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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Saturday, April 8, 2017

10988 - Aadhaar Exposed 4 Lakh 'Ghosts' In Mid-Day Meals? Claims May Not Add Up - NDTV


NEW DELHI:  Soon after the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) issued a notification making Aadhaar card mandatory for accessing mid-day meals, it released data claiming that thanks to Aadhaar, four lakh 'ghost' or duplicate students enrolled with the state education department had been detected.

This discovery was used to bolster the government's defence that Aadhaar can help curb corruption in the school lunch scheme, and ward off criticism from critics who argue that the move is both illegal, and impractical.

A closer look suggests that the government's claims do not quite add up.

Of the four lakh non-existent students discovered, two lakhs are from Jharkhand and a similar number from Andhra Pradesh. Both states have covered nearly their entire student population with Aadhaar; the discovery of these 'ghosts' was the result of that exercise, say state government officials.

But when we checked with officials in education department in Ranchi, they could offer no direct evidence that these 'ghost' children were illegally consuming mid-day meals in government schools.

Mukesh Kumar, State Project Director for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan said that the two lakh duplicate names were discovered as part of an exercise conducted to track children who had enrolled in both government and private schools.

This is a common practice in India where increasingly children are shifting to a rapidly proliferating network of private schools, which in some cases may be unrecognised. As a back-up option, parents retain their admission in government schools.

Private schools allow this, since a higher student body gives them greater chance of acquiring recognition.

"There are so many unrecognized schools, so in the village and panchayat nowadays they are going to impress and attract students, so chances of duplication and manipulation are there," said Mr Kumar.  

This poses a genuine challenge to India's public (and private) school system, but it's unclear how the discovery will reduce corruption in mid-day meal scheme.

Some students, says Mr Kumar, may be using the duplication to wrongly avail benefits of government schemes, like free uniforms, books or even free school lunches. He admits, though, there is no proof of how many are freeloaders.

A visit to a government middle school in Marda block, 40 kilometers from Ranchi, whose records have thrown up three children of the two lakh ghosts underlines that reasons for duplication may be much more mundane.

Vibhakar Mishr, principal of the school says two of the three students had simply moved to other schools and their names have been struck off from the register. That shift, however, may not have been logged in the system. The third student had transferred to the Marda school from a different school three years ago; that school has yet to eliminate his name from the records.

Mr Mishr says there is no question of school demanding funds for mid-day meals for students that have left it.

"When a child comes in, attendance is taken accordingly and only then the required amount of food is made for mid-day meal. One child cannot take food from two places; neither can he or she give attendance in two places," he said.  

The centre, however is dismissive of these examples, persisting with its claims that state's exaggerate school enrollment to extract more funds for the scheme.  

Again, the numbers belie this. Jharkhand, for instance, demands mid-day meals funds for only 54 per cent of children enrolled in school.

Nationally, 20 per cent of enrolled children - that is three crores in all - are not served school lunches.

Reetika Khera, Professor at IIT-Delhi told NDTV that this does not indicate that states are significantly inflating enrolment numbers. "If the state government wanted to embezzle funds, then it would have shown 100 per cent expenditure. But the fact that the states are reporting only 80 per cent or 76 per cent, it suggests that the states are not padding these numbers," the professor said.

In Andhra Pradesh, which has also found two lakh 'ghost' entries via Aadhaar, the reasons appear to be the same - children enrolled in private and government schools.

An audit of the mid-day meal scheme commissioned by the state government found that the main problem was not duplicate entries.

The main problem with mid-day meals, explains Sowmya Kidambi, Director, Society for Social Audit, Accountability and Transparency - a Hyderabad-based government body which conducted the audit - was poor quality of food being fed to children under the scheme.

"Diversion of grains, issues of honorarium and salaries not being paid on time to the cook and helpers, their inability to buy vegetables or to be able to get any kind of credit that is required to feed so many children, were bigger issues," said Kidambi.

Asked how registering children under Aadhaar will help resolve this, Ms Kidambi said, laughingly, she "doesn't know."

Moreover, even if Aadhaar is able to eliminate some degree of ghosts from mid-day meals, it's unclear if those gains outweigh the risk posed by its patchy implementation.

In a number of states, the use of Aadhaar to deliver government benefits, like subsidised food have been bedevilled by issues of last mile connectivity.

In Jharkhand, only two districts are experimenting with the use of Aadhaar to deliver government handouts, and here too officials accept there are problems.

"There are issues like infrastructural constraints. Sometimes connectivity is a big issue, we are trying to resolve these problems also," said Kumar.

Until these wrinkles are ironed out, is it fair to insist that children's meals are linked to a still evolving technology, all the more when its benefits remain unclear?