Aadhaar

The UIDAI has taken two successive governments in India and the entire world for a ride. It identifies nothing. It is not unique. The entire UID data has never been verified and audited. The UID cannot be used for governance, financial databases or anything. It’s use is the biggest threat to national security since independence. – Anupam Saraph 2018

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 scholarUsha Ramanathandescribes 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

In the Supreme Court, Meenakshi Arora, one of the senior counsel in the case, compared it to living under a general, perpetual, nation-wide criminal warrant.

Had never thought of it that way, but living in the Aadhaar universe is like living in a prison. All of us are treated like criminals with barely any rights or recourse and gatekeepers have absolute power on you and your life.

Announcing the launch of the#BreakAadhaarChainscampaign, culminating with events in multiple cities on 12th Jan. This is the last opportunity to make your voice heard before the Supreme Court hearings start on 17th Jan 2018. In collaboration with @no2uidand@rozi_roti.

UIDAI's security seems to be founded on four time tested pillars of security idiocy

1) Denial

2) Issue fiats and point finger

3) Shoot messenger

4) Bury head in sand.

God Save India

Saturday, January 27, 2018

12793 - Last-mile issues can make or break the promise of Aadhaar - Hindustan Times

Last-mile issues can make or break the promise of Aadhaar

These avoidable implementation challenges on account of Aadhaar can be significantly resolved by a clear legal articulation of permissible uses of Aadhaar through suitable amendments to Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act. It is also crucial that RBI and other regulators address instances where providers cite Aadhaar to create self-styled, exclusionary practices.

ANALYSIS Updated: Jan 27, 2018 16:11 Ist

Bindu Ananth and Beni Chugh 

An Aadhaar camp at Dhaka Village, New Delhi(Hindustan Times)

While the Supreme Court examines the constitutional validity of Aadhaar, we reflect on Aadhaar’s early promise of enabling easier access to bank accounts and payments, particularly welfare entitlements. Elsewhere we write about Aadhaar’s potential for financial inclusion and note the progress made in recent years. In this column, we look at the experience of the financial sector when using Aadhaar in various implementation processes and flag areas for improvement. We believe this kind of implementation surveillance is critical to realising the full potential of Aadhaar in a service delivery context.

First, it is our understanding that the Aadhaar project was designed for online authentication of biometrics and not for physical, Aadhaar card-based identification. The Aadhaar Act does not recognise the Aadhaar card, which was issued for convenience. Over time the card has been misinterpreted as an ID, much to the users’ detriment. Service providers often insist on consumers’ Aadhaar card as a pre-requisite for availing services despite it having the weaknesses of physical ID, particularly ease of falsification and susceptibility to making unauthorised copies.


Second, financial institutions often ask for Aadhaar along with another ID such as Voter ID. When demographic details on the two documents don’t match, the burden is on the customer to reconcile these differences. We recall a recent experience of a microfinance customer who was denied a loan because the date of birth on her Aadhaar card was different from that on her Voter ID. Though she got her Aadhaar updated in eight days, it was needless. This business process is useless to the financial institution and poses an unnecessary hardship on the consumers. Such practices need to be discontinued. Due to similar linkage issues, 16 out of 100 randomly surveyed pension beneficiaries were reported as not receiving pension entitlements in Ranchi, according to the EPW.

Third, the issue of proof of address has been an enduring challenge to financial inclusion in India. Recognising this challenge, the Reserve Bank of India amended its KYC Guidelines in 2016, to state that “a customer shall not be required to furnish separate proof of current address if it is different from the address recorded in the Officially Valid Document (OVD). In such cases, the Regulated Entity (RE) shall merely obtain a declaration from the customer indicating the address to which all correspondence will be made by the RE.”

This is specifically emphasised in the case of migrant workers and transferred employees who may not have proof of current address. Aadhaar being an OVD is subject to this guideline. However, customers continue to be denied accounts on this ground. Financial institutions need to monitor this violation of RBI guidelines without delay.

Instances of denial of services by banks should be reported to banking ombudsmen. During a recent field research, we met Sujata (not her real name) who hails from West Bengal and works in Gurgaon as a domestic help. She has been denied a bank account in Gurgaon because her Aadhaar card is linked to her address in Bengal, even though her employer is willing to certify her current address. Helpless, Sujata uses her brother’s bank account to transfer money to her son in Bengal. She understands the precariousness of this arrangement but to resolve this, she has to forego a week’s wages and travel to Bengal or obtain a new OVD for her address in Gurgaon. UIDAI’s provisions for updating an address online are often inaccessible to people such as Sujata.

These avoidable implementation challenges on account of Aadhaar can be significantly resolved by a clear legal articulation of permissible uses of Aadhaar through suitable amendments to Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act. It is also crucial that the RBI and other regulators address instances where providers cite Aadhaar to create self-styled, exclusionary practices.

(This is the sixth in a series of by-invitation opinion pieces on Aadhaar)
Bindu Ananth and Beni Chugh are with Dvara Research.
The views are personal