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

11576 - Aadhaar: Kafka’s ghost has come back to haunt us - News Laundry


With the UIDAI, you are essentially signing a blank sheet, upon which the terms of imprisonment will be set.
Posted By Ritvik Khare | Jul 5, 2017 


In the times ahead, with the advent of Aadhaar as a ubiquitous part of our life, Franz Kafka, and his magnum opus, The Trial, offers rare insight into better understanding the reality of the common man in this country. We should look back to this writer to gain some perspective on the severity of the coming times.

Aadhaar, apart from some intellectual and ethical problems, suffers from some serious loopholes. The government continues to ignore the order of the Supreme Court by making Aadhaar mandatory for availing welfare schemes. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) continues to ignore serious questions about Aadhaar’s safety, and its inefficient implementation techniques.

We are entering a Kafkaesque reality. At its basic, Kafkaesque stands for the nightmarish and unpleasant world that was imagined in the fictional world of Franz Kafka. Kafka, through his oeuvre, allowed us to better understand that despicable part of our life, where we find ourselves utterly helpless and frustrated in front of authority. In a Kafkaesque world, from the protagonist’s point of view, which will be yours, the world and its modus operandi are bizarre and illogical. Nothing makes sense. Isolated, we can’t comprehend how we entered this maze, and the elected authority figures of judges, officials, and politicians seem above reach.

Aadhaar, which stood for inclusivity and streamlining of governmental services, has acted like anything but. At the ground level, the initial enrollment in Aadhaar was marred with technical problems and corruption. The government handed out the duty to enroll people in the scheme to private contractors, which openly flouted governmental rule and fleeced the poor upto Rs 500 in some cases, in the name of processing fees. As for rations and other schemes, thousands of people are being denied access to their allotted pensions, and rations. The positive biometric authentication mechanism regularly faces problems of internet connectivity, machine malfunction, and other technical issues. It would be best to read the ground reports of Nikhil Dey and Aruna Roy to understand the gravity of the situation.

We are in a world defined by Kafka where we, at some dark point in our lives, find ourselves utterly destitute in front of relentless harrowing circumstances. For the simplest of tasks, the official solution is a long-winding road filled with red tape and bribery check-points. For the uninformed (mainly the poor), the process itself provides convenient environment for government officials (shakedown artist) to earn a quick buck. The data has been sold on the black market, and people have been reduced to mere data points.

The governments continue to make Aadhaar mandatory for essential services such as ambulances, MNREGA and a myriad of government schemes that mainly cater to the poorpeople. So it seems, the idea is to erase the very existence of these people to facilitate the façade that there are no poor in India, instead of actually solving the problem of poverty.

Kafka’s protagonists constantly struggled with horrendous absurd judgments. In The Trial, Joseph K, the protagonist, is arrested but is not told why or what his charge is. He is rendered helpless in the face of countless judges, guards, attorneys, who hammer him down with bureaucratic procedure. His requests go unanswered, and his calls of help are left unheard, perhaps even by himself. Midway through the trial, K learns that his guilt is already assumed, and the bureaucracy, at its higher echelons, has secret rules and regulations and the identity of the bureaucrats is never revealed and that no one has been acquitted. The entire system seems like a black monolith of complex rules and regulations where Justice is a concept long forgotten.

Individually, we will all experience the world of Kafka in our own frightening ways. Some unfortunate people will face it before the others. As with everything else in this world, our position in the socio-economic strata will decide when. And as always, some will remain immune. As in Kafka’s world, the immune decide the rules for the vulnerable.

Aadhaar has now been made mandatory for income tax returns, except for some. It is now mandatory to link it to your bank account, failing which, your account will no longer be accessible. If Aadhaar is not used for 3 years, it will be deactivated, following which your bank account will not be accessible. Your own money is no longer in your control, and slowly and inevitably, your life will also not be.

The bill has been passed with self-reference to regulations, which have not been added and will be decided by the UIDAI later. You are essentially signing a blank sheet, upon which the terms of imprisonment will be set. Your Aadhaar number can be deactivated if the committee finds it appropriate to do so. After Aadhaar is mandatory, the government would have its citizens tightly in control. The grievance redressal system is basically a call centre, with no regulations for application status check or guarantee of redressal or remedy. One can already imagine oneself as Joseph K, in front of his or her black monolith.
The novel ends quite abruptly. Joseph K is taken into a quarry and executed by two unknown officials. Joseph K dies without knowing his offence, or if he was actually guilty. His guilt, I presume, was his very existence. An ordinary existence that could be persecuted, without much consequences to the monolith. A sacrifice for the benefit of many.

Kafka’s ghost has come back to haunt us.

In the coming days, we might not have to suffer a Kafkaesque reality. If we quit the black monolithic, we might find some respite, and sleep from the nightmare that this country is about to enter. As Aadhaar, with its labyrinth-like apparatus rapidly spreading its roots in our daily lives, one will find himself helpless, frustrated, drained and deranged over its many complexities. The labyrinth of Aadhaar will slowly, but inevitably, turn into a catacomb of modern existence.