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

11445 - In welfarist TN, Aadhaar is a gamechanger but with glitches - The Hindu


SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
MAY 20, 2017 23:24 IST


Reaching full benefits: Nearly 1.2 crore MGNREGS job cards have been issued in the State that has a population of over 7 crore. Villagers from Kambur panchayat in Villupuram district watering the saplings.   | Photo Credit: B.Jothi Ramalingam

By seeding its extensive PDS and job guarantee scheme with Aadhaar, the State is in the forefront of implementing a national reform

In March of this year, the Tamil Nadu government announced that the transport department has made it mandatory for the Regional Transport Officers in the State to compulsorily obtain, from vehicle owners, details including mobile numbers, Aadhaar and PAN numbers while registering new vehicles. This was only among the most recent of a range of initiatives taken up in Tamil Nadu to make Aadhaar the one-stop identification tag for all its residents.

Tamil Nadu may well be a test case for how Aadhaar-based identity verification can have an impact on reaching welfare benefits to the people, reducing leakages and potentially corruption too. The State’s Public Distribution System (PDS) is universal and offers free or subsidised commodities to practically the entire population. Besides a number of schemes including old-age pension and marriage assistance to women, the State also boasts of leading in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

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Tamil Nadu has embarked on a mammoth programme to seed its PDS and the jobs scheme with Aadhaar. In PDS, the State government plans to give “smart” cards — Aadhaar-seeded ration cards that can be accessed online — to all its 1.95 crore card holders by the end of June. Aadhaar linkage has helped the State weed out at least 60 lakh bogus ration cards from its rolls. Further, the State is home to more than 1 crore people who possess job cards under MGNREGS, and payments under this scheme come under Aadhaar too.

As a result, the talk in towns and villages across the State often turns towards Aadhaar now. Most people that The Hindu spoke to see Aadhaar as an enabling technology that will simplify the identification process.

They also understand that they have to comply with it so their welfare benefits will continue to flow in. Many do understand that because of Aadhaar they may not have to pay middlemen. But many have also experienced or have heard of others for whom the benefits stopped coming in, and they were unsure whom they should approach. Their first thought was that the bank that had their accounts was at fault but later realised that bank officials have little to do with money getting into their accounts.

Many villagers in Salem said that they were happy to be part of a transformation brought about by technology. Instead of producing various documents in government offices for obtaining welfare scheme benefits, Aadhaar number is accepted everywhere, for opening bank accounts and getting the monthly pension, said K. Sampath of Omalur.

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“We do understand the benefits of the Aadhaar card. The problem arises when it is insisted or made mandatory, especially at a time when the mechanism for enrollment is not adequate and issue of cards is happening at a slow pace”, says R.V. Gowri Narayanan, a resident of Peelamedu in Coimbatore.

M. Ramani adds that incorporation of corrections such as address change or phone numbers should also be made easy and the entire process should become people-friendly.
S Mariappan, a tea estate worker in the Nilgiris, said that he had no proof of identity other than a family card till he was recorded under the UIDAI scheme. He said that the card was useful to avail benefits, and the sign up process was relatively simple. For R. Johnson from Gudalur, the Aadhaar card helped to get him a passport after most of his documents were destroyed due to rain. “I only had my family ration card with me, and I needed to apply for a passport. I then applied for an Aadhaar card and got it within a few weeks,” he said.

“I got my Aadhaar card as officials insisted on it to continue in the payroll of the rural job scheme. Whether it is for getting the Old Age Pension, opening bank account, getting LPG gas connection, or receiving smart cards, officials now insist on Aadhaar cards. Otherwise, it has brought no real change in my life,” says S. Chellammal, 45, of Navalnayakanpatti near Thogamalai in Karur district.

K. Palaniammal (60), another MGNREGS beneficiary, says only because of the Aadhaar drive she opened a bank account. “Before getting Aadhaar card I had never visited the bank for anything. Nowadays, I am frequently visiting my bank to operate my account. In a way, it has complicated my day-to-day schedule. However, I feel that my money is in safe hands. No one else can operate my account as it is Aadhaar-linked now,” claims Ms. Palaniammal.

Enthusiasm among farmers
Farmers say that crediting of subsidies through the Aadhaar-linked bank accounts has been beneficial to them. Many say the role of intermediaries has been checked now.

“My Aadhaar-linked account was recently credited with ₹7,500 by way of input subsidy given by the State government in the wake of the drought. Similarly, I received subsidy to the tune of ₹1.35 lakh for setting up a drip irrigation system on my field. I feel Aadhaar has improved the level of transparency,” said P. Poomalai, a marginal farmer of Arungal village in Ariyalur district.

V. Sathyanarayanan, a farmer belonging to Seruvamani village in Tiruvarur district, says: “We understood that the governments will make access to social security and farm subsidy benefits difficult without Aadhaar and savings bank account. So most of us got the Aadhaar cards in the beginning itself. Later, the bank asked for my Aadhaar to continue transactions, ration shops asked for the cards of all family members, and the Centre insisted on Aadhaar for disbursing the crop loss compensation two months ago.”

“Though the primary agricultural cooperative societies do not stress on Aadhaar, they might insist on the cards soon, we believe,” he said.

Starting June 1, farmers would also have to produce their Aadhaar cards for purchasing fertilizers from fertilizer dealers or primary agricultural cooperative societies. “The governments believe that input piracy, hoarding and fleecing of farmers would be prevented using Aadhaar-linked direct transfer of benefits to the farmers. We are happy that we can remit the amount less the subsidy to the fertilizer dealer on any buy,” said a farmer V. Jeevakumar of Budalur.

Undoubtedly, Aadhaar has eased some processes — in most areas, things like getting a mobile phone connection or a data card have become easy. M. Thirupathi of Sengattampatti in Nilakottai, Dindigul district, says he is a beneficiary. “With this Aadhaar card, I bought a SIM card without any hassles. Earlier, sales personnel would demand photo and residential proof. And would take forever. Now, it is just the Aadhaar and your thumb print.”
Officials of the Department of Registration in his region demand only an Aadhaar card for land registration, patta transfer and name transfer, says A. Perumal, a farmer from nearby Athoor. An Aadhaar card, in his opinion, simplifies complex procedures.

Starting with LPG
The Direct Benefit Transfer for LPG (DBTL) scheme for LPG consumers, which was later renamed as Pahal, was the first application of Aadhaar-based transfer of benefits to the bank accounts of beneficiaries.

As of May 2017, in Tamil Nadu, 87% of 1.72 crore LPG consumers have linked their LPG IDs with Aadhaar, enabling subsidy transfer by the Central government to their bank accounts. “Though there were many teething problems since at least three agencies are involved in the process, by and large the system works,” said a person, who was initially involved in implementing the scheme.

Senior citizen C. Selvaraj of Chennai, who wanted the LPG subsidy to be debited to his wife M.S. Latha’s account since the gas connection was in her name, simply linked the Aadhaar number to her account. “I did not go to the agency or bank but did it online and from the next month, her account started to get the subsidy,” he said.

R. Siva, a farmer from Nattamangalam in Madurai, was sent back and forth between the bank and the gas company for nearly a month when his elderly aunt did not receive the gas subsidy for a few months. The issue was resolved after she submitted a fresh application and re-linked Aadhaar with her bank account. “The DBTL website still has options for both Aadhaar-based and non-Aadhaar based cash transfers. As per the website, those who do not have Aadhaar just have to provide their bank details. However, none of the gas companies accept that and insist on Aadhaar, failing which they do not credit subsidies,” said S.S.A Basha, who runs a tea shop in Tahsildhar Nagar in Madurai.

Scepticism among the poor
The experience of MNREGS beneficiaries may well determine how effective Aadhaar will be in helping the poorest of people.
On a recent morning, an MNREGS job site in Chitthandapuram in Anchetty panchayat in Krishnagiri was abuzz with chatter. Some 120 women workers were huddled around the site’s work-man supervisor Rukmadhan, holding out a clutch of documents: ration card, MGNREGS job card, bank pass book, and an Aadhaar card. Pachayamma Sevathagownder’s bank pass book also had a photocopy of Aadhaar attached to the front of the book. Her card declares, in Tamil: “Aadhaar - Saadharana Manidanin Urimai” (The common man’s right). But the pages of her bank pass book were blank.

Did she feel powerful with Aadhaar, like the slogan says? “Now, we carry another paper, that’s all,” she laughed. Women chimed in complaining about the delay in wages exceeding six months, saying their hopes of getting their rightful wages have been belied. “Earlier, our wages were distributed right at the job site and every Saturday,” they said, adding those who have received their wages clocked 150 days, yet only ended with ₹2,000 to ₹3,500.

Said supervisor Rukmadhan, “I fill their attendance slip, but when they go to the bank, they find they have been paid far less than what is due.” The bank will not even fill their pass book saying their pass books are dirty and the printer would be ruined, the women said.

“Every day, women come here and ask us, why their account has less money. How would we know? Aadhaar is only to eliminate identity fraud. The transparency that has to come from the BDO’s office to the panchayats has not happened,” said a manager of a rural bank branch in Krishnagiri.

Corruption finds new ways
It is tough to tell how old Maadhamma actually is. Squatting outside a Scheduled Tribe colony of Poosaripatty in Kottayur Panchayat in Thally, some 139 km from Krishnagiri, she said: “The OAP is ₹1,000, but the man takes ₹100 and gives me the rest,” she said of the business correspondent (BC), who hands out the old age pensions(OAPs) to that panchayat.
BCs were engaged by banks to deliver MNREGA wages and OAPs in the panchayats using point of sale devices through biometric authentication. But, soon, the Aadhaar-based biometric authentication on the field fizzled out for various reasons. “The rural folks do hard manual labour. Our biometric kiosks are hyper-sensitive, often failing to capture the biometric detail of the hardened hands,” said a bank manager in Anchetty. Also, there were complaints of pilferage by BCs. So, OAPs alone were retained for delivery at panchayats by the BCs,he said.

With inputs from P.V.Srividya in Krishnagiri, Pon Vasanth Arunachalam in Madurai, C. Jaishankar in Tiruchi, L. Renganathan in Thanjavur, R. Vimal Kumar in Tirupur, D. Raju in Dindigul, S. Senthalir and S. Prasad in Puducherry, and Deepa H. Ramakrishnan in Chennai