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.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

10972 - Modi’s India must abolish Regulation Raj - Sunday Guardian


By M.D. Nalapat | 2 April, 2017


This country’s forest of inchoate regulations and superfluous rules is why India has a pitifully low per capita income.

The Election Commission of India (EC) has decreed that even astrologers will not be allowed to forecast election results on television or in print. Even TV talk-show guests will be barred from giving forecasts. Clearly, CEC Nasim Zaidi and his colleagues would like astrologers and exit pollsters to exit from the idiot box, lest they “influence the voter”. Exactly what “influence” exit polls or astrological or other forecasting of results has on the voter has of course been unspecified by successive Election Commissioners. Such censorship is absent in practically any major democracy other than ours. Is it because the EC believes that voters in the many countries permitting exit polls and forecasting have a maturity of mind that the Indian voter lacks? But of course. It is axiomatic in a governance construct retaining the colonial ethos of pre-1947 days that the people of India are as little able to function without adult (i.e. official) supervision as small children. Which is presumably why the EC seeks to bar them from as much information as possible. This assumption of immature and wayward minds of the Indian citizen is why the bureaucracy in India crafts rule upon rule, regulation after regulation, thereby making the doing of anything painfully difficult in India.

This country’s forest of inchoate regulations and superfluous rules is why India has a pitifully low per capita income when compared to other major democracies. Those who took over the administration of this country after the British left, retained practically the entirety of an administrative structure founded on the premise that the people of India need supervision—indeed, control—at every stage of their lives and in all activities.

 As a consequence, much of the life of the citizen gets consumed in matters of compliance with the official regulations, prohibitions and commands needing to be obeyed on pain of punishment.

A recent experience of this columnist concerned Aadhaar. Now that the government has made mandatory the use of the Aadhaar-based Unique Identification Number (in a context where 99% of citizens already have some or other such unique number, including that of the cellphone they own), a visit was made to an Aadhaar dispensing outlet. After waiting for an hour and 27 minutes, the shop registered details of every digi t of both hands plus the irises of the eyes. However, when the Aadhaar card was sought to be procured ten days later, the reply was that “all the registrations done for those three days were disallowed by higher authority”. What happened to the biometric data taken from each applicant, including this columnist’s? Nobody knew or cared. And if months later, an ultra-high resolution camera takes images of both irises and imprints them on contact lenses, it would not be impossible for an imposter to access a facility that needs such identification for entry. As for the fingerprints, were someone to scan and imprint them on film, and that film subsequently used to plant fingerprint evidence at the site of a crime, it would be next to impossible to prove that the prints were stolen. Why? Because the biometric and other data stored through Aadhaar is regarded as too sensitive to be disclosed even to the person whose data it is. And in case the agency doing so makes other use of it, in the unlikely event of its getting found out, the only “punishment” would be blacklisting that agency for ten years.

During that period, all that the owner would need to do would be to procure a new nameboard and get back into business, Dhoni or no Dhoni. Because of the not unusual disappearance of three days’ data of applicants at that particular location, another visit to the Aadhaar outlet will need to be made. Hopefully, this time the card will be ready, although there will continue to be zero transparency about what happens to the stored data.

Unless, of course, one were to access some of the websites that claim to be revealing Aadhaar data to the public. Aadhaar must get cleansed of its imperfections to avoid future disasters.

An encounter that same week with the Regulation Raj that India continues to be, involved buying a Wi-Fi device from a company that had advertised an attractive scheme. On the first visit, the relevant retail outlet declined the identity document offered. The next time around, it refused to process the request even when presented with a copy of passport details, because a passport photograph was not presented. Why this could not have been taken on the spot by the outlet through a mobile telephone remains a mystery. Fortunately, on the third visit to the store, armed with passport, photograph and loads of patience, success. Registration was done, as this columnist was informed just two days later on his mobile phone. The entire process (including the three visits) took 57 minutes to complete, including downtime. Not that the company or its outlet should be blamed. Failure to comply with any of the multiplying regulations involving telecom could well lead to prison for some of its officials.

If India is to ever enjoy a growth rate high enough to generate 13 million additional jobs each year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will need to set up empowered working groups that would go through the country’s Walmart-sized lists of regulations. They need to trim some and remove the rest entirely, leaving behind only those applicable to 21st century needs and practices. By the time the 2019 Lok Sabha polls take place, India needs to have a leaner and citizen-friendly system of rules and regulations, so that a genuinely new India emerges from the shadow of growth-destroying mechanisms of governance.