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


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


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.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

10993 - Debating Nandan Nilekani’s Aadhaar Claims - The Quint

Sushant Talwar

April 6, 2017, 11:18 pm

A string of critical commentary and analysis of the Aadhaar system led its creator and former Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) chief Nandan Nilekani to defend the project, which was introduced in 2009 as an optional 12-digit identification tool for Indian citizens. Under the Modi-led NDA government’s rule, it has been projected as the single choice for all our identity verification-related needs.

In the interview with the The Hindu Business Line, Nilekani junked allegations claiming loopholes in the biometrics process used by the UIDAI for the Aadhaar project, which is linked to important Public Distribution System schemes like ration disbursements.

However, his defence raised more questions, and in a rebuttal published in Medianama, Anand Venkatanarayanan counters the claims made by Nilekani.

1. High Error Rate in Aadhaar’s Biometrics

Terming the 95 percent success rate being attributed to the Aadhaar based mechanism as “useless” at the scale at which it is being implemented, highlighted the flaw in Nilekani’s argument.

Elaborating his point, Venkatanarayanan explained that due to the nature of the Aadhaar based system, almost everyone who tries to use the system will, at some point or the other, face authentication failures. However, some of these will be clustered around a smaller set of people, who would thus find “the older system of not using biometrics far better than the newer system.”

2. Aadhaar Has Led to 50k Cr in Savings

Rebutting Nilekani’s second claim, Venkatanarayanan says the system would count as savings, all denials of entitlements, to even those who were denied because of authentication errors inherent in the system.

3. OTP as an Alternative to Biometrics

Venkatanarayanan debunks Nilekani’s third claim by raising questions over the coverage and reliability of mobile networks in rural areas that are essential for receiving OTPs which serve as an alternative to the biometrics system.

4. The Curious Case of Mismatches

Countering Nandan Nilekani’s claim, Venkatanarayanan adds that the reason behind the Aadhaar system not working properly is because the UIDAI system design is flawed.
He goes on to add that UID technology and system design in the current form is not the solution, “as it is rigid, fragile and only works when there is a lot of certainty about the operational vectors involved”.

5. Aadhaar Comparable to Facebook, Google

Venkatanarayanan also argues that Aadhaar linked UIDAI system’s 95% success rate is nothing to brag about as its failures will lead to the project’s downfall.

Google and Facebook would not exist if their authentication works only 95% of the time or if 5% of WhatsApp messages don’t get delivered.

6. Theft of Data from Aadhaar’s Database

Arguing that while there is not enough information about security leaks, there, however, is enough data to show that the ecosystem around it is prone to leakage.

Venkatanarayanan, in his argument, explains that because of the model that the project uses, it leaves it prone to theft of data at source, not during enrolment, but during verification process when information is being gathered.

He explains that because of the sensitive nature of the hardware being used, the pervasive use of biometrics exposes the ecosystem to being compromised.

“Aadhaar Has Helped Millions”

Venkatanarayanan calls Nandan Nilekani’s claim as “factually incorrect”. He adds that the number of people who have an ID because of Aadhaar, is nowhere close to the claims made by Nilekani.

Read here: Nanadan Nilenkani’s full interview with The Hindu Business Line.