#India- A ‘Cost-Benefit’ Analysis of #UID #Aadhaar #mustread


200 px

200 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Vol – XLVIII No. 05, February 02, 2013 | Reetika Khera

A cost-benefi t analysis by the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy of the benefits from Aadhaar integration with seven schemes throws up huge benefi ts that are based almost entirely on unrealistic assumptions. Further, the report does not take into account alternative technologies that could achieve the same or similar savings, possibly at lower cost.

Reetika Khera (reetika.khera@gmail.com) is at the Institute of Economic Growth on a ThinkTank Initiative Associate Professor Fellowship.

I would like to thank Jean Drèze for helpful feedback.

A recent study released by the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) presents an innovative “cost-benefit analysis” of the Unique Identification (UID) or Aadhaar project. This is, in principle, a welcome step towards more informed discussion and greater transparency of this project. On close examination, however, the widely-publicised conclusions of this study turn out to have a fragile basis.

In a nutshell, the NIPFP report covers the potential use of Aadhaar in seven major welfare schemes and subsidies. These are the public distribution system (PDS), Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA, or simply NREGA), school education (including teacher salaries, mid-day meals, textbooks and uniforms), fertiliser subsidy, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) subsidy, Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY), and payments in other schemes (pensions, Janani Suraksha Yojana, accredited social health activists and the Integrated Child Development Services). It estimates that linking these programmes to Aadhaar will lead to a “saving” of Rs 1 lakh crore over 10 years (Mathew 2012), and that after accounting for the costs of integration with Aadhaar the internal rate of return of the project will be over 50%.

Benefits from UID-Integration

The main question pertains to the benefits of integration with UID. The NIPFP report recognises that not all leakages in these programmes can be fixed by UID-integration. Only “bogus” beneficiaries, i e, ghosts (e g, a dead person whose name remains on government records) and duplicates (one person getting benefits twice), can be weeded out.1Estimates of bogus beneficiaries are available for only two of the seven programmes considered in the NIPFP report (the PDS and NREGA).

For the PDS, the report uses the leakage estimates from a report of the Planning Commission published in 2005, based on the outdated data pertaining to 1997-2001.That study estimated that 57% of PDS grain is diverted, of which, 17% was attributed to “ghost cards”. The definition of ghost cards includes (a) below the poverty line (BPL) cards that are not in possession of their owners, and (b) the excess of the total number of ration cards over that of total households (ibid: 82). It is worth-mentioning here that PDS entitlements are fixed per household. It is quite possible that in some cases several members of a joint household obtained separate ration cards for their respective nuclear families. Whether this should count as a case of “ghost” cards, as the Planning Commission report assumes, is not entirely clear. In any case, there is no reliable and up-to-date estimate of the share of bogus cards in circulation.

For NREGA the report assumes that UID integration will lead to savings of 12% of total expenditure – 7% from “automation of muster rolls” and another 5% from linking NREGA bank accounts to Aadhaar (without explaining how these would curb corruption, e g, how automation of muster rolls helps to reduce leakages). If the idea is that some people who do not work manage to have their names on the muster rolls and wages are credited to their accounts (i e, are “bogus” beneficiaries), then this fraudulent practice can continue even if muster rolls are automated.

The real protection from wage corruption in NREGA comes through bank accounts as it separates the payment agency from the implementing agency.3 With bank accounts, wage corruption can still continue in three forms: collusion (where the bank staff and NREGA functionaries collude to inflate work attendance and credit wages into accounts of people who have not worked), extortion (when an official forcibly takes money from NREGA workers after it has been withdrawn from the bank account) and deception (when a worker’s account is operated by NREGA functionaries without his or her knowledge). In the first two cases (collusion and extortion), linking accounts to UID will not help to reduce corruption. Only in cases of deception (or “identity fraud”) can biometric authentication at the stage of withdrawal of wages help.4 Estimates of the breakdown of the different types of corruption are not available.

The NIPFP report also recognises that estimates of duplicates and ghosts are not available for many schemes. What is the correct way to make assumptions on benefits of UID-integration in such cases? There is no easy answer to this, so what the NIPFP report does is either to apply the estimates of leakages due to bogus beneficiaries for one scheme to another (e g, in the case of fertiliser and LPG subsidies, the estimates applicable to the PDS are used),5 or – for the remaining schemes – to apply an arbitrary rate of 7-10%.6

Although these assumptions are termed “conservative” (Patnaik 2012), available evidence – patchy as it is – suggests otherwise. For example, an estimate of fraud in six pension schemes has been made by the Society of Social Audit Accountability and Transparency (Department of Rural Development, Government of Andhra Pradesh) for July-October 2012. Six types of corruption are documented: “dead persons”, “dual beneficiaries”, “partial payments”, “ineligible beneficiaries”, “not paid but drawn” and “other”. These social audit reports suggest that the total discrepancies in disbursement of pensions are around 2%. Discrepancies due to dead beneficiaries and dual pensions – problems that Aadhaar can fix – are a subset of this 2%. The rate assumed by the NIPFP report is 7%.

While the report admits that there are no “robust” estimates of duplicates and ghosts, it provides little justification for the rates assumed in the cost-benefit analysis. Anticipating questions about the assumptions, the anonymous authors of the NIPFP report do upload the spreadsheet with their calculations, inviting readers to “modify the assumptions and explore alternative outcomes”.7

Alternative Technologies

Biometric technology (of which Aadhaar is one variety) can help when there are bogus beneficiaries – ghosts or duplicates. Other, cheaper technologies (e g, computerisation) can also help weed out bogus cards and help plug other leakages. Tamil Nadu has a fully computerised PDS database and overall PDS leakages are very small (4% in 2009-10). In states such as Chhattisgarh, overall leakages in the PDS have fallen from 50% (in 2004-05) to 10% (in 2009-10) without any use of Aadhaar, but through computerisation and other measures (Khera 2011b). The question a cost-benefit analysis should really address is whether Aadhaar is more cost-effective than these and other alternatives, including local biometrics (used in Andhra Pradesh). This question is raised in passing, but not answered in the NIPFP report (Patnaik 2012).8

Concluding Comments

In short, NIPFP’s widely publicised cost-benefit analysis of UID is far from persuasive. It is almost entirely based on assumptions, not estimates, of the benefits of integration with Aadhaar. Where estimates (not assumptions) of bogus beneficiaries are used, they are unreliable or out of date. Further, the report does not take into account alternative technologies that could achieve the same or similar savings, possibly at lower cost.

The report also briefly considers the “costs” of integration of these schemes with Aadhaar. However, it makes no mention of the potential disruption that the integration exercise might cause. Disruption could be at the stage of integration (e g, old age pensioners may be unable to complete the required formalities) or during operations (e g, software, connectivity or biometric failures). By assuming, with touching optimism, that the UID system is reliable and seamless, the report fails to address crucial concerns that have been raised about this adventurous project.

Notes

1 For a detailed discussion on the types of corruption Aadhaar can weed out, see Khera (2011a).

2 “The reference period for the study was from 1997 to 2001 – the four-year period of the operation of TPDS. The household level information referred to the period from May to December 2001” (Planning Commission 2005: 13).

3 This practice has been in operation since 2008, except in Tamil Nadu. A few remote pockets were allowed to return to cash payments by Minister of Rural Development Jairam Ramesh in late 2011.

4 Note also that once those who were using “deception” to defraud the system, may turn to extortion and collusion once identity fraud becomes impossible.

5 The report states, “Using the estimates for PDS and MGNREGS as benchmarks, we assume that using Aadhaar-enabled system would result in a benefit of 7% of the total value of subsidies” (p 11) and “in the absence of such robust studies estimating the leakage from the system towards commercial use, we assume that use of Aadhaar would result in a benefit of 10% of the total value of the subsidy (similar to PDS)” (p 12).

6 See, for instance, p 10 where the report says, “In the absence of data on the extent of leakages that exist on account of fake and duplicate beneficiaries, we have assumed this figure to be 10% of the total expenditure incurred by the government on books and uniforms for school children”.

7 Initial attempts (twice, at a three-day interval) to download the spreadsheet revealed that the spreadsheet was password protected. Now one out of seven worksheets can be modified. The practice of posting reports without author names is also observable with the documents on NREGA and PDS on the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI’s) website.

8 The cost-benefit work has been done by the MacroFinance group at NIPFP, a government-funded institution. The group has a project from UIDAI on financial inclusion which is perhaps why they focus only on UID. At the time of writing, no other paper on UID or financial inclusion was available on their website, raising the question whether the cost-benefit analysis itself was effectively sponsored by the UIDAI. Even if that is not the case, funding from the UIDAI to the MacroFinance group does create a possible conflict of interest, which would merit at least a short disclosure in the report.

References

Khera, Reetika (2011a): “The UID Project and Welfare Schemes”, Economic & Political Weekly, Volume 46, No 9, 26 February.

– (2011b): “Revival of the Public Distribution System: Evidence and Explanations”, Economic & Political Weekly, Volume 46, Nos 44-45, 5 November.

Mathew, Joe C (2012): “Big on Savings, Low on Leaks”, Business World, 24 November, available online athttp://www.businessworld.in/en/storypage/-/bw/big-on-savings-low-on-leak…

NIPFP (2012): “A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Aadhaar”, MacroFinance Group, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, 9 November, available online at http://macrofinance.nipfp.org.in/FILES/ uid_cba_paper.pdf

Patnaik, Ila (2012): “Identify This”, The Indian Express, 3 December, available online at http://www.indianexpress.com/news/identify-this/ 1039542/

Planning Commission (2005): “Performance Evaluation of Targeted Public Distribution System”, Programme Evaluation Organisation, Planning Commission, Government of India, March, available online athttp://planningcomission.nimc.in/reports/peoreport/peo/peo_tpds.pdf

 

 

 

Press Release- Questionable and illegal UIDAI completes four years #UID #Aadhaar #mustshare


 

200 px

200 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maj Gen S.G.Vombatkere, VSM tell President that UID is extra-legal, unethical, coercive

 

 

 

New Delhi, 28 Jan, 2013: Prime Minister headed Cabinet Committee on UID related matters (CCUIDRM) which also deal with National Population Register (NPR) has ensured that Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) continues to complete its four years of existence without any legal basis and without disclosing that UID database and NPR database is being merged with the electoral database. UIDAI was created by a notification of Planning Commission dated January 28, 2009.The notification is attached.

 

 

 

As of as on January 2, 2013, Cabinet Committee on Unique Identification Authority of India related issues includes Prime Minister, Sharad Pawar, Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Food Processing Industries, P. Chidambaram, Minister of Finance, Sushilkumar Shinde, Minister of Home Affairs, Mallikarjun Kharge, Minister of Labour and Employment, Kapil Sibal, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Kumari Selja, Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Jairam Ramesh, Minister of Rural Development, Ajay Maken, Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Ashwani Kumar, Minister of Law and Justice with Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission and Nandan Nilekani, Chairman, UIDAI as Special Invitees.

 

The notification refers to an ‘approved strategy’ which has not been disclosed to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance and the Parliament. It appears that the fake rift that was created for media consumption, for citizens and dissenting States like Gujarat remains a part of the strategy. The terms of reference in the notification is revealing.

 

Documents of key industry bodies available in public domain indicate that this strategy comprises of converging National Intelligence Grid that has been set up as an attached office of the Ministry of Home Affairs in April, 2010 to link databases for constructing actionable intelligence accessing about two dozen categories of data sources including UID, NPR, Census and electoral database besides property database.

 

If citizens, Parliament, Courts and State legislatures scrutinize the ‘Strategic Vision on the UIDAI Project’ that was prepared and submitted to the processes committee of the Planning Commission (set up in July 2006) by Wipro Ltd (consultant for the design phase and programme management phase of the pilot UIDAI project), they may get sufficient reason to dismantle the project. This vision document is missing. It was not shared with the Parliamentary Committee on Finance which rejected the UID project and Bill. The last clause of the National Identification Authority of India (NIDAI) Bill, 2010 for UID revealed how UID related initiatives and plans are meant to make democratic institutions redundant or rubber stamps.

 

As per the website of Cabinet Secretariat, the function of CCUIDAI includes, “All issues relating to the Unique Identification Authority of India including its organization, plans, policies, programmes, schemes, funding and methodology to be adopted for achieving the objectives of that Authority.” Source:http://cabsec.nic.in/showpdf.php?type=council_cabinet_committees

 

It appears that CCUIDRM member, P Chidamabaram and his colleagues in this Committee have managed to outsmart all the political parties including likes of Narendra Modi and Yashwant Sinha and left government in Tripura both in his role as Home Minister and now in his role a Finance Minister.

 

Another 15-page document of Wipro, titled ‘Does India need a Unique Identity Number?’, cited the example of UK’s Identity Cards Act, 2006 on page no. 6 to advance the argument on UID number in India.  Now that UK’s new government has abandoned its National Identity Cards Scheme and has announced it in the British Parliament.

 

Is it the case that when UK implements national identity cards scheme, it should be cited as an example, but when it abandons the programme, it becomes irrelevant and illogical?

 

Why are Wipro, UIDAI, the Planning Commission and the prime minister silent about their UK example?

 

Is it not conflict of interest that after submitting the ‘Strategic Vision on the UIDAI Project’ (which is missing), Wipro has been getting contracts from UIDAI for ‘Deployment of 7 project managers, supply, installation, commissioning for hardware – software for data centre at Bengaluru & NCR, deployment of 32 resource personnel and monitoring tools and hiring of data centre space (2,000 sq ft) & facilities for UIDAI at Delhi/NCR.’ From December 2010 till May 2011, it has got four contracts amidst reports of irregularities.

 

It is noteworthy that besides Supreme Court, writ petitions are pending in Mumbai, Chennai and an appeal is pending in Karnataka too questioning the legality and constitutionality of UID related projects.

 

Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL) demands that  CCUIDRM must disclose its ‘approved strategy’ & ‘Strategic Vision on the UIDAI Project’ document.

 

Some 38 contracts have been awarded to various companies including US and French biometric technology companies but these contract documents are not in public domain. There is documented circumstantial evidence that appears to show contracts succeed or precede UIDAI officials being awarded in places like Milan, Italy in the way Pakistan’s concerned officials have been awarded by World Identification Summit/Congress sponsored by US entities like AB Notes Corporations, the agency that prints currency and French entities like Safran Group housed in Hindustan Times Building, New Delhi. The latter has got several contracts from UIDAI. Interestingly, publications from this building have openly declared themselves to be supporters of UID-Aadhhar.

 

In a related development, in a letter to the President of India Maj Gen S.G.Vombatkere (Retd) expressed grave objections against mandatory UID Aadhaar scheme which is extra-legal, unethical and coercive.

 

 

 

Maj Gen S.G.Vombatkere has raised questions about biometrics, data security and privacy saying, “It remains unclear, even doubtful, whether biometry-information technology – the technological cornerstone of the project – is capable of the gigantic task of de-duplication in a billion-plus population. This is true in view of UIDAI’s Biometrics Standards Committee itself having noted that retaining biometric efficiency for a database of more than one billion persons “has not been adequately analysed” and the problem of fingerprint quality in India “has not been studied in depth”. Further, it is well established that fingerprints of people who do manual work are often worn out or even missing, as with rural agricultural workers or urban domestic workers. These people, who are in enormous numbers and declared beneficiaries of the UID Aadhaar scheme, will not be able to receive social and other benefits even if they succeed in enrolling into the UID Aadhaar scheme.”

 

 

 

In his letter, he observes, “The security of biometric data and other information acquired by UIDAI is in question for the following reasons: 2.2.3.1 The UID Aadhaar system can provide the link between various data bases and it will inevitably be at the core of a system which will enable profiling and tracking any citizen, to serve the clandestine purposes of India’s security or intelligence agencies, or to corporate business interests.”

 

 

 

He says, “If biometric data and other information of people falls into the hands of unauthorized agencies, personal privacy is unequivocally compromised. The fact that UIDAI has no answer to the security hazards pointed out to it, and is silent or evasive on the subject, does not inspire confidence in the capability of UIDAI or the UID Aadhaar system to maintain personal privacy rights. This is quite apart from the plethora of scientific data available that shows how fingerprints are not reliable indicators of unique identity. In view of all the foregoing, I fear for violation of my personal right to privacy by enrolling into the UID Aadhaar scheme.”

 

 

 

He has urged the President of India saying, “I urgently and earnestly request you to 3.3.1 Issue immediate, unambiguous orders to the concerned union ministries and state

 

governments, that making UID Aadhaar enrolment necessary for receiving rightful entitlements like pension and salary, and food-and-water, health, education, civil supplies and other welfare benefits, be stopped with immediate effect.” The UID project or Aadhaar was supposed to be a scheme to eliminate corruption in welfare schemes and provide an identity to the poor. It is now intruding into citizens lives and rights. Several demonstrations have shown that there are intrinsic and extrinsic flaws inherent in biometrics.

 

 

 

For Details: Gopal Krishna, Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL), New Delhi, Mb: 9818089660, E-mail: krishna1715@gmail.com

 

 

 

Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL) has been campaigning against unregulated biometric, surveillance and identification technology companies since 2010 and had appeared before the Parliamentary Standing Committee, Finance in this regard. CFCL has consistently underlined that the silence of the States which are quite vocal about threats to federal structure from Union Home Ministry‘s National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) and National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) that integrates 21 sets of databases in the matter of the creation of UID’s Centralized Identities Data Register (CIDR) disregarding the fact that Planning Commission’s CIDR and Home Ministry’s National Population Register (NPR) is inexplicable.

 

 

#India -Policeman arrested for allegedly molesting woman in Goa town #WTFnews #Vaw


Jan 22, 2013   Panaji, Goa

Rape, maps4aid

Action Taken: Superintendent of Police (North) Vishram Borkar said the constable had been arrested and placed under suspension.
Description:

A policeman was arrested for allegedly molesting a woman on the pretext of conducting an investigation at her residence in Mapusa town near Panaji, police said on Tuesday. Constable Prashant Dawaskar, 30, was arrested on Monday after a woman lodged a complaint with Mapusa police that he, along with four other civilians, ransacked her flat and molested her, while trying to conduct a probe on a complaint against her husband, police said.
The woman and her six-year-old daughter were at home when the alleged offence took place, while her husband was out on his duty. The woman mentioned in her complaint that Dawaskar entered her house on Sunday at around midnight without a woman police constable and body searched her, amounting to molestation.
Superintendent of Police (North) Vishram Borkar said the constable had been arrested and placed under suspension. There was no formal complaint against the woman and the constable acted on his own, Borkar said. The woman alleged that all the persons entered the house forcibly claiming that her husband owed them money.

 

#India- Open letter- refusal of pension if not enrolled in #Aadhar #UID #humanrights #mustread


BY SPEED POST

January 28, 2013

From:

Maj Gen S.G.Vombatkere, VSM (Retd)

475, 7th Main Road

Vijayanagar 1st Stage

Mysore-570017

Tel:0821-2515187; E-mail:<sg9kere@live.com>

OPEN LETTER

Advance copy by E-mail

To:

The President of India <presidentofindia@rb.nic.in>; <pstopresident@rb.nic.in>

Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi-110001.

The Prime Minister of India <pmosb@pmo.nic.in>; <pmindia@pmindia.nic.in>

7 Race Course Road, New Delhi-110001.

The Governor of Karnataka <rbblr@vsnl.com>

Raj Bhavan, Bangalore-560001.

The Chief Minister of Karnataka <cm@kar.nic.in>

Vidhana Soudha, Bangalore-560001.

Subject: ENROLMENT IN THE UID AADHAAR SCHEME

Respected Sirs,

1. The cause for this letter

1.1 I am a pensioner, having retired in 1996, living in Mysore, Karnataka. Mysore is one of the districts chosen for the first phase of implementation of the UID Aadhaar project, under which, according to Deccan Herald, Bangalore, newspaper dated September 24, 2012, UIDAI claims that about 95% of the population has enrolled into the scheme. The same newspaper report states that “the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme (MGNREGS) and the Rajiv Gandhi Awaz Yojana, the Ashraya housing scheme, Bhagyalakshmi and the social security and pension scheme“ will be implemented as a pilot project in Mysore district commencing January 1, 2013.

1.2 I have been informally advised that I should enrol myself into the UID Aadhaar scheme to get myself a UID Aadhaar card and number, since I may be unable to draw my pension without it. However, I understand and believe that my pension is protected by extant law, and Article 21 of the Constitution of India which protects my personal liberty, and hence my pension cannot be denied to me on the basis of not enrolling myself into the UID Aadhaar scheme.

1.3 The reasons I object to enrolment in the UID Aadhaar scheme are that:

1.3.1 Even though enrolment is stated to be “not mandatory”, provision of civic services like LPG supply, and now disbursement of pension, are unfairly and coercively being made contingent upon enrolment in the UID Aadhaar scheme, in violation of my rights, and

1.3.2 My right to privacy will be compromised by providing my biometrics and other personal details to the UID system, whose data security is in doubt.

1.4 I apprehend that I will personally be confronted by this unethical, devious manner of forceful enrolment into the not-mandatory UID Aadhaar scheme, and be denied my pension. I am presenting my detailed arguments below, which I request you to peruse.

2. Arguments

2.1 UID Aadhaar scheme is not mandatory.

2.1.1 UIDAI has announced that enrolment in the UID Aadhaar scheme is not mandatory, but it also mentions that it will be difficult for people to access public services in the absence of enrolment. Far from offering inclusion, the UID Aadhaar scheme threatens exclusionfrom rights, benefits and services. Thus, obviously based upon instructions issued by functionaries of the central and state governments, citizens’ rights or government benefits and services are being linked to the UID Aadhaar number.

2.1.2 The following few examples suffice to show the links over a variety of instances connected with the not-mandatory UID Aadhaar enrolment:

2.1.2.1 Registering a marriage at the Kapashera Sub-Magistrate’s Office was not permitted without an Aadhaar number, even when other documents of identification were made available [To register marriage, get Aadhaar first”; Indian Express, New Delhi, January 23, 2013; <http://www.indianexpress.com/news/to-register-marriage-get-aadhaar-first/1063310/>].

2.1.2.2 The Employees Provident Fund scheme has become Aadhaar-linked [“Provident fund to be Aadhaar-based now“; Times of India, Nagpur; January 23, 2013]. This has been objected to, by trade unions and others.

2.1.2.3 Aadhaar number has been linked to jobs, housing and MNREGA in Karnataka [“Aadhaar to be linked to jobs, housing, pension schemes”; Deccan Herald, Bangalore, September 24, 2012], and people are protesting against the UID Aadhaar scheme. The Deccan Herald report goes on to state, “Despite wide protests against UID, the official believes its second phase will generate interest when it starts enrolments from October 20”, and “’Had it not been for large-scale protests, the UID project would have covered at least 85 percent of the population across the State,’ he said”.

2.1.2.4 The Times of India, Ranchi, August 28, 2012, reported: Several months after the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) started its project for enrolment and distribution of Aadhaar cards to citizens in Jharkhand, the state government has now decided to make it mandatory for payment of salary and pension to state employees. The move seems to have given the necessary impetus to the enrolment process which was, otherwise, slow during the second phase”.

2.1.2.5 Teachers in Thane, Maharashtra, were denied salaries in the absence of Aadhaar number [“No UID, no salary, Thane teachers told“; Times of India, Mumbai, August 26, 2011].

2.1.3 The foregoing few representative examples demonstrate how government functionaries or officials are using the threat of exclusion from authorized benefits and services, or actually denying the rights of salary or pension, to force enrolment. This appears to be a ploy to give impetus to the not-mandatory UID Aadhaar scheme which would otherwise not attract people. Indeed, after using such devious coercive means, UIDAI has announced that the UID Aadhaar scheme is popular among people because the enrolment is high. But since enrolment into the UID Aadhaar scheme is not mandatory, as a citizen of a democratic nation, I am opposed to being forced into it by such extra-legal, unethical, coercive methods.

2.2 Biometrics, data security and privacy.

2.2.1 It remains unclear, even doubtful, whether biometry-information technology – the technological cornerstone of the project – is capable of the gigantic task of de-duplication in a billion-plus population. This is true in view of UIDAI’s Biometrics Standards Committee itself having noted that retaining biometric efficiency for a database of more than one billion persons “has not been adequately analysed” and the problem of fingerprint quality in India “has not been studied in depth”. Further, it is well established that fingerprints of people who do manual work are often worn out or even missing, as with rural agricultural workers or urban domestic workers. These people, who are in enormous numbers and declared beneficiaries of the UID Aadhaar scheme, will not be able to receive social and other benefits even if they succeed in enrolling into the UID Aadhaar scheme.

2.2.2 The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance (PSCF) had expressed concern on biometrics, stating that collection of biometric information and linking it with personal information is not within the ambit of the Citizenship Act 1955 and Citizenship Rules 2003, and hence “needs to be examined in detail by Parliament”. The PSCF urged government to “reconsider and review the UID scheme as also the proposals contained in the Bill in all its ramifications and bring forth a fresh legislation before Parliament”. Further, the PSCF has opined that the UID Aadhaar scheme is “full of uncertainty in technology as the complex scheme is built upon untested, unreliable technology and several assumptions”. Indeed, the PSCF found the UID Aadhaar project to be “conceptualized with no clarity” and “directionless”. The reference is to biometrics technology, which has been found to be unreliable in several scientific studies. To neglect the opinion of Parliament and not even review the UID project amounts to contempt of Parliament, the supreme organ of our democracy. It is incumbent upon government to reveal the steps taken to protect the privacy of citizens before acquiring biometric information.

2.2.3 The security of biometric data and other information acquired by UIDAI is in question for the following reasons:

2.2.3.1 The UID Aadhaar system can provide the link between various data bases and it will inevitably be at the core of a system which will enable profiling and tracking any citizen, to serve the clandestine purposes of India’s security or intelligence agencies, or to corporate business interests.

2.2.3.2 UIDAI and UID Aadhaar promoters claim that access to its data base will not be permitted to any agency, and will be secure from intelligence agencies. However, this claim is hollow, because the Aadhaar project is contracted to receive technical support from L-1 Identity Solutions Inc., a US-based intelligence and surveillance corporation whose top executives are acknowledged experts in the US intelligence community, as revealed in the corporation’s website. According to the UIDAI website, among other companies awarded contracts for collaboration in the Aadhaar project, are Accenture Services Pvt Ltd., which works with US Homeland Security, and Ernst & Young (which will set up UIDAI’s Central ID Data Repository (CIDR)). Further, it is well known that US law requires all agencies to provide any information demanded of them to the US Homeland Security Agency, when asked. Thus, it is arguably impossible to ensure the security of sensitive national information when the technical provider or consultant is not a government body but a business corporation with strong connections to the intelligence organization of another country, and which may, according to law, be constrained to part with information that it may have legally or illegally acquired when it worked as UIDAI’s contractor.

2.2.4 If biometric data and other information of people falls into the hands of unauthorized agencies, personal privacy is unequivocally compromised. The fact that UIDAI has no answer to the security hazards pointed out to it, and is silent or evasive on the subject, does not inspire confidence in the capability of UIDAI or the UID Aadhaar system to maintain personal privacy rights. This is quite apart from the plethora of scientific data available that shows how fingerprints are not reliable indicators of unique identity. In view of all the foregoing, I fear for violation of my personal right to privacy by enrolling into the UID Aadhaar scheme.

3. My earnest, urgent requests

3.1 I have argued above that the UID Aadhaar project is technically deficient (biometrics unproven), a security risk, and invasive of privacy, besides directly going against the advice of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance (PSCF), which has people’s representatives from all political parties. Though the UID Aadhaar project is said to be “not mandatory”, it appears to be aimed squarely at being made non-optional, and is being forced on the public by using threat of exclusion from availing benefits and services, and threat of denial of rights like salary or pension, amounting to devious coercion unbecoming of a democratically elected government.

3.2 Further, the UID Aadhaar project is unsupported by law. You would be aware that when the National Identification Authority of India Bill 2010 was presented to Parliament, the PSCF did not merely reject the Bill, but also stated that the UID Aadhaar project itself should be returned to the drawing board.

3.3 In view of the foregoing arguments, and since my pension is likely to be denied to me because of my not having an Aadhaar number, I urgently and earnestly request you to

3.3.1 Issue immediate, unambiguous orders to the concerned union ministries and state governments, that making UID Aadhaar enrolment necessary for receiving rightful entitlements like pension and salary, and food-and-water, health, education, civil supplies and other welfare benefits, be stopped with immediate effect.

3.3.2 Widely publicize the orders at central government and state government levels, so that people may make a personal choice whether or not to enrol into the UID Aadhaar scheme to obtain a UID Aadhaar number.

3.3.3 Monitor the implementation of these orders in the best interests of the freedom of Indian citizens.

Yours faithfully,

(Maj Gen S.G.Vombatkere (Retd))

 

 

Tell #India the Truth on the KKNPP


People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)
Idinthakarai & P. O. 627 104
Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu
Phone: 98656 83735; 98421 54073                                              January 28, 2013
 
Angered by moral and political corruption, disturbing developments and the overall mismanagement of the body politic, Marcellus tells Horatio in utter disgust and disappointment in Shakespeare’s classic play Hamlet: “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”
We, the people of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, who have been fighting against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) are feeling very much like Marcellus. We have been asking in vain for the basic reports on the project. Even after the Central Information Commissioner (CIC) passed an order to share the reports with the public, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) has been ducking and dodging.
We have been asking several important and pertinent questions about the design of the Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) in KKNPP, availability of sufficient fresh water for cooling and other purposes, disaster preparedness, liability arrangements, waste management, decommissioning plans, impact of reactors and desalination plants on our sea and seafood, and the livelihood of our fishermen and farmers. None of these issues has been addressed in a truthful, responsible, sensitive and sensible manner.
                                                                                                                        
Throwing all our democratic precepts and principles to the air and callously ignoring the ongoing peaceful and nonviolent struggle of the concerned citizens, the Indian State and its nuclearocrats went ahead with Uranium fuel loading and testing at Koodankulam. The inept and improvident NPCIL that has had a very dismal record on delivering goods to the people of India is pushing hard on the KKNPP that is, by many accounts, still born.
The haste in getting the senior officers such as Dr. S. K. Jain and Mr. Kasinath Balaji out of Koodankulam, the employment of Croatian and German technicians in the Russian designed and erected nuclear power plant, and the calculated and cunning leaking of ‘leaks and repairs’ news by the Minister of State at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) are all clear indications that the KKNPP units are neither breathing nor crying. Strangely enough, NPCIL is claiming an excess spending of a whopping sum of Rs. 4,000 crores on the non-functioning and non-delivering power plant.
We see a dangerous drama unfold in the Indian nukedom. On the one hand, the NPCIL wants to run the KKNPP units by any means and at any cost. They are desperately trying to keep the American, French and all other agreements and arrangements alive and start walking in the emerging India with the borrowed foreign crutches. The PMO that seems to be more bothered about the foreign-friendly Dr. Manmohan Singh’s leaving a false legacy of being the “Father of Developed India” than safeguarding the safety and wellbeing of ordinary Indian citizens stands solidly behind the NPCIL. They together are very eager to enjoy the technological and political benefits and profits of KKNPP and all other projects.
On the other hand, there is the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), which has been severely rebuked and reprimanded by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India just a few months back for its non-performance. It is important to remember that the AERB is just a ‘desk and chair’ in the sprawling DAE complex and may not stand tall for too long. It is also pertinent to remember here that the Indian Parliament is considering the setting up of an independent and potent Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority (NSRA) which may have more autonomy and credibility.
Aghast at the manipulations and machinations of the DAE, NPCIL, AERB, PMO and the Indian State, some groups went to the courts including the Madras High Court, Delhi High Court, National Green Tribunal (NGT) and the Supreme Court (SC). The Madras High Court, among other things, had the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) officials change the thermal pollution temperature figures in a rushed and hushed manner and handed over a favorable verdict to the Indian State. They appealed to the Supreme Court where the case was heard and the judgment has been reserved for several weeks now. No one knows where the SC stands!
But we know full well where the people of India stand. On the streets! Feeling clueless and hopeless! Abusing its power in an arrogant and authoritarian manner, the Indian State has imposed ‘sedition’ and ‘waging war’ cases on unarmed and nonviolent protestors. More responsible Prime Minister, Chief Minister and other senior leaders and officials keep strictly silent while a junior minister in Delhi goes around making infantile, irresponsible and incomplete statements on the KKNPP happenings. The honest and hard working citizens of India have been struggling for more than 500 days with so many hardships and difficulties. When all is said and done, we seriously think and feel that “Something is rotten in the state of India.”
The PMO, DAE, NPCIL, AERB and the Indian State must put the interests of Indian citizens first, convert the still born KKNPP into something useful, envision alternative energy futures and create a win-win situation for the Indian citizens and the State.
As Horatio replied to Marcellus that “Heaven will direct it,” may the Heavens direct the State of India to sanity, stability and security!
                              
The Struggle Committee
The People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)

 

Tiranga Bangle – ‘healing’ with a tinge of patriotism , ok what about traitors #WTFnews #Jindal


Hindu  BUREAU

NEW DELHI, JAN. 25:

 

Are you tired of everyday stress? Sick of acidity problems? Your woes may end soon, if steel tycoon Naveen Jindal is to be believed. On Friday, Shashi Tharoor launched ‘Tiranga Bangle’, an initiative by Naveen Jindal’s Flag Foundation of India.

The Foundation was set up in January 2002 after Jindal won a seven-year-long court battle that enabled Indians to display the national flag with honour and pride at their homes, offices etc.

The Tiranga Bangle is made of copper and designed with tri-vortex technology from South Africa. Tri-vortex is a sound frequency-based technology used to treat materials and products that can be used for health benefits. The bangle claims to provide ‘natural, environment-friendly and non-chemical-based healing’.

Anton Ungerer, the person behind the tri-vortex technology, said the bangle is treated in a tri-vortex chamber for 24 hours or more. “This technology uses subtle energy vibrations and will spark a revolution in India,” he added.

Tharoor said, “I wear the national flag everyday, thanks to the court case Naveen fought. This bangle initiative by him is good for health and also advertises his loyalty for the tricolour” and congratulated the foundation for coming up with such a “therapeutic idea”.

The bangle, it was claimed, worked wonders for people suffering from arthritis, gout, carpal tunnel syndrome or other pain-related ailments.

Jindal said he was glad that such distinctive technology was being used in India and was confident that it would help people lead a healthier lifestyle.

navadha.p@thehindu.co.in

 

#India-Pregnant women forced to urinate on test strips #WFTFnews #Pune


In addition, patients are handed empty sachets from pregnancy kits to collect urine samples, as gynaecology OPD doesn’t have enough workers to clean the containers generally used for the purpose.

January 28, 2013
PUNE
Anup Satphale and Swapnal Tilekar, Mid Day

Pregnant women these days have to suffer more than just labour pain at Sassoon hospital. Shortage of staff at the termination of pregnancy and antenatal care OPDs has led to expectant mothers extending a helping had to the institute authorities, albeit unwillingly.

Innovation!
MiD DAY discovered that women are being supplied with empty sachets from pregnancy kits to collect urine samples, as there aren’t enough workers to clean the containers generally used for the purpose.


File Pic

Also, patients are being asked to urinate directly on test strips, which are then handed over to lab technicians for examining sugar and albumin levels.


Matter of concern: A woman carries an empty sachet from a pregnancy kit (circled) for collecting urine sample at Sassoon hospital

Unhygienic
The matter came to light when a MiD DAY reporter visited the OPD area. A woman, who had come for urine test, told us, “I was surprised on being asked to collect my sample in a sachet. They did not have a bottle. It is quite embarrassing to take these pouches all the way to the restroom and then carry it back, with utmost caution, to the lab.”


Self-help! A woman carrying a strip to the restroom for urine test at Sassoon Hospital. This strip will then be handed to a lab technician for examining sugar and albumin levels

Many women were also being made to urinate on the test strips, in an unhygienic washroom, a few feet away from the doctor’s cabin. If the number of patients is more on a particular day, the women are forced to wait for long periods after conducting the tests. Sources said this practice is unsafe, as there is high probability of the samples getting contaminated, which may in turn result in improper diagnoses.

Elaborating on this further, one of the sources from the OPD section said “We used to provide bottles to patients to collect urine samples for various, tests but because of unavailability of workers to clean those containers, we have stopped the practice. Now, we furnish empty sachets from pregnancy kits for the purpose. Also, we have been advised to supply strips, which are used to check sugar and albumin levels, directly to patients, who are then asked to urinate on them so tests can be performed.”

1,500 Total number of beds at Sassoon General Hospital

The other side
Dr Ramesh Bhosale, HOD, gynaecology department at Sassoon hospital, said, “There is no shortage of anything in OPDs and wards. Also, directly urinating on strips will not affect the reports in any way. If that were the case, then I would have asked them to desist from using this method. However, I was not aware of the practice of using sachets for collecting samples. This may have been started by an intern or a trainee doctor.”

 

What Ashis Nandy said #JLF


No room for nuance in this fragile republic

HARSH SETHI, The Hindu

MISREADING THE CONVERSATION: The days when such an event would have been dismissed as irrelevant, if not comic, are now over. Instead, we want instant retributory action without pausing to ascertain the facts. Photo: Rohit Jain Paras
The HinduMISREADING THE CONVERSATION: The days when such an event would have been dismissed as irrelevant, if not comic, are now over. Instead, we want instant retributory action without pausing to ascertain the facts. Photo: Rohit Jain Paras

In the rush to condemn Ashis Nandy and demand that he be jailed, no one bothered to understand what exactly he had said about corruption and caste

It is symptomatic of the times we live in, of the climate of political discourse that we have contributed to, that even relatively innocuous statements can get so easily misrepresented and twisted to convey a meaning that is diametrically opposite to what was said and meant. The Jaipur Literature Festival 2013, which until the morning of Republic Day had managed to successfully steer clear of any controversy, was suddenly rocked by angry protests based upon (and this must be stressed) a total misreading of remarks made by Ashis Nandy.

The panel discussion on “The Republic of Ideas,” featuring IBN7 Managing Editor Ashutosh, author and Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal, historian Patrick French, philosopher Richard Sorabji, and social psychologist Ashis Nandy, was moderated by the author and publisher, Urvashi Butalia. Following a fascinating exchange on the “promise” of the Indian Republic and Constitution, the discussion turned to the theme of corruption and the significance of the anti-corruption protests led by Anna Hazare.

Making a passionate plea to deconstruct the sociology of corruption, Tarun Tejpal argued that we need to understand the “corruption” of the poor and the marginalised as a necessary strategy to break through the stifling nature of our rules, regulations and laws. Characterising Indian society as deeply stratified, hierarchical and oppressive, our laws and rules, he claimed, are mostly designed to “keep out” the erstwhile excluded strata from having their say. The corruption of “people like us” — an elite which has both the resources and power to subvert the system — often goes unnoticed, and if discovered, rarely results in prosecution. The misdemeanours of the “others,” in contrast, not only get caught, but also generate outrage, in part because they do not have the necessary skills to successfully cover up their corruption.

Grounded in earlier remarks

Subsequent remarks made by Ashis Nandy need to be read and understood in the context of what Tarun Tejpal said speaking before Nandy did. Agreeing with Tejpal, Nandy went on to argue that such “corruption” of the excluded — the Dalits, tribals, Other Backward Classes (OBC) and minorities — is inevitable if they are to break out from the bonds of an oppressive web of rules and regulations. He went on to say, referring to both himself and Richard Sorabji, that if they “arranged” to get fellowships for their children at Harvard or Oxford, as part of a trade in mutual and selective favours, none will comment about that, as if it is axiomatic that the fellowship was awarded on the basis of merit. Politicians or leaders of the oppressed strata, being new to the game and relatively untutored in the skills of manipulation, are unlikely to seek academic fellowships as a form of graft, and are more likely to covet and corner licences to operate petrol pumps. These pumps are publicly noticeable and can provoke outrage. Their licensees are linked to their “corrupt” benefactors, who are then condemned by the chattering classes in metropolitan cities.

So far so good. Nandy then went on to more provocatively stretch the argument, asserting that it is precisely this kind of “corruption” that has “saved” the Republic and democracy by enabling a degree of social and economic mobility and pluralising the composition of India’s elite. Furthermore, he argued, that it is most likely the list of “corrupt” could be inordinately dominated by Dalits, tribals, minorities and OBCs. Despite his prefacing his last remarks, saying that what he was about to say may shock many people, and that he nevertheless wished to stress the point about how we understand corruption, many in the audience (and one on the panel) completely missed Nandy’s point, and immediately accused him of casteist bias, calling upon him to withdraw his remarks and tender an apology. Some in the audience demanded that he should be charged under the Protection of Civil Rights Act for hurting the sentiments of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.

Competitive outrage follows

Nandy’s protestations that what he said and meant was completely the opposite of what he was being charged with were not persuasive once the atmosphere was charged with heightened emotions. Competitive outrage, taking on the familiar form favoured by some overly strident and aggressive TV anchors, evidently gives no quarter to nuanced arguments, any irony, or even black humour. When Nandy characterised the former Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Madhu Koda (now in jail), as India’s first dollar billionaire, he was hardly extolling the virtues of corruption or turning a blind eye to the “perfidies” of upper caste politicians. At best, in an underhand and sly way, he was expressing admiration for the abilities of a tribal leader in matching up to what has hitherto been an exclusive preserve of India’s upper caste elite.

Accusations of Nandy of being anti-Dalit/tribal/minority groups, the calls for registering a FIR against him, and demanding that he should be arrested would, in our better days, have been dismissed as an irrelevant, if not comic, aside. Such innocent days have faded, unfortunately, into a distant past. So quick are we now to take offence and demand immediate retributory action against alleged offenders that we almost never take a moment to pause, to ascertain the facts, understand what was said and meant, in what context, and to what ends. All we want is action, and now!

Signals shrinking discourse

Subsequent demands by the Bahujan Samaj Party leader, Mayawati, by the chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes P.L. Punia, and others, to arrest Ashis Nandy, even though none of them was present during the discussion, illustrates the danger of a growing kind of prickliness and intolerance. Worse still, such occasions are used by politicians to signal their commitment to their constituencies and shore up their images. In the process we are left with a diminished public discourse. Even liberals, usually quick to defend “freedom of speech,” advocate caution and temperance in the expression of reactions to intemperate allegations of the kind made against Nandy. Is this stance, one wonders, a compensatory guilt, marking what is politically correct, an obverse privileging of the erstwhile dispossessed?

Ashis Nandy’s choice of words, phrases, and examples can be questioned. He is not an organised and scintillating public speaker. One can also differ with his argument and analysis, for instance, his failure to distinguish between “corruption of the poor” and the “corruption of their leaders,” whose subversion of rules often results in them robbing the very poor who are also their constituents. Nevertheless, Nandy’s argument that the “rules of the game” have been set by an elite class to which he belongs, which remains a privileged lot, and therefore, that the deliberate subversion of those rules is an inevitable strategy for those striving for survival and upward mobility, certainly has merit. Clamping down on nuanced utterances and elliptical statements of the kind Nandy made will only make us a poorer democracy and Republic.

(Harsh Sethi is Consulting Editor, Seminar magazine.)

#India- Activists decry linking maternity benefits to population control #Vaw #Reproductiverigghts


New Delhi, Jan 26 — Civil society groups have expressed shock at a parliamentary panel’s recommendation to restrict the nutritional support under government schemes to only two children per family and to disqualify mothers of more children from maternity benefits.

 

Debunking the need for coercive measures to promote population stabilisation, A.R. Nanda, former secretary, department of family welfare, said that India’s population growth has already slowed down considerably and the figures from the 2011 Census show that the decadal growth at 17.64 percent is the lowest in the last 50 years.

 

Reviewing the National Food Security Bill, the parliamentary standing committee on food, consumer affairs and public distribution has recommended that maternity benefits under government schemes should be restricted to only the first two children. The steps to link entitlements to population control or family size need to stop and emphasis should be laid on providing women with adequate nutritional supplements which should be extended to women from socially and economically weaker backgrounds, Nanda said on the sidelines of a function here on girl child.

 

Jashodhara Dasgupta from National Alliance for Maternal Health and Human Rights (NAMHHR) said that according to National Family Health Survey III, nearly 60 per cent of the most vulnerable women of the age group of 15-49 years have more than two children. “They will be disqualified from maternity benefits; these include the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, the poorest and those with no education,” Dasgupta was quoted as saying in a release. As such, disqualifying vulnerable women from maternity benefits just because they give birth to more than two children is a cruel denial of their reproductive and economic rights, she said. Maternity benefits and support are most essential for the well being of poor women and for the future generation of our country, she said. There is an urgent need to delink the supplementary nutritional programmes and maternity entitlements from the two-child norm, else the “inclusive agenda” of the government will be defeated, she added.

 

The activists strongly recommended that maternity benefits and nutritional support schemes should be made unconditional. There should be no restrictions in access to these public support programmes with regard to age or parity.

 

The government should ensure minimum support facilities at work, including creches, wage compensation, nursing breaks and adequate maternity leave for exclusive breast feeding, for poor women in the country, they said.

 

Abhijit Das, convenor of the National Coalition Against Two-Child Norm and Coercive Population Policies, New Delhi, expressed “serious concerns that such a disqualification would be gender-insensitive”.
The recommendations have also been objected to by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).

 

The parliamentary standing committee’s other recommendations, which include diluting the existing commitments of the government to provide nutritional security to children, have also drawn criticism from the civil society as well as the NCPCR.
IANS

 

 

#India -Republic based on illegal UID / NPR database will be totalitarian #Aadhaar


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Republic based on illegal UID/NPR database will be totalitarian

 

200 px

200 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Position Paper
January 2013
Unions join Parliamentary Committee & civil liberties groups to oppose UID/Aadhaar
 
Republic based on illegal UID/NPR database will be totalitarian
 
Apprehensions of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance Proven Right
 
Merger of electoral database with UID/NPR database, an invitation to despotism
 Trade Unions have joined the civil liberties groups and the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance that rejected the National Identification Authority of India (NIDAI) Bill, 2010 for giving post dated legal mandate to Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to oppose Unique Identification (UID)/Aadhaar Number based on illegal and illegitimate collection of biometric data.
The opposition of Trade Unions against the retirement fund body Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO)’s autocratic decision to make submission of UID/Aadhaar mandatory for its over 50 million existing subscribers and new members has robust legal, legislative and citizens support. EPFO has issued an order to its field staff to mandatorily ask for UID/Aadhaar numbers from new members joining the scheme from March 1, 2013 and existing members by June 30, 2013.
EPFO trustees Bhartiya Majdoor Sangh General Secretary Baij Nath Rai and All India Trade Union Congress Secretary D L Sachdev  have expressed their opposed it questioning EPFO’s use of UID/Aadhaar number as unique account number of its members. Hind Mazdoor Sabha Secretary A D Nagpal has also expressed his reservations.
Initiatives based on UID/Aadhaar number and the UID/Aadhaar number has been rejected by the multi-party Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on Finance comprising of Yashwant Sinha, Shivkumar Udasi Chanabasappa, Jayant Chaudhary, Harishchandra Deoram Chavan, Bhakta Charan Das, Gurudas Dasgupta, Nishikant Dubey, Chandrakant Khaire, Bhartruhari Mahtab, Anjan Kumar Yadav M, Prem Das Rai, Dr. Kavuru Sambasiva Rao, Rayapati S. Rao, Magunta Sreenivasulu Reddy, Sarvey Sathyanarayana, G.M. Siddeswara, N. Dharam Singh, Yashvir Singh, Manicka Tagore, R. Thamaraiselvan, Dr. M. Thambidurai, S.S. Ahluwalia 24.  Vijay Jawaharlal Darda, Piyush Goyal, Raashid Alvi, Moinul Hassan, Satish Chandra Misra, Mahendra Mohan, Dr. Mahendra Prasad, Dr. K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao and Yogendra P. Trivedi.
In its report the PSC said, “The Committee have carefully examined the written information furnished to them and heard the views for and against the National Identification Authority of India (NIDAI) Bill from various quarters such as  the  Ministry of Planning, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and experts.  The clearance of the Ministry of Law & Justice for issuing aadhaar numbers, pending passing the Bill by Parliament, on the ground that powers of the Executive are co-extensive with the legislative power of the Government and that the Government is not debarred from exercising its Executive power in the areas which are not regulated by the legislation does not satisfy the Committee.  The Committee are constrained to point out that in the instant case, since the law making is underway with the bill being pending, any executive action is as unethical and violative of Parliament‟s prerogatives as promulgation of an ordinance while one of the Houses of Parliament being in session.”
It observed in its recommendations, “The Committee observe that prima facie the issue of unique identification number, which has been referred to as “aadhaar number” to individuals residing in India and other classes of individuals under the Unique Identification (UID) Scheme is riddled with serious lacunae and concern areas which have been identified as follows:-
a)      The UID scheme has been conceptualized with no clarity of purpose and leaving many things to be sorted out during the course of its implementation; and is being implemented in a directionless way with a lot of confusion.  The scheme which was initially meant for BPL families has been extended for all residents in India and to certain other persons.  The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM), constituted for the purpose of collating the two schemes namely, the UID and National Population Register (NPR), and to look into the methodology and specifying target for effective completion of the UID scheme, failed to take concrete decision on important issues such as (a) identifying the focused purpose of the resident identity database; (b) methodology of collection of data; (c) removing the overlapping between the UID scheme and NPR; (d) conferring of statutory authority to the UIDAI since its inception; (e) structure and functioning of the UIDAI; (f) entrusting the collection of data and issue of unique identification number and national identification number to a single authority instead of the present UIDAI and its reconciliation with National Registration Authority;
b)      The need for conferring of statutory authority to the UIDAI felt by the Government way back in November, 2008, but was deferred for more than two years for no reason.   In this regard,  the Ministry of Planning have informed the Committee that till the time Parliament passes the NIDAI Bill, crucial matters impinging on security and confidentiality of information will be covered by the relevant laws.  The Committee are at a loss to understand as to how the UIDAI, without statutory power, could address key
issues concerning their basic functioning and initiate proceedings against the defaulters and penalize them;
c)      The collection of biometric information and its linkage with personal information of individuals without amendment to the Citizenship Act, 1955 as well as the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003, appears to be beyond the scope of subordinate legislation, which needs to be examined in detail by Parliament;
d)     Continuance of various existing forms of identity and the requirement of furnishing „other documents‟ for proof of address, even after issue of aadhaar number, would render the claim made by the Ministry that aadhaar number is to be used as a general proof of identity and proof of address meaningless;
e)      In addition to aadhaar numbers being issued by the UIDAI, the issuance of smart cards containing information of the individuals by the registrars is not only a duplication but also leads to ID fraud as prevalent in some countries; and
f)       The full or near full coverage of marginalized sections for issuing aadhaar numbers could not be achieved mainly owing to two reasons viz. (i) the UIDAI doesn‟t have the statistical data relating to them; and (ii) estimated failure of biometrics is expected to be as high as 15% due to a large chunk of population being dependent on manual labour.
The PSC report observed, “The Committee are also unhappy to observe that the UID scheme lacks clarity on many issues such as even the basic purpose of issuing “aadhaar” number.  Although the scheme claims that obtaining aadhaar number is voluntary, an apprehension is found to have developed in the minds of people that in future, services / benefits including food entitlements would be denied in case they do not have aadhaar number.   It is also not clear as to whether possession of aadhaar number would be made mandatory in future for availing of benefits and services.   Even if the aadhaar number links entitlements to targeted beneficiaries, it may not ensure that beneficiaries have been correctly identified.  Thus, the present problem of proper identification would persist.”
It also observed, “Though there are significant differences between the identity system of other countries and the UID scheme, yet there are lessons from the global experience to be learnt  before proceeding with the implementation of the UID scheme, which the Ministry of Planning have ignored completely.  For instance, the United Kingdom shelved its Identity Cards Project for a number of reasons, which included:- (a) huge cost involved and possible cost overruns; (b) too complex; (c) untested, unreliable and unsafe technology; (d) possibility of risk to the safety and security of citizens; and (e) requirement of high standard security measures, which would result in escalating the estimated operational costs.  In this context, the Report of the London School of Economics‟ Report on UK‟s Identity Project inter-alia states that “…..identity systems may create a range of new and unforeseen problems……the risk of failure in the current proposals is therefore magnified to the point where the scheme should be regarded as a potential danger to the public interest and to the legal rights of individuals”.  As these findings are very much relevant and applicable to the UID scheme, they should have been seriously considered.”
“The Committee note that the Ministry of Planning have admitted  that (a) no committee has been constituted to study the financial implications of the UID scheme; and (b) comparative costs of the aadhaar number and various existing ID documents are also not available.  The Committee also note that Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the UID Scheme has been done much later in April, 2011.  The Committee thus strongly disapprove of the hasty manner in which the UID scheme has been approved.  Unlike many other schemes / projects, no comprehensive feasibility study, which ought to have been done before approving such an expensive scheme, has been done involving all aspects of the UID scheme including cost-benefit analysis, comparative costs of aadhaar number and various forms of existing identity, financial implications and prevention of identity theft, for example, using hologram enabled ration card to eliminate fake and duplicate beneficiaries.
“The Committee are afraid that the scheme may end up being dependent on private agencies, despite contractual agreement made by the UIDAI with several private vendors.  As a result, the beneficiaries may be forced to pay over and above the charges to be prescribed by the UIDAI for availing of benefits and services, which are now available free of cost.”
“The Committee find that the scheme is full of uncertainty in technology as the complex scheme is built up on untested, unreliable technology and several assumptions.  Further, despite adverse observations by the UIDAI‟s Biometrics Standards Committee on error rates of biometrics, the UIDAI is collecting the biometric information.   It is also not known as to whether the proof of concept studies and assessment studies undertaken by the UIDAI  have explored the possibilities of maintaining accuracy to a large level of enrolment of 1.2 billion people.  Therefore, considering the possible limitations in applications of technology available now or in the near future, the Committee would believe that it is unlikely that the proposed objectives of the UID scheme could be achieved.”
“The Committee feel that entrusting the responsibility of verification of information of individuals to the registrars to ensure that only genuine residents get enrolled into the system may have far reaching consequences for national security.  Given the limitation of any mechanism such as a security audit by an appropriate agency that would be setup for verifying the information etc., it is not sure as to whether complete verification of information of all aadhaar number holders is practically feasible; and whether it would deliver the intended results without compromising national security.”
The PSC report which has been submitted to the Parliament is available at
In a related development it was reported on October 6, 2011 that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi wrote to the Prime Minister questioning the need for National Population Register (NPR) by Registrar General of India & Census Commissioner, Union Ministry of Home Affairs. Gujarat stopped collection of biometric data for creation of the NPR.
In his letter to the Prime Minister, Modi raised objections over both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which is creating Unique Identification (UID)/Aadhaar Number and Registrar General of India, which is creating the NPR, collecting biometric data.
In his letter to Manmohan Singh, Modi wrote, “there is no mention of capturing biometrics in the Citizenship Act or Citizenship Rules 2009”. He added, “In the absence of any provision in the Citizenship Act, 1955, or rules for capturing biometrics, it is difficult to appreciate how the capture of biometrics is a statutory requirement. Photography and biometrics is only mentioned in the Manual of Instructions for filling up the NPR household schedule and even in that there is no mention of capturing the Iris”.
After Gujarat stopped collection of biometric data, the then Union Minister of Home Affairs, P Chidambaram sent a letter to Modi in August 2011 pointing out that creation of the NPR was a “statutory requirement” under the Citizenship Act, 1955, and “once initialized, has to be necessarily completed”. The Union Minister of Home Affairs had also requested the CM to instruct state government officers to cooperate in creation of the NPR.
This was when the entire media, the citizens and the political class was hoodwinked into believing that there was a rift between Nandan Manohar Nilekani’s UIDAI under Planning Commission and Dr C Chandramouli’s NPR under Union Minsitry of Home Affairs.
It appears that in order to reveal Modi chose to side with UIDAI in an apparent rebuff to Chidambaram. Modi kicked off UID/Adhaar project in Gujarat on May 1, 2012 by giving his biometric information for his UID number and enrolled under the UIDAI project. Strangely, Modi did not object to his biometric identification under UID as he did with regard to NPR. Modi did so despite the fact that Yashwant Sinha headed Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance has rejected the UID project and the UID Bill in its report to the Parliament on December 13, 2012. However, it may be noted that one sentence of its report appears to endorse biometric NPR. Is it a case of Sinha trying to side with Chidambaram? It appears that Modi has been taken for ride with regard to the UID/Aadhaar and Sinha with regard to NPR as they failed to see through the strategy.
Now it is clear that the staged rift that was created between Home Ministry and Planning Commission’ UIDAI on UID and NPR was motivated and was meant to take legislatures, citizens, States and media for a ride.
The Terms of Reference No. 8 of Planning Commission’s notification dated January 28, 2009 that created Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) in pursuance of the 4th meeting of the Empowered Group of Ministers, states, “Take necessary steps to ensure collation of NPR and UID (as per approved strategy)”.
The rift that led to division of work between UIDAI and Home Ministry’s Registrar General of India & Census Commissioner and the movement of P Chidambaram from Home Ministry to Finance Ministry appears to be as per the approved strategy. The strategy document prepared by WIPRO Ltd is missing.
As per the communication from UIDAI dated July 2, 2010 which states that “The decision for appointment of Chairman was conveyed by the Cabinet Secretariat” The Planning Commission’s notification (which was to be published in the Gazette of India) dated July 2, 2009 reveals that “the competent authority has approved the appointment of Nandan Nilekani, Co-Chairman, INFOSYS as Chairperson, Unique Identification Authority of India, in the rank and status of a Cabinet Minister. Nilekani will hold appointment for an initial tenure of five years”. The notification shows that a copy was marked to Nilekani, CEO, President & MD, Infosys Technologies Ltd., Corporate Headquarters besides the Secretary Generals of Secretariats of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. This was before the UID Bill (The National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2010) was introduced in the Parliament and rejected by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance in its report to the Parliament in December 13, 2011.
It is noteworthy that National Population Register (NPR) for Multi-purpose Identity Card (MNIC), Unique Identification /Aadhaar Number, UID/Aadhaar-Enabled E-payment system, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), DNA Profiling, National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID), National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), National Information Utility, Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations, Electronic Services Delivery Law, amendments in Information Technology Act, Land Titling Bill, unified E payment infrastructure etc are related and are in line with the policy of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and World Bank’s eTransform Initiative. None of the above programmes and subordinate legislations have legislative mandate.
Given a choice between leakage or theft of citizens database of sensitive personal information and leakage of public distribution system and delivery social welfare services what would be be chosen and which can be plugged more easily. Recently, database of Greece has been stolen as per Reuters and the database of Pakistan and Egypt has been handed over to US as per the diplomatic cables leaked by Wikileaks.
In UID/Aadhaar Enrolment Form, Column 9 reads: “I have no objection to the UIDAI sharing information provided by me to the UIDAI with agencies engaged in delivery of welfare services”. In front of this column, there is a “Yes” and “No” option. Irrespective of what option residents of India exercise (which is being ticked automatically by the enroler in any case as of now), the fact is this information being collected for creating Centralized Identity Data Register (CIDR) and NPR (column 7) will be handed over to biometric technology companies like Satyam Computer Services/Sagem Morpho, L1 Identities Solutions and Accenture Services of all shades who have already been awarded contracts.
A letter written to Election Commission of India and Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on Finance that has rejected the UID Bill underlined the ILLEGALITY OF MERGER OF UID-AADHAAR-NPR LINKED CONTRACTS, VOTER ID, EVM, CASH TRANSFER ETC was shared with the media persons. But the way BJP has reacted to UID based cash transfer in a very procedural manner instead of engage with it in a substantive way appears to signal witting or unwitting collusion between both BJP and Congress with regard to UID and NPR otherwise how is it that all the NDA and UPA ruled States are implementing UID and NPR quite obediently. The non-NDA and non-UPA parties have failed to apply their legal minds to it the way they did in the case of National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC). So far they have failed to appreciate that UID, NPR, NCTC and National Intelligence Grid is linked and is being linked with Census and Voters’ database.
Unmindful of threat to federalism most States including Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, Tripura, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal  have signed a MoU with UIDAI. Surprisingly, the States which were quite vocal about threats to federal structure from Union Home Ministry‘s National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) and National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) that integrates 21 sets of databases have been caught unawares by the creation of UID’s Centralized Identities Data Register (CIDR) disregarding the fact that Planning Commission’s CIDR and Home Ministry’s National Population Register (NPR) is going to be converged.
It is indeed unfortunate that the State Governments and Central Government has chosen to listen to consultants who are more interested in making a quick sale of their biometric, identification and surveillance technology products. The ways in which compromised biometrics can be of inordinate danger to the person whose biometrics have been stolen due to mishandling or improper understanding of the ways in which digital systems can be misused and abused has been visualized in an article authored by a pioneer in biometric identity systems merits attention. The same has been published in The New York Times on November 10, 2012.
UID- Aadhaar based cash transfer scheme anti poor. The claim that Central Government’s UID -Aadhaar will result in the savings is suspect unless Prime Minister’s Office and Planning Commission study revealed the total budget UID-Aadhaar project. The Prime Minister’s Office must declare its total budget Aadhaar project before disbursing cash transfer through UIDAI platform for all major government schemes.
UID-Aadhaar based cash transfer is being started off when bank accounts still don’t exist for everyone, especially those who the government claims to want to target; when the institution of banking correspondents has been tried and has admittedly failed; when the proof of concepts on biometrics has demonstrated that it is still an under-tested technology; when even the projected coverage of the aadhaar is half the population (600 million) by 2014. The government is impatient to shift to cash transfer as is being recommended by intergovernmental banking agencies such as the World Bank; and the evidence of probable failure is not to be heeded in this haste. The Bank’s paper dated October 2012 reveals that cash transfer and vote purchase is linked.
A “Strategic Vision on the UIDAI Project” was prepared and submitted to this Committee by M/S Wipro Ltd (Consultant for the design phase and program management phase of the Pilot UIDAI project). It envisaged the close linkage that the UIDAI would have to the electoral database. The Committee also appreciated the need of a UIDAI Authority to be created by an executive order under the aegis of the Planning Commission to ensure a pan-departmental and neutral identity for the authority and at the same time enable a focused approach to attaining the goals set for the XI Plan. The Seventh Meeting of the Process Committee on 30 August 2007 decided to furnish to the Planning commission a detailed proposal based on the resource model for seeking its “in principle” approval.  At the same time, the Registrar General of India was engaged in the creation of the National Population Register and issuance of Multi-purpose National Identity Cards to citizens of India. Reference: http://uidai.gov.in/about-uidai.html
It is noteworthy that Election Commission’s website carries a power point presentation that concludes by stating ‘Makes us UID ready’. It has come to light that Union Home Ministry has sought a proposal from the Election Commission of India and the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), will ensure that UID-Aadhaar does not duplicate the data that is collected and used by the Election Commission. Dr S Y Quraishi as Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) revealed to a newspaper that, “With the UID project already completing the biometric process under its umbrella, by scanning fingerprints and retina scan, we have approached the Centre to merge the Election ID cards with UID.” He added, “We will have the unique identification numbers provided by the UID printed on the election IDs…With over 750 million people registered with the EC, we have the largest data base to help the UID project.” It may be noted that the Nilekani had approached the Election Commission for accessing their data base and voters list for preparing the UID database.
It is quite disturbing that the Parliament has not been informed so far about the ongoing merger of UID, NPR and electoral database when it examined the UID Bill.  This constitutes commission of a series of illegalities and acts of unwarranted subordinate legislation.
It has come to light that head of UIDAI was given ID Limelight Award at the ID WORLD International Congress in Italy. This year the 10th edition of the ID WORLD International Congress is planned in Milan, Italy during November 2-4. The key sponsors of Congress include Morpho (Safran group), a French multinational corporation specializing in ID credentials solutions incorporating biometrics application in passports, visas, ID documents, health and social benefits, elections, etc. Its subsidiary, Sagem Morpho Security Pvt. Ltd has been awarded contract for the purchase of Biometric Authentication Devices on February 2, 2011 by the UIDAI.
Earlier, on July 30, 2010, in a joint press release, it was announced that “the Mahindra Satyam and Morpho led consortium has been selected as one of the key partners to implement and deliver the Aadhaar program by UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India).” This means that at least two contracts have been awarded to the French conglomerate led consortium.  Is it a coincidence that Morpho (Safran group) sponsored the award to Chairman, UIDAI and the former got a contract from the latter?
Incidentally, Nilekani was given the award at the ID WORLD International Congress in 2010 held in Milan from November 16 to 18, 2010. One of the two Platinum Sponsors was Morpho (Safran group), a French high-technology company with three core businesses: Aerospace, Defense and Security.  Coincidentally, this Global Summit on Automatic Identification in 2009 had awarded Tariq Malik, Deputy Chairman of Islamabad based National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA) too for implementing UID project in Pakistan.
Nilekani was given the award “For being the force behind a transformational project ID project in India…and “to provide identification cards for each resident across the country and would be used primarily as the basis for efficient delivery of welfare services. It would also act as a tool for effective monitoring of various programs and schemes of the Government.”  Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL) contends that there is a conflict of interest and it appears to be an act done in lieu of the contract.
It may been noted that UIDAI awarded contracts to three companies namely, Satyam Computer Services Ltd. (Mahindra Satyam), as part of a “Morpho led consortium”, L1 Identity Solutions Operating Company and Accenture Services Pvt. Ltd of USA for the “Implementation of Biometric Solution for UIDAI” on July 30, 2010.
It is alarming to note that Davinder Kumar, Deputy Director General, UIDAI will have residents/ citizens of India believe that the three transnational biometric technology companies working with foreign intelligence agencies namely:1) Mahindra Satyam Computer Services/Sagem Morpho, 2) L1 Identities Solutions and 3) Accenture Services who have been awarded contracts by UIDAI that “There are no  means to verify whether the said companies are of US origin or not” in a reply to Right to Information (RTI) application dated 21st July, 2011. This is quite a stark act of omission and commission that is likely to put residents of India under surveillance using delivery of public services as fish bait forever. The RTI reply is attached. Didn’t Nilekani know the country of origin of the award and their sponsors who were awarded contract by UIDAI prior to taking the award?
UIDAI officials like Nilekani and Davinder Kumar the “means to verify” the country of the origin of three companies in questions.  The first company Morpho’s website is
http://www.morpho.com/qui-sommes-nous/implantations-internationales/morpho-en-inde/?lang=en

It Press Release at http://www.morpho.com/evenements-et-actualites-348/presse/mahindra-satyam-and-morpho-selected-to-deliver-india-s-next-generation-unique-identification-number-program?lang=en reveal its partnership with Mahindra Satyam. Its parent company’s website is www.safran-group.com

The second company, L1 Identities Solutions is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, U.S website and its press releases at http://ir.l1id.com/releases.cfm?header=news reveal that the company received $24.5 Million in Purchase Orders in the Initial Phase of India’s Unique Identification Number Program for Certified Agile TP(TM) Fingerprint Slap Devices and Mobile-Eyes(TM) Iris Cameras. http://ir.l1id.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=509971). Robert V. LaPenta, Chairman, President and CEO of L-1 Identity Solutions said, “We are encouraged by the strong demand we have seen in the first phase of this program for our state-of-the-art fingerprint and iris products. Our devices are receiving high marks from our customers and we believe a large number of L-1 live scans and iris cameras will continue to be ordered throughout the enrollment phase.” This was on September 22, 2010.

On July 19, 2011, L-1 Identity Solutions and Safran, Paris announced that in connection with the pending acquisition of L-1 by Safran, the parties have reached a final agreement on the terms of a definitive mitigation agreement with the United States government. L-1 and Safran were notified by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) on July 19, 2011 that the investigation of the merger transaction is complete and that there are no unresolved national security concerns with respect to the transaction. With CFIUS approval for the merger, and having satisfied all other conditions required prior to closing, the parties intend to complete the merger transaction within the next five business days. Robert V. LaPenta, Chairman, President and CEO of L-1 Identity Solutions said, “The combination of L-1 and Safran Morpho with our complementary technologies, markets and promising synergies will result in the leading worldwide-wide provider of identity solutions today and into the future.”
As a consequence of Safran’s purchase of L-1 Identity Solutions, the de-duplication contracts of UIDAI’s CIDR and Home Ministry’s NPR which was given to two companies on July 30, 2010, both contracts are with one company now.
It seems to be a surveillance movement based on global ID card. Commenting on the merger of the two biometric technology companies, Mark Lerner, the author of the book “Your Body is Your ID” says, “Safran is a French company, 30% owned by the French government”. Safran has a 40 year partnership with China in the aerospace and the security sectors too.
The third company, Accenture, a US company headquartered in Dublin, Republic of Ireland. It won US Department of Homeland Security’s contract for five years to design and implement the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) program based on biometric technology for checking identities of foreigners visiting USA.  The contract includes five base years plus five option years mandated by U.S. Congress for Smart Border Alliance project.  It is one of the main privatized gatekeepers of US borders.
Now will UIDAI and Home Ministry explain whether or not they blundered in giving contracts to these above mentioned companies? Feigning ignorance about their country of origin is not a pardonable act for sure.
At a lecture on November 23, 2012 UIDAI Chairperson talked about a gigantic naming ceremony underway-mankind’s biggest biometric database ever and ominously stated that if you do not have the Aadhaar card you will not get the right to rights. UID is like a financial address for the people. The question is if Aadhaar card is only an identifier of residents of India how does it accord to itself an inherent right to approve or disapprove rights of citizens to have rights? He mentioned the October 2012 report of the Report of the Justice A P Shah headed Group of Experts on Privacy but ignored the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee and Statement of Concern on UID that Justice Shah had co-signed. When UIDAI Chairperson acknowledged that privacy is larger than Aadhaar and says that legal framework will even out the design risks, he took the audience for ride because while the legal framework for both the UID and Privacy is absent the implementation of UID and NPR is unfolding illegally and illegitimately.
It has been noted that the name Aadhaar is linked to the NGO of Nilekani that worked in the matter of Bangalore Agenda Task Force from 1999 to 2004.
It is clear that the Prime Minister is putting the cart before the horse, how does Privacy Bill make sense when privacy of citizens is already violated through UID related tracking and profiling system being implemented.
Parliament and citizens have not been informed so far about the ongoing merger of UID, NPR and electoral database when it examined the UID Bill.  This constitutes commission of a series of illegalities and acts of unwarranted subordinate legislation.
Planning Commission’s claim of Rs 1, 10, 000 crore of savings from unique identification (UID)-Aadhaar and the Parliamentary Committee’s Report on UID/Aadhaar Bill submitted to the Parliament which found the UID-Aadhaar scheme questionable on several counts including the fact that it is irrational to claim savings without disclosing the total budget of the UID and UID related projects. The budgetary allocation for UIDAI is acting like a sink for public money. All claims of benefits are suspect as long as total cost is presented to the Parliament and citizens.
In the face of such assault on Parliament’s prerogative, State’s autonomy, citizens’ rights and the emergence of a regime that is making legislatures subservient to database and data mining companies, the urgent intervention of the PSC, Parliament, States, political parties and citizens cannot be postponed anymore.
In a significant development, the Writ Petition (Civil) of Justice K S Puttaswamy, former judge of the Karnataka High Court was heard on November 30, 2012 before Hon’ble Supreme Court’s bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice J. Chelameswar echoing some of the concerns raised by seventeen eminent citizens like Justice V R Krishna, Justice A P Shah, Prof. Upendra Baxi and the findings of the Parliamentary Standing on Finance in the matter of the implementation of world biggest ever biometric data based identification exercise. The bench issued an order in the case of Justice Puttaswamy (retd) VERSUS Union of India saying, “Issue notice on the writ petition as also on the prayer for interim relief. Leave is given to the petitioners to add additional grounds.”
The petition refers to a letter of a member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, Justice M. Rama Jois, addressed a letter to the Prime Minister in this regard on 19.01.2011 pointing out to the constitutional impropriety of issuing Aadhar Numbers even when the Bill aforesaid was pending before the parliament. But surprisingly, to the said letter, he received a reply dated January 29, 2011 simply stating that the Prime Minister has received his letter without replying to the points raised in his letter.
 Justice Puttaswamy is a former Judge of the Karnataka High Court since 1977 and after retirement he was Vice Chairman of Central Administrative Tribunal, Bangalore Bench, Bangalore. He was Chairman of Andhra Pradesh Administrative Tribunal, Hyderabad and also Chairman, Andhra Pradesh Backward Class Commission. The petitioner wants that the executive and legislature must function within the frame work of the Constitutional provisions so that Government “does not circumvent the legislature to avoid discussion, debate and voting in the Parliament and thereby render the legislature redundant or purposeless.”
The writ petition submitted, “the petitioner states that collecting Biometric information as a condition precedent for the issue of Aadhar number is an invasion of the right to privacy of citizens and therefore this can be done only by the law enacted by the Parliament and beyond the executive power.”
Taking note of the fact that “Aadhar number is issued under Section 3 of the (UID) Bill to a non citizen on the ground that he is residing in this Country, he becomes entitled to the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution as fundamental rights under Article 14 and 21 are available to all persons in India and consequently also right to a remedy under Article 32 of the constitution of India”, the petition submits, “it is a matter of great security concern for the nation also. When such is the magnitude of the provisions of the Bill, still it is sought to be implemented by the exercise of executive power without any discussion, debate and the approval by both the Houses of the Parliament.”
The petition asks the Supreme Court, “what is the contours of the executive powers of the Central Government under Article 73 and whether the executive power vested in the Union can be exercised so as to adversely affect the fundamental right to privacy and in a manner so as to bye-pass the legislative power of the Parliament? And render the Bill Purposeless. “The petitioners are constrained to state that the subject matter involved in the Bill is of serious consequences to the right to privacy of the citizens of the Country and also right to secrecy of their personal matter and involves colossal expenditure to the Union.”
It asks “whether the executive power could be used in a manner so as to make the legislative power redundant or in other words, whether by the exercise of executive power, the executive can circumvent the Parliament? However, having regard to the far reaching importance of the matter which is highly controversial and involves colossal expenditure, which is sure to become a waste if and when the Parliament rejects the Bill, or for any reason the scheme becomes impracticable rendering the enormous money spent till then a National Waste.”
The petition prays Hon’ble Supreme Court for issuance of “a writ in the nature of mandamus restraining the respondents from issuing Aadhaar Numbers by way of implementing its executive order dated 28.01.2009 which tantamount to implementing the provisions of the National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2010 pending before the Parliament until and unless the said Bill is considered and passed by the parliament and becomes an Act of parliament.” On the grounds that “The scheme formulated by the Central Government in its notification dated 28.01.2009 constituting Unique Identification Authority of India [UIDAI] and authorizing it to issue aadhaar numbers which adversely affect the fundamental right to privacy flowing from Article 21 of the constitution, cannot be implemented unless it becomes a law enacted by the Parliament.”
On the ground that “When the Government has introduced the National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2010 in the Rajya Sabha for the same purpose for which the executive order dated 28.01.2009 was issued, and the same has been rejected by the Standing Committee, Finance, to which it was referred, can still implement its executive order without bringing the Bill for consideration before the Parliament for purpose of discussion, debate and passing by it and before it became an Act of parliament.”
It may be noted that three UID related petitions are pending in the High Courts in Chandigarh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra as well.
Given the fact that convergence of citizens’ personal sensitive information is being converged and is making right to have citizens’ rights dependent on State’s whims and fancies at the behest of ungovernable technology companies, States must un-sign the MoUs they have signed with the UIDAI whose legality is questionable to protect the rights of the citizens of their respective States. Although belated legislative assemblies, councils, panchayati raj institutions, Gram Sabhas, universities etc must examine the illegality and illegitimacy of biometric data based identifications of citizens and put a stay on the implementation of UID and NPR related projects.
Political parties, citizens groups and media houses concerned about public interest ought to consider deploying legal minds to examine the questionable nature of world’s biggest biometric database (UID-NPR initiatives) to protect the democratic rights of the present and future generations.
For Details: Gopal Krishna, Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL), New Delhi, Mb:  9818089660, E-mail: krishna1715@gmail.com
Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL) has been campaigning against unregulated biometric, surveillance and identification technology companies since 2010 and had appeared before the Parliamentary Standing Committee, Finance in this regard. CFCL has consistently underlined that the silence of the States which are quite vocal about threats to federal structure from Union Home Ministry‘s National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) and National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) that integrates 21 sets of databases in the matter of the creation of UID’s Centralized Identities Data Register (CIDR) disregarding the fact that Planning Commission’s CIDR and Home Ministry’s National Population Register (NPR) is inexplicable.

 

Previous Older Entries

Archives

Kractivism-Gonaimate Videos

Protest to Arrest

Faking Democracy- Free Irom Sharmila Now

Faking Democracy- Repression Anti- Nuke activists

JAPA- MUSICAL ACTIVISM

Kamayaninumerouno – Youtube Channel

UID-UNIQUE ?

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6,246 other followers

Top Rated

Blog Stats

  • 1,668,683 hits

Archives

%d bloggers like this: