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.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

11268 - Stop demonising Aadhaar - Telengana Today

Published: 6th May 2017   12:30 am Updated: 6th May 2017   12:35 am

Invoking the Orwellian images of State surveillance to oppose the Aadhaar card system is wholly irrational and misplaced. To think that an identification tool for streamlining citizen services will automatically amount to usurping citizens’ rights is a warped notion, particularly in this technology-driven age. While genuine concerns over privacy issues need to be addressed, the importance of having a robust and fool-proof scientific database of citizens, with unique identification numbers, cannot be ignored. 

Any attempt to give an ideological spin to the ongoing debate over Aadhaar and turning it into a ‘State versus civil rights’ face-off is a self-defeating exercise. It would be a great disservice to the people if modern transparency tools are blocked in the garb of protecting individual rights. Aadhaar is essentially an e-governance tool to help streamline the systems, eliminate leakages and bogus claims, rationalise welfare schemes and bring all citizens under the ambit of formal economy. However, concerns are being raised over privacy and security issues if Aadhaar is linked to PAN card and made mandatory for income tax returns. It is argued that since there are no safeguards at present to prevent misuse or leakage of citizens’ data, Aadhaar should not be made mandatory for I-T assessment and welfare schemes. 

While the question whether Aadhaar should be voluntary or mandatory will be decided by the Supreme Court, the nation needs to repose faith in the teams of talented and dedicated professionals who are tirelessly working on a robust and error-free system that is meant for larger public good.


Since its inception in 2009, the biometric-based resident identification programme has met with scepticism amid fears over data violation and breach of privacy. The problems of identity theft, fraud and misrepresentation are real concerns that need to be fixed. While there is a strong case for a national law for data privacy and protection, rejecting the Aadhaar system on the grounds of possible privacy breach is like throwing the baby with the bathwater. An identification number is the best way to make government spending on welfare more efficient and ensure that benefits reach the needy. 

Since there were many instances in the past where people held multiple PAN numbers to evade taxes, linking Aadhaar with PAN card will actually go a long way in curbing tax evasion and black money. 

As on April 15 this year, over 113 crore Indians, accounting for 88% of the total population, have an Aadhaar number. Already, the programme has helped in eliminating bogus beneficiaries of welfare schemes, resulting in a saving of Rs 50,000 crore to the exchequer. It is clear that Aadhaar can plug leakages in social welfare schemes and must be implemented vigorously while simultaneously putting in place enough safeguards.