorities will conduct searches on the basis of “satisfaction note” which will only be disclosed to the Courts and not the target of the investigation.

The provision is aimed at protecting the whistleblower which can be a trade union leader, a disgruntled employee or a dissatisfied partner. His assurances, however, did not cut ice with the Opposition which kept asking questions.

Former finance minister P. Chidambaram’s suggestion that the “satisfaction note” should be shared without disclosing the source of information was rejected by Jaitley, who argued that sharing of the note could be used to track the source of information.

“Nobody can search without satisfactory note. The satisfactory note cannot be made available to the target of the investigation,” Jaitley said. He emphasised the changes in the Finance bill are against “economic offenders” and for the protection of whistle blowers.