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 25, 2017

11113 - All we’ve done for two years is help students with Aadhaar, say Delhi government teachers - Scroll.In


Saddled with ensuring that their students have Aadhaar-linked bank accounts, state and municipal school teachers are increasingly growing exasperated.

Published Yesterday · 06:30 am.  

HT Photo

Ram Prakash*, the principal of a government school in South Delhi, has lost count of the number of times the Directorate of Education has returned a list of students with their Aadhaar numbers after it found errors.

“I am losing sleep over this,” he complained in the first week of April. “I thought my school was the only defaulter. But it appears all schools in my [school] zone – there are about 12 – were in the same situation.”

The last 10 children of his school finally obtained their 12-digit unique identification numbers last week, over eight months after applying for it.

Starting 2015, the Delhi government asked schools to first open bank accounts for all their students and then link those accounts with their Aadhaar numbers. To ease the process for parents, it had asked schools to set up enrolment camps for their students. This year, the government went one step further by making admissions contingent on children having the unique identification number.

Saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that students on their rolls have Aadhaar-linked bank accounts, principals and teachers in both Delhi government and municipal schools are growing increasingly exasperated.

Enrolment camps
Prakash’s school, located near the Mehrauli-Badarpur road in South Delhi, hosted an Aadhaar enrolment camp last summer. Over three days, about 45 children gave their fingerprints and biometric scans to the staff of a private enrolment agency. Some got their Aadhaar cards soon after, but about 15 children did not for months, he said.

The principal tried to track the progress of their applications using receipts, but without success. He next went to the Aadhaar enrolment centre closest to the school and sought help.
Getting the excluded children to sign up afresh was proving to be difficult.

“Once the biometric data is entered, a do-over [cancelling and starting over] is very difficult,” he explained. When the fingerprints and iris scans of the children were taken for the second time, “the system showed those biometric data had already been entered”.

Finally, with help from the office of the deputy commissioner, he was able to get some more students enrolled by October, and the remaining 10 or so, by early April.

                                 (Photo credit: HT).

Local branches of the government’s revenue department have helped other schools facing similar problems.

The principal of a Delhi government school in Patparganj in East Delhi, said that variations in data on different documents were creating problems for students who had applied for Aadhaar from his school. He sought help from the sub-divisional magistrate “to get the mistakes and variations rectified”.

At a school in Trilokpuri, in East Delhi, about 115 students submitted their name, address and biometric information at an Aadhaar enrolment camp held in August. The principal retained photocopies of all the application receipts. Despite this extra precaution, 50-60 of that school’s students are yet to receive their Aadhaar numbers.

“Younger children forget the mobile numbers they have entered to which the PIN numbers for generating Aadhaar cards online are sent,” said the principal. “Some have even entered wrong numbers.”

Errors and corrections
Between last July, when it took the decision to hold camps in government schools, and March, the Directorate of Education, Delhi, has issued at least half-a-dozen circulars pointing out a variety of errors in lists schools have sent them with names of their students and corresponding Aadhaar numbers. Many of these errors relate to Aadhaar enrolment efforts through school camps.

Getting all school children Aadhaar-linked bank accounts has been a three-stage process in Delhi. First, over 2015-’16, schools helped children open zero-balance bank accounts. The following year, over 2016-’17, they tried to get children enrolled with Aadhaar. The final stage – still in progress – is linking or seeding the Aadhaar numbers with banks and the Delhi government database, ostensibly to facilitate the disbursal of benefits such as scholarships and other entitlements that were previously released in cash.

Errors and variations in the data shared by children and parents who were less alive to the ramifications of such inconsistencies, raised hurdles at every step, and teachers and principals were left to resolve them.

For instance, data on bank records and school records did not match, and spellings of names, dates of birth and addresses were not consistent across identity papers. Even at the time of enrolment with Aadhaar, surnames were dropped, names misspelt and wrong mobile numbers entered. This not only hampered the process of obtaining Aadhaar numbers but the subsequent linking of the number with banks.

Explaining the sort of problems they faced, the principal of the Patparganj school said: “Children have surnames on some documents and not on others. In case of older children whose names were originally entered into our records in Hindi, errors were introduced while rendering their names in the [Roman] alphabet.”

Similarly, in the Aadhaar system, one number can be linked to only one set of fingerprints and iris scans. However, in August, the Directorate of Education issued a circular stating that it had found duplication of Aadhaar numbers in the case of 52,366 students – the same Aadhaar number had been entered against the names of more than one child by careless data-entry operators. NT Krishna, overseeing the process for the directorate, said that this “was an internal matter, which has now been resolved”.

There also have been several circulars on “garbage data” – numerals that are not Aadhaar numbers being provided to the government against the names of students – with the last one being issued in January with the names of over 8,300 students. The directorate and the schools had whittled down the number of errors to a few hundred, but that list still had over 400 names by March, with many more still yet to be enrolled with Aadhaar.
This hampered the disbursal of entitlements through direct benefit transfers. Government circulars show that the Lal Bahadur Shastri Scholarship to meritorious students has been disbursed in eight rounds as and when Aadhaar numbers were entered and verified by schools. The post-matric scholarships for over 4,000 Scheduled Caste students for 2015-’16 were finally processed in March. A March 28 government circular said that the accounts of 42,428 students entitled to scholarships for educationally backward minorities had not been linked to Aadhaar.

Teachers move court
The Aadhaar linking process has posed such a challenge for teachers and principals that it became one of the main reasons why primary teachers moved the Delhi High Court for relief in December.

In their petition, the All Delhi Primary Teachers’ Association challenged government orders directing them to perform non-teaching duties. The opening of bank accounts for students and Aadhaar enrolment featured prominently in their petition.
“This is practically all we have been doing for two years,” said the teacher of a municipal school in Dwarka, in southwest Delhi. “It took me one year to get one of my students to fetch his photograph.”

It is not just for their students. Municipal school teachers, in particular, have found themselves filling forms and directing parents to enrol for Aadhaar too, because banks often refuse to open accounts for children if their parents do not have the unique identification number.

Teachers have had to abandon their classrooms to make trips to the banks with stacks of forms and documents, said Naveen Sangwan, a Class 2 teacher in a municipal school in Mangolpuri in North West Delhi. “Teaching in municipal schools is already affected and this is making things worse,” he said. “Banks send parents away and then it is our job to go out and get this done.”
Teachers had to do this work in addition to conducting a household survey to identify out-of-school children.

The teachers’ petition in the High Court argues that “deploying teachers [for] non-educational purposes...is strictly prohibited as [it] grievously affects the quality of the education being imparted.”
Government school teachers have also been abandoning their classrooms for banks. The principal of the Patparganj school said that he had sent teachers to banks with forms “at least 10 times” since he joined in August. He said that 10% of the students on his school rolls were yet to obtain Aadhaar numbers.
The teacher from the Dwarka school estimated that about 15% students at the municipal school where he teaches do not have Aadhaar-linked bank accounts.

Delays in disbursal
Till last year, the North Municipal Corporation had given two sets of stitched uniforms to students, but the other two corporations – South and East – had moved to direct-benefit transfers for all schemes in 2015. This meant that the money for these entitlements were transferred directly to the students’ bank accounts.
Because several students did not have either an Aadhaar number or a bank account, money for uniforms and other scholarships reached a large number of municipal students late, or not at all. This further intensified the pressure upon municipal teachers to help their students. Fed up with the hassle, some teachers have started denying admission to children without Aadhaar numbers, said Sangwan.
The Patparganj principal admitted that though teachers were being troubled, it was necessary for them to help students. “We do have problems but if a letter from us or a visit from a teacher can help these families, we do not mind extending that support,” he said.
And the children and parents do need support.
“Children from some of the poorest families in Delhi come to our schools,” said Sangwan. “We have children of migrant labour from other states who stay on rent even in slum areas. They have no address proof, no utility bills or bank accounts. And teachers and principals are being made responsible for everything.”
He estimated that over a quarter of the children in his class of 50 would be without Aadhaar cards.
* Name changed to protect identity.
This is the final part in a series on the impact of Delhi government’s decision to make Aadhaar mandatory in schools. You can read the other parts here.

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