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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Saturday, August 12, 2017

11746 - Death registration: forget Aadhaar, improve the data collection -- TNN

August 7, 2017, 6:13 PM IST Jiby J Kattakayam in Jibber Jabber | India | TOI

The government’s decision to make Aadhaar a requirement for death registration was met with incredulity and derision. Initial reports suggested that this was mandatory but the government quickly scotched this speculation. However, social media went ahead with new Aadhaar memes mocking the government and private sector’s growing propensity to enforce Aadhaar in every field of human activity. But lost in this chorus was another critical aspect of death registration.

What does death registration tell us? Though death registration is mandatory, and the cause of death must be accurately specified, lax regard is being paid to the latter aspect. Death registration has been compulsory since 1969. But it is only after the Millennium Development Goals emphasised the importance of birth and death registration in monitoring the effectiveness and impact of health and development interventions that developing countries focussed on this aspect. 

In 2014, death registration had improved to 74.3 per cent from  70.9 per cent in 2013. In other words, three out of four deaths were being registered. The Chief Registrar is forced to estimate the number of deaths to arrive at the registration rate.

But here is the nub. The two states which possibly account for the most number of deaths — Uttar Pradesh and Bihar — reported only death registration rates of 46.1% and 24.1% respectively. If the official numbers can be believed most other states are doing well in terms of numbers. But the other challenge is to ascertain the cause of death. It is estimated that over 75 per cent of deaths occurs at home and the cause of death remains unknown. Without this data, it becomes difficult for government, economists and policy makers to understand disease incidence, mortality and other health indicators.

However, in contrast to the Census Office claims that India has achieved almost 75% death registration, a recent WHO report World Health Statistics 2017 claims that India registers only 10% of deaths and the quality of data from death registration is “very poor”. There is a rider that this data could be from a period prior to 2010. If this is global perception about death registration, it needs to be corrected by the government urgently. If it is reflective of the situation on the ground — authorities recently had a tough time collective deaths caused by dengue from registration data — all the effort put into registration is ending up merely as a bookkeeping effort. Recently, there were even deaths attributed to small pox and polio in Delhi creating a minor scare. There are also allegations that people desiring to register births and deaths have to deal with corruption.
The Registration of Births and Deaths Act 1969 envisages penalties on registrars who fail to report registrations to higher authorities in a timely manner. Recently Haryana, Bihar, Jarkhand, and Goa failed to provide data to the union ministry of home affairs (MHA) about registration of birth and deaths while UP provided a part of the data. Haryana blamed it on “lack of computerization and governance issues”. The inaction of these states raise questions about the completeness and integrity of the birth and death data and justify the low score granted by the WHO to India.

These are weighty issues that must be dealt with. The government is spending considerable money in registering births and deaths and employing personnel to record the data. The joke is on those lampooning Aadhaar as a mandatory passport to death. There are much greater failings that they must hold the government accountable for.


DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author's own.