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.


Search This Blog

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

11207 - The man who turned IT expertise into IDs for a billion Indians -- Nikkei Asian Review

May 1, 2017 2:00 am JST
Nikkei Asia Prizes
Nandan Nilekani's biometric system puts the poor on the radar while cutting costs


AKIRA HAYAKAWA, Nikkei staff writer

Nandan Nilekani explains the Aadhaar biometric identification system in Bangalore on April 17. (Photo by Akira Hayakawa)

MUMBAI -- Selling cellphones used to be a serious chore in India. The paperwork could take days, according to a salesperson at a mobile phone shop. A small, black fingerprint reader has changed all that, however.

"Now, with this, it takes only 15 minutes, and you get your smartphone today," the sales rep said.

A lot of the credit for that convenience goes to Nandan Nilekani, the lead developer of the Aadhaar biometric identification system. 

Under the system, every Indian citizen gets a 12-digit ID number tied to a photo, fingerprint and iris scan. Aadhaar "improves government efficiency and living standards," said Nilekani, the first chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India, or UIDAI.

Aadhaar is about much more than streamlining bureaucratic procedures.

Social welfare is a high priority for the Indian government, but it long lacked the means to accurately identify much of the country's huge population. On one hand, the government has struggled to combat thieves who use fake IDs to steal welfare handouts. On the other, countless poor people who would qualify for food rations and other benefits have been missing out, due to chronic lapses in birth registration.

Aadhaar helps deliver aid to those who truly need it while curbing abuse and reducing wasteful outlays.

The project began in 2006. When the cabinet approved it in 2009, then-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh named Nilekani chairman of the UIDAI. Previously, he had co-founded major information technology company Infosys Technologies, and in a book had mentioned the need for a strong ID system.

The first Aadhaar number was issued in 2010. Now, over 1.1 billion people have registered -- accounting for roughly 90% of the population and making Aadhaar the world's largest biometric ID database. That size comes with a great responsibility to prevent fraud and leaks of personal data. "Some of the best minds in India, and of Indian origin working abroad, and bureaucrats -- they all got together," Nilekani said. His extensive connections and experience as co-chairman of Infosys served the project well.

Not everyone was on board with his appointment. "Why are we entrusting such an important project to a man from the private sector?" one bureaucrat reportedly argued. There was friction, in part, because the UIDAI chair is a cabinet-level post and another ID project was already in the works. But Nilekani ignored what he called "noise" and forged ahead, keeping the government abreast of his progress.

Recalling those days, he likened the project to building a startup within the government. 

Billions in savings
World Bank chief economist Paul Romer said of Aadhaar: "The system in India is the most sophisticated that I have seen."
Nilekani said development took about $1 billion, but the investment has paid off in a big way. "The system cuts annual government spending by nearly $7 billion in total," he said.
And Aadhaar continues to evolve. With IDs linked to bank information, the government can directly deposit subsidies and pension payments into verified accounts. In April, a system called Aadhaar Pay began to replace cash, credit cards and smartphone-based digital wallets. Available only to people with Aadhaar-linked bank accounts, it allows for transactions using just an ID number and fingerprint verification. To accept payments this way, businesses need only an Internet-connected smartphone and a fingerprint reader like the one in that cellphone shop.

Aadhaar in Hindi means "foundation" -- and indeed it has created a foundation for reducing poverty and government spending. It also provides a bedrock for the Narendra Modi government's Digital India campaign, designed to spread technology throughout society and create a knowledge economy. 

The system, Nilekani said, "will continue to expand."