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.


Saturday, April 8, 2017

10999 - While the BJP pushes Aadhaar at the Centre, it has called for a halt on new enrolments in Assam - Scroll.In




In a state that is counting its 'original inhabitants', the government worries that so-called illegal immigrants will be issued Aadhaar numbers.
11 hours ago.  

Arunabh Saikia


It is a strange contradiction. The Union government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, is expanding the ambit of Aadhaar, a 12-digit unique identification number, with proposals to make it mandatory for a host of services. Yet Assam, a BJP-ruled state, has seen a ban on Aadhaar enrolments for the last three months.

“The state government has refused to give us permission for any new enrolment since December 31,” said a senior official of the Unique Identification Authority of India, the Union government agency responsible for rolling out Aadhaar. The state government wants the National Register of Citizens – that was first compiled in 1951 – to be updated before there are any new enrolments, said the official, who did not wish to be identified.

Citizens of Assam
Assam is currently in the process of counting its population and updating its National Register of Citizens for the first time since 1951, in a bid to detect illegal immigrants. According to the Assam Accord of 1985, those who came to the state after midnight on March 24, 1971, do not qualify for citizenship.
Assam has one of the lowest Aadhaar enrolment rates in the county. Till March 2016, the number stood at 3.1%. The national enrolment rate at the time was 93%, government data reveals.
According to the Unique Identification Authority of India official, not more than 6% of the people in the state have an Aadhaar card at present. “Most people who do have it got it made outside the state,” the official said.
In 2014, when the Congress was in power in Assam, Aadhaar enrolment camps were set up in three districts: Nagaon, Sonitpur and Golaghat. The registrar general of India was responsible for enrolment in these districts. Apart from people in these districts, Union government employees working in the state were issued Aadhaar cards.
The enrolment drive, however, soon lost steam, as the Congress was unwilling to back the project, which had by then started to be seen as a programme personally favoured by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, claimed an official of the Unique Identification Authority of India, in Guwahati.
The political dilemma
Hrishikesh Goswami, media advisor to Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who took over after the BJP won the Assembly elections last year, said that the state government was worried that if Aadhaar enrolment was allowed to continue before the National Register of Citizens was updated, so-called illegal immigrants would end up being issued with Aadhaar numbers.
“It will give illegal Bangladeshis a legal backing and that is not acceptable to the people of the state,” said Goswami. “The government wants to avoid any controversy, so Aadhaar has been kept on hold till the NRC [National Register of Citizens] update process finishes.”
Senior officials from the Unique Identification Authority of India have been lobbying with Sonowal to get the ban on Aadhaar enrolment lifted, said government officials. However, Sonowal is reported to have been reluctant to do so. The state government’s hesitation, say government officials, stems from the worry that lifting the ban might send out the wrong signals to its constituency.
“The government is working out the optics,” said the senior Unique Identification Authority of India official, who has been part of discussions with the state government. “On one hand, you came to power promising to send back all illegal immigrants, and on the other, you are helping the same set of people gain legitimacy by giving them an Aadhaar [card]. Imagine the backlash the government would have faced.”
Anxious queries
Ever since the Finance Bill of 2017 was passed, with amendments, in the Lok Sabha on March 22, the Unique Identification Authority of India office in Guwahati has been flooded with anxious queries.
One of the provisions of the bill makes having an Aadhaar number mandatory for filing income-tax returns. The other requires Permanent Account Numbers be linked to Aadhaar in order for that number to remain valid.
Officials have been at their wits’ end to explain the situation to anxious people who approach them. “There is very little we can do if the state government does not give us permission,” said a Unique Identification Authority of India employee in Guwahati. “The entire process has been held ransom to the whims and fancies of politicians. In 2014, it was the Congress, now it is the BJP.”
In the past, the BJP has been critical of Assam’s low Aadhaar enrolment rate. “Aadhaar is not a citizen debit card and it has nothing to do with citizenship rights,” the party’s spokesperson Nalin Kohli had said last year, reprimanding the previous Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government for going slow on Aadhaar enrolment.
Now, Sonowal’s media advisor Goswami insisted that people would not be inconvenienced if they did not have an Aadhaar number. “Nobody has ever lost out on any subsidy or any social scheme because of the Aadhaar in Assam”, he said. He added that the state government would work out a way to address the new stipulation that Permanent Account Numbers be linked to Aadhaar.
In some cases, the state has got by on exemptions. Earlier this year, the Central Board of Secondary Education had exempted students of Assam from having to enter their Aadhaar details while applying for the entrance test to the Indian Institutes of Technology.
Meanwhile, the National Register of Citizens has suffered several delays. The Supreme Court had set March 1, 2016, as a deadline to publish the final list of legal citizens. This deadline has been missed by more than a year now.