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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Monday, May 22, 2017

111449 - Three years of Modi’s systemic reforms presage the next seven - - Sunday Guardian


By Gautam Mukherjee | 20 May, 2017

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP veteran L.K. Advani during the BJP National Executive Committee meeting in Bhubaneswar on 15 April. Photo: IANS

GDP growth will probably return 7.5% for this fiscal, and over 8% in 2018, after GST has contributed its mite.

There is not a thought that is being thought in the West or the East that is not active in some Indian mind.
E.P. Thompson

The unprecedented hallmark of the Narendra Modi administration at the three-year mark is an almost total absence of corruption and scams in high places. This is in sharp contrast to the procession of corruption charges against senior members of the previous dispensation, and indeed much of the present Opposition. Charges that are coming home to roost now. And yet, the BJP in governance is only almost clean. Vestiges of the mid 1990s Vyapam scam still cling to its state of Madhya Pradesh. Besides, not everything in the domain of the NDA allies, such as the Shiromani Akali Dal and Shiv Sena, comes up roses.

However, in a relativist world, the Modi government is determined to make its zero tolerance for corruption the leitmotif. Not content with running a clean administration, it is going after black money. Post-demonetisation, it has become easier. This plus the mother lode of benaami property, armed with a revived law, with teeth.

From erstwhile Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) charges of crony capitalism, the Modi government claims governance victories out of auctioning coal and mineral mining blocks, as well as the telecommunications spectrum. Together, these are projected to earn more than Rs 5 lakh crore for the government.

Linking disbursements of government payments with the bio-metric Aadhaar card, bolstered by an Act of Parliament, has led to an avoidance of over Rs 50,000 crore in fraudulent payments.

Many millions of the unbanked poor have been recruited into the system, well before demonetisation, and its narrative of a cashless economy in its aftermath.

Demonetisation has not only turned the country far more digital financially, but has also netted nearly a crore of fat new income tax assessees. This, even as 96% of the existing assessees, with income under a taxable Rs 5 lakh, have been rendered practically tax free.

The government also has not shied away from tackling the Rs 10 lakh crore non performing asset (NPA) mountain. Using an ordinance for quick activation of the Banking Regulations Act, it has armed the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) with powers to go after the bad corporate debtors and their assets. Another law to seize assets of run-aways and absconders is in the works.

Apart from a clean administration and its physical clean ups as in Swacchh Bharat, inclusive of its toilet-building push, and the elusive Ganga Clean Mission, other great themes are also discernible. These are its beavering away at systemic, enabling, reform.

Juxtaposed with this is a revamping of India’s foreign policy and a raising of its profile. One, that not only acknowledges the importance of individual Indians in distress abroad for the first time, but is confident enough to trade favours with other countries. This, more often than not, on a bilateral basis.

A tinge of militarism, forced upon the policy landscape by frequent provocations from Pakistan and sly barbs from China, is a departure from the submissiveness of the previous government. Combined with a massive buying/manufacturing push in this area, India is clearly arming to take on both its unfriendly neighbours, if necessary.

Domestically, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah have shown their ability to win elections at various levels most of the time.
Collectively, these broad streams presage the progress to come.
Together they will transform not only our expectations of national growth/well-being and our place in the world, but qualitative skilling, jobs generation, and freedom of choice. Even those initiatives that have failed for now, such as the attempt to reform the judiciary, and reform labour laws, show promise.

And those that are working—solar and nuclear power development, satellites, missiles, space—are indeed good to behold.

A recent online poll conducted with 40,000 participants from 200 cities around the country, gives Modi a 61% approval rating for meeting expectations, and a 69% rating of optimism about the future.

The fact that notable reformist legislation, pending for years, such as the GST has been passed in the face of intense obstruction shows the determination of this government. Compared to the battle for GST, other path-breaking laws such as the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code, the Land Acquisition Act, and RERA, to regulate the real estate space, seem almost facile.

The Indian government today, is, above all, on a massive infrastructure build-up to drive GDP growth, provide employment and boost modernisation.  It is building city metros for mass transportation, putting in new-fangled bullet trains and modernising the long neglected Railways.

Even the struggle to amalgamate the hearts and minds of the people in Jammu and Kashmir, while subduing the insurgency in the Kashmir Valley, is making dogged progress, much to the anger of those opposed to it.

Mixed results against the Maoists and other insurgents show that the government is reluctant to seek a purely military solution against such internal militants. However, the position, under intense provocation and many casualties, is hardening.
The old RSS/VHP/SS/BJP promise of a Ram temple in Ayodhya is inching forward, with the government content to back the judicial outcome expected to sanction its building.

In a departure from its much vilified past, the Sangh Parivar, in most of its components, has been unabashedly admitted into the mainstream. This, with deserved gratitude for its contribution towards the success of the NDA at various levels. Hindutva may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but it is, under the Modi administration, allowed to contend along with the Bishops, Maulanas and the Godless Communists. No one can accuse this government fairly of a lack of tolerance, given the virulence of the regular attacks against its policies and actions.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has picked up, aggregating to $156 billion in the three years, with $56 billion of it coming in 2016-17 alone. Likewise, Foreign Institutional Investors (FII) have, along with Domestic Institutional Investors (DII), taken the stock market to all-time highs at present.

Defence Manufacturing, just beginning to operationalise, alone has the potential to absorb $150 billion in investment per annum.

The Make in India programme has been most successful so far in the automotive and electronic industries, accounting for some $56 billion in investment.

FII jumps every time there are administrative reforms to widen and deepen the debt market in particular and as our companies at the top end get bigger. DII has grown substantially and the mutual fund industry is bigger than it has ever been.
GDP growth will probably return 7.5% for this fiscal, and over 8% in 2018, after GST has contributed its mite.

Inflation, thanks in part to persistently low oil prices and a strengthening rupee, has halved, falling to 4% from 8%. The fiscal deficit is now targeting 3.2%, with 3% in 2018.

Rural electrification and roads are other success stories. Every village is slated to be electrified by mid 2018. Two crore poor households have received LPG.

The Indian government today, is, above all, on a massive infrastructure build-up to drive GDP growth, provide employment and boost modernisation.

It is building city metros for mass transportation, putting in new-fangled bullet trains and modernising the long neglected Railways. The Northeast of the country is being inducted into the mainstream. The aviation sector too has been made more accessible.

Its divestment and privatisation drives have been muted, and the Modi government does not seem to be on a particularly strong privatisation drive in areas other than defence production.

Socially, it is on a drive to reform the narrative of India, from reservations, quotas and vote-bank based development to its sabka saath, sabka vikas platform.

This government appeals not only to India’s youthful voter, now in a 65% majority at least till 2035, but also to Muslim women, long suppressed by medieval practices, and the Shia minority, shunted aside quite often by Sunni, even Salafist majorities. This is being borne out by rising voting percentages in BJP’s favour, trending towards 40% or even more.

The old “secularist” versus Hindu “communal” divide seems to have collapsed decisively.

Meanwhile, Modi, supported in this by the Election Commission (EC) is pressing for simultaneous elections to be held for the Centre and the states. This will also free up more time to concentrate on governance.

In the end, is the “True North” for electoral politics changing towards a more inclusive polity? One composed of those not served by the old order. If that is so, it is the most hopeful prospect to emerge out of Narendra Modi’s first 1,000 days.