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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Friday, July 7, 2017

11575 - How Aadhaar scheme got a second life under PM Modi - TNN

How Aadhaar scheme got a second life under PM Modi

Around the end of June (2014), (Nandan) Nilekani (then chairman, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI)) and his wife Rohini, who runs a social foundation, were vacating their Delhi residence on Safdarjang Lane, packing up to return to their Bengaluru base. They invited [Ram Sevak] Sharma [then CEO, UIDAI] for lunch.

Over lunch Sharma told Nilekani about his presentation to the PM and the response to it. Nilekani was happy to hear this and thanked Sharma for the effort. Then Sharma said, 'Why don't you go and meet the Prime Minister? Aadhaar is your idea; it has so much potential, why don't you make this last attempt for it?'

Nilekani found himself on the horns of a dilemma. On the one hand, he had lost the election on a Congress ticket and there was the history of campaign rhetoric, all the stuff that had been said. On the other, 'the thought that Aadhaar could be irretrievably shut down was heart-breaking'.

On 28 June, Nilekani telephoned the PMO and sought time on 1 July. He was given an appointment for noon, 1 July, at South Block, the office of the Prime Minister.

It was a one-on-one meeting. In those thirty minutes, Nilekani outlined the potential of Aadhaar. 'I explained the platform, its expansion across many states, the applications that had been developed, the possibilities recommended by task forces and committees.' The PM had a clear understanding of the technology and had questions about migrants and the status of cases in the courts. Nilekani allayed the fears around data security and verification. He pointed to the low cost at which the platform had been developed. He underlined the fact that Aadhaar as a platform 'could help resolve many issues, including the targeting of subsidies and curbing corruption. It could lead to huge savings to the exchequer.'

Modi met Nilekani on Tuesday. On Thursday, the home ministry was preparing to merge UIDAI and NPR, following a meeting with Rajnath Singh, IT, telecom and law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and planning minister Rao Inderjeet Singh.

On Saturday, 5 July, Prime Minister Modi revived Aadhaar.

This followed a meeting with Jaitley and Rajnath Singh, attended by officials of the UIDAI, home ministry, Planning Commission and the PMO. A committee was formed to look into the issues. Modi asked finance minister Jaitley, the legal luminary in the government, to look into legal issues since there were cases pending in the Supreme Court. He also called for the revival of the National Identification Authority of India Bill that had been trashed by the Yashwant Sinha-led parliamentary standing committee.

Prime Minister Modi, when asked by this author, about the revival of Aadhaar and his earlier criticism of it, says, 'The need for a common identity card was felt since the Vajpayee government was in power. A group of ministers even worked on this. However, not much was done during UPA I to carry forward this vision. Eventually Aadhaar was launched only in the second term of the UPA government.'

According to the Prime Minister, 'When Aadhaar was launched there were multiple issues and inadequacies with it. They simply could not envisage it holistically as an empowering mechanism for the masses. For them, it was just another scheme. I had suggested many ideas but the UPA regime simply didn't want to accept any suggestions from Narendra Modi.'

Elaborating on his party's earlier opposition, Modi says, 'Our problem was not with the idea of Aadhaar, but with the inadequacies of Aadhaar. We have never opposed anything for the sake of opposition. I do not believe in that kind of politics. The UPA government had a problem of imagination and an even bigger problem of implementation. I knew Aadhaar had potential. For years they ran Aadhaar, but it still didn't have any parliamentary backing, nor integration with public service delivery.'

Explaining how his government took it forward, the Prime Minister adds, 'We took a decision to separate the security issues that were raised by home ministry from the issue of Direct Benefit Transfer. We created a committee to look into the legal and technology issues, and we fixed it. We expanded the scope of Aadhaar, amplified the scale and augmented the speed. In a short span of time, the country has already saved about Rs 50,000 crores due to Aadhaar-based systems.'

Narendra Modi is not bound by conventional definitions of ideology. His approach is based on political entrepreneurship, and policy is essentially an instrument to consolidate and expand political subscription. Modi invests a lot of faith in the use of technology — for politics and for public policy. For Modi, therefore, Aadhaar was about using technology, a means to empower outcomes.

(Excerpted with permission from Aadhaar: A Biometric History of India's 12-Digit Revolution by Shankkar Aiyar, Westland, 2017)