#India- Who owns our identity? #UID #Aadhaar #Biometrics


Author: Latha Jishnu, Down to Earth
Posted on: 31 May, 2013

Between Nilekani’s UID and National Population Register’s KYR+is a huge mess and a looming nightmare

imageIllustration: Anirban Bora

 

Yattan Bibi, scrubber of floors and cleaner of dishes (other people’s), has spent the past six months visiting a number of government departments, bank offices and “camps” in different schools. All this to get her identity proven—again and again. It’s a bureaucratic obstacle race that’s tired her out but the hope of getting some kind of dole “for my old age when my limbs get weak” keeps this unlettered woman stubbornly on the paper chase. Most of the time she has no clue quite what is expected of her, much less why.

In recent weeks, armed with her tattered ration card and an old bank passbook which are her most prized assets, Yattan Bibi has piled up an impressive number of documents. Thanks to her ration card she has got an aadhaar number, which is software czar Nandan Nilekani’s “gift” of a unique identity to the millions he says have been left out of the system because they have no documents to prove who they are. The unique 12-digit number is not an open sesame however. It did not help Yattan Bibi open a special public sector bank account for pension of Rs 600 a month under the Delhi government’s Dilli Annshree Yojana. The bank says aadhaar is not a valid proof of residence. It has, instead, asked for a voter ID card or a permanent account number (PAN) card to prove her bonafides.

As different arms of the government work on parallel lines, unnecessary complexities are being created. Officially, aadhaar registration is voluntary but it is implicitly compulsory since there is the threat of denial of services. Enrolment with the National Population Register (NPR), on the other hand is mandatory, and C Chandramouli, Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, who runs NPR has sent out a warning that the time for filling in the Know Your Resident Plus (KYR+) form is running out. The KYR+ will, eventually, result in the ultimate proof of identity, a citizenship card with the aadhaar number on it. Or so we are promised.

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Between the seemingly lax aadhaar of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and the stricter KYR+ of NPR, which comes under the Ministry of Home Affairs, is a messy universe of verification and authentication that is complicating the lives of the poor, with no guarantee of the much promised “social inclusion” at the end of it all. If anything, Down To Earth’s investigations have shown that the Unique Identification (UID) programme is as prone to being a tool of exclusion as it is of ensuring the benefits of welfare schemes (see ‘Unique identity crisis’, Down To Earth, May 1-15, 2012). Across the country, workers are being denied their wages because authentication machines fail to match their fingerprints with the UIDAI database. Forget the iris scans because we don’t have the money for such sophisticated machines. Above all is the overarching question of safety and likely misuse of data.

Recently, data of 300,000 applicants containing PAN and biometric information was lost while being uploaded from Mumbai to the UIDAI server in Bengaluru because a hard disk of the Maharashtra government’s IT department crashed. Shocking, said many commentators. But what of the many instances that have come to light of laptops with such data that have gone missing? In spite of the frequency of such data disasters, privacy concerns are being dismissed as elitist. Such questions, goes the official argument, ignore the ground realities of India where millions desperately need an identity of some kind to be part of the system. Yet, in March, the Bombay High Court directed UIDAI and the Union government to respond within three months to a public interest litigation questioning the lack of safeguards in aadhaar.

Now comes an even more troubling disclosure. Legal expert Usha Ramanathan who has been studying the policy and practices of Nilekani’s UIDAI over the past five years, warns that the authority will be a business entity governed by the Companies Act. It is not bound by a law that will recognise the fiduciary role of the state, she warns. In that role, government does not own data.

As Ramanathan explains it, the framework for ownership of data was set out by Nilekani in the Technology Advisory Group for Unique Projects which he chaired. This group suggested the setting up of National Information Utilities (NIUs) to manage government’s databases through the creation of NIUs which will then “own” the data as private companies with a public purpose. But essentially profit-making would be their goal. While the government would have “strategic control”, NIUs would be at least 51 per cent owned privately. In other words, the data would be privatised after the operations of NIUs are stabilised (with state funding and support, of course). Thereafter, the government would become a “paying customer” whereas NIUs would be “essentially set up as natural monopolies”. How do we deal with such a chilling scenario in a country that has no privacy laws or data protection regulations?

 

 

#Aadhaar #UID Your data, going on sale soon #MUSTSHARE


USHA RAMANATHAN, The Hindu 

  • ILLUSTRATION: SATWIK GADE
  • ILLUSTRATION: SATWIK GADE
  • ILLUSTRATION: SATWIK GADE
    ILLUSTRATION: SATWIK GADE

Information being collected for the unique identification project will be sold back to the government through specially created, privatised, for profit utilities

Technology has created the potential to record, collate, converge, retrieve, mine, share, profile and otherwise conjure with data. Data is the new property. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), with its push to enrol the whole Indian resident population, signals the emergence of an information infrastructure facilitated by the government — it finances the “start up,” and uses its authority to coerce people to get on to the database, and then handed over to corporate interests when it reaches a “steady state.”

 

Allowing private entry

 

The UIDAI was set up by an executive notification dated January 28, 2009. The Planning Commission was the nodal agency “for providing logistics, planning and budgetary support” and to “provide initial office and IT infrastructure.” As part of its “role and responsibilities,” the UIDAI was to “issue necessary instructions to agencies that undertake creation of databases, to ensure standardisation of data elements that are collected and digitised and enable collation and correlation with UID [Unique Identification Number/Aadhaar] and its partner databases.” It was to “take necessary steps to ensure collation of NPR [National Population Register] with UID”. And, the UIDAI “shall own and operate” the UID database.

 

When the state holds data it collects in its transactions with its residents, it holds the data in a fiduciary capacity. It does not own the data.

 

The framework for ownership of data was set out by the Nandan Nilekani-chaired Technology Advisory Group for Unique Projects (TAG-UP), which gave its report in January 2011. While the Nilekani committee directly addressed five projects — Goods and Services Tax Network, Tax Information Network, Expenditure Information Network, National Treasury Management Agency and the New Pension System — it recommended that the suggested framework “be more generally applicable to the complex IT-intensive systems which are increasingly coming to prominence in the craft of Indian public administration.”

 

As understood by TAG-UP, the government has two major tasks: policymaking and implementation. Implementation is weak, and rather than spend time finding correctives, the committee found in this an opportunity for private business interests. So, TAG-UP suggested the setting up of National Information Utilities (NIUs).

 

“NIUs would be private companies with a public purpose: profit-making, not profit maximising.” The government would have “strategic control,” that is, it would be focused on how it would achieve the objectives and outcomes, leaving the NIU “flexible” in its functioning. Total private ownership should be at least 51 per cent. The government should have at least 26 per cent shares. Once it reaches steady state, the government would be a “paying customer.” As a paying customer, “the government would be free to take its business to another NIU”; though, given the “large upfront sunk-cost, economies of scale, and network externalities from a surrounding ecosystem (and what this means is not explained any further), NIUs are … essentially set up as natural monopolies.” To get a buy-in from the bureaucracy, “in-service officers” are to be deployed in the NIUs and are to be given an allowance of 30 per cent of their remuneration.

 

Government as customer

 

“Once the rollout is completed,” the Nilekani committee blithely states, “the government’s role shifts to that of a customer.”

 

In sum, what emerges from the TAG-UP report is this: governmental data and databases are to be privatised through the creation of NIUs which will then “own” the data. NIUs will be natural monopolies. NIUs will use the data and the database for profit-making and not profit-maximising, and the definition of these terms are indeterminate.

 

Government will support the NIUs through funding them till they reach a steady state, and by doing what is needed to gather the data and create the database using governmental authority. Once the NIU reaches steady state, the government will reappear as the customer of the NIU. Government officers will be deployed in NIUs and be paid 30 per cent over their salaries, which, even if the report does not say it explicitly, is expected to forge loyalties and vested interests. The notion of holding citizens’ data in a fiduciary capacity cedes place to the vesting of ownership over citizens’ data in an entity which will then have the government as their customer.

 

This notion of private companies owning our data has not been discussed with state governments, nor with people from whom information is being collected.

 

Unexplained

 

We might have treated the TAG-UP report as another report without a future; except, in the Budget presented by Mr. Pranab Mukherjee as Finance Minister in March 2012, he announced that the “GSTN (Goods and Sales Tax Network) will be set up as a National Information Utility.” The NIU was not explained to Parliament, and no one seems to have raised any questions about what it is.

 

There is disturbing evidence that the UIDAI provided the basis for the NIU. The report is littered with references to the UIDAI, and suggests that the way the UIDAI has been functioning is a model for the NIU. The Biometrics Standards Committee set up by the UIDAI in September 2009 and which gave its report in December 2009 declared that the UIDAI intended to “create a platform to first collect identity details of residents, and subsequently perform identity authentication services that can be used by government and commercial service providers.” The “UIDAI Strategy Overview,” in April 2010, estimated that it would generate Rs.288.15 crore in annual revenue through address and biometric authentication once it reaches a steady state, where authentication services for new mobile connections, PAN cards, gas connections, passports, LIC policies, credit cards, bank accounts and airline check-in, would net this profit. Till then, it is to be funded by the government. Once that stage is reached, it will be a private, profit-making entity and the government, like other commercial service providers, will become its customer.

 

Data for a price

 

Mr. Nilekani calls it “open architecture”; that is, applications can be thought up as the business grows; there are no limits or contours within which it should be used. He has repeatedly described the UID as a unique number, which will be universal and ubiquitous; the latter two indicate that, despite being marketed as voluntary, all activities and services are intended to be made dependent on the UID for all persons, ensuring steady business for the enterprise. The UID enrolment form has a column for “information sharing consent.” This will allow the UIDAI to part with the data, both demographic and biometric, for a price. This explains why there has been so little enthusiasm for a law on the subject. A Bill was introduced in Parliament close to two years after the project was started. When the Parliamentary Standing Committee rejected the Bill and the project in December 2011, the law was consigned to oblivion.

 

The UIDAI will be a business entity, governed by the Companies Act; not bound by a law that will recognise the fiduciary role of the state, and which will facilitate, and not penalise, a citizen for not having an identity document or number.

 

The 2009 notification that set up the UIDAI says that the UIDAI is to “take necessary steps to ensure collation of NPR with UID.” Registering in the NPR is compulsory under the Citizenship Act and the Citizenship Rules of 2003. Although biometrics is not within the mandate of the NPR, they have also been collected in the process of building up the NPR database. So, the data mandated to be given to the NPR is being handed over to the UIDAI to become the property of the UIDAI, and we don’t even know it!

 

(Usha Ramanathan is an independent law researcher and has been following the policy and practices of the UIDAI since 2009.)

 

 

#India – #Aadhaar private ownership of UID data – Part II


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USHA RAMANATHAN | 30/04/2013 , Moneylife.com

 

Those enrolling on the UID database have not been informed that their data is to yield profit for the UIDAI, Rs288.15 crore a year and its only investor, the government, does not even own the data. How many in the government are even aware of this investing of ownership in an entity that continues to remain deliberately undefined and opaque

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) was set up by an executivenotification dated 28 January 2009. As per the notification, the Planning Commission was to be the nodal agency “for providing logistics, planning and budgetary support” and to “provide initial office and IT infrastructure”. As part of its “role and responsibilities”, the UIDAI was to “issue necessary instructions to agencies that undertake creation ofdatabases, to ensure standardisation of data elements that are collected and digitised and enable collation and correlation with UID and its partner databases”. It was to “take necessary steps to ensure collation of the National Population Register (NPR) with the UID”. And, the UIDAI “shall own and operate” the UID database.

 

In July 2009, Nandan Nilekani was appointed as the chairman of the UIDAI, representing a lateral entry of a person from the private sector into the government, with the rank of a Cabinet minister.

 

The UID project proceeded without a law, despite the seriousness of privacy and security concerns till, caving in to public pressure, a draft Bill was prepared by the UIDAI in June 2010; and it was not till December 2010, after the project had begun to collect resident data, that this Bill was introduced in Parliament. The Bill stayed close to the framework for corporate control over databases that was later enunciated in the report of Technology Advisory Group on Unique Projects (TAG-UP) of which Mr Nilekani was the chair, and which gave its report in January 2011.

 

The Bill to give statutory status to the UIDAI was roundly rejected by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance in December 2011. The Parliamentary Committee recommended that both the Bill and the UID project be sent back to the drawing board. There has been no effort since to reintroduce the Bill. Every time the UIDAI is confronted with questions about the legality of its enterprise, its officers assert that the executive order of 28 January 2009 is the legal instrument from which they derive their authority; and that order makes them the ‘owner’ of the database.

 

In the context of the UID project:

• Residents from whom the data is being collected have not been informed that the government is not the owner of the data, or of the database; nor what the legal status of the ownership by the UIDAI will mean for the citizen/resident;

• the UIDAI set up a Biometrics Standards Committee in September 2009, which gave its report in December 2009. Its report reveals that the UIDAI intended to “create a platformto first collect identity details of residents, and subsequently perform identity authentication services that can be used by government and commercial service providers”;

• the “UIDAI Strategy Overview”, in April 2010, estimated that it would generate Rs288.15 crore annual revenue through address and biometric authentication once it reaches steady state, where authentication services for new mobile connections, PAN cards, gas connections, passports, LIC policies, credit cards, bank accounts, airline check-in, would net this profit. Those enrolling on the UID database have not been informed that their data is to be yield profit for the UIDAI; they were perhaps expected to read up from the UIDAI website.

• as set out in the TAG-UP report, the data we think we are giving to the government is to end up on the database of what will be in the nature of a private company once it reaches steady state. When it is still a start-up, and till it reaches steady state at least, it will be funded by the government. After that, the government, like other commercial service providers, will become the customer of the UIDAI;

• with the UIDAI owning the database, the column in the UIDAI enrolment form for “information sharing consent” acquires a new significance. The UIDAI has all along been claiming that it will only be providing authentication by saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’, and nothing more. But, when the consent to share information is recorded on the database as having been given, the UIDAI may give all data on their database to any “service provider”, a term of wide and undefined import. That is, it is not only authentication services that the UIDAI will provide; through this consent, it is also assuming the authority to make money on thedata that it holds, both demographic and biometric. This will provide it one more avenue to find customers, and one more product to market. Mr Nilekani often refers to the UIDdatabase as “open architecture”, and avows that a wide array of applications can be built on it;

• the claim that enrolment is voluntary has rung hollow for some time now. For one thing, the UIDAI plainly has no authority to compel anyone to enrol or to use their service. However, the UIDAI has been hard at work urging governments, banks, oil companies and other institutions to adopt the UID, to re-engineer their databases to fit the UID and to seed all their systems with the UID. The push is for ubiquity. The UIDAI has been complicit in the coercion and bullying that is now part of the UID enrolment process, and its silent acquiescence while people are threatened with exclusion from services and benefits if they have not enrolled, for a UID is one dimension of complicity. It is easy to understand why this is happening, for, as critics have observed, the services, and the people, have little to gain from the UID, while the UIDAI finds compulsion an easy way to expand their database;

• the non-existence of a law that says where the liability will lie in the event of identity fraud, or failure of the system of authentication resulting in denial of services, for instance, places the burden on the individual with no responsibility on the UIDAI for the consequences of the failures of fraud;

• while ubiquity of the UID would be a recipe for tracking, profiling, tagging, converging ofdatabases and result in violations of privacy in which ways that could threaten personal security, this would become a mere incidence of the business, leaving the resident/citizen unprotected;

• the 2009 notification that set up the UIDAI says that the UIDAI is to “take necessary steps to ensure collation of the NPR (National Population Register) with the UID”. Registering in the NPR is compulsory under the Citizenship Act and the Citizenship Rules of 2003. Although biometrics is not within the mandate of the NPR, they have also been collected in the process of building up the NPR database. Therefore, the data mandated to be given to the NPR is being handed over to the UIDAI to be ‘owned’ by the UIDAI!

 

I wonder how many in government are even aware of this investing of ownership in an entity that continues to remain deliberately undefined and opaque.

 

References

  • • Notification No. A-43011/02/2009-Admn.I dated 28 January, 2009 published in Part I, section 2 of the Gazette of India
  • • UIDAI Strategy Overview: Creating a Unique Identity Number for Every Resident in India, UIDAI, Planning Commission, GoI, April 2010
  • • Standing Committee on Finance (2011-12), National Identification Authority of India Bill 2010, Forty-second Report, Lok Sabha Secretariat, December 2011
  • • Report of the Technology Advisory Group for Unique Projects, Ministry of Finance, January 31, 2011
  • • Biometrics Design Standards for UID Applications, prepared by the UIDAI Committee on Biometrics, December 2009.

 

 

 

#India- Question mark over issuing resident identity card plans #NPR #UID


ET, March 25, 2013

 

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NEW DELHI: The government is having second thoughts about the wisdom of having a national identity card for all Indian residents — an idea that was first mooted by late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1986, was promised by Congress as part of its 2009 election manifesto, and has been approved by the cabinet on different occasions in the past. At the first meeting of the group of ministers set up under Defence Minister AK Antony to review the proposed expenditure on such cards, ministers raised basic questions about the purpose of issuing resident I-cards — queries that have been already settled or resolved by previous decisions. Over 150 countries issue such national I-cards to their residents, including Germany, Oman, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

“Will the resident identity cards serve any purpose? These cards must serve a larger social purpose which should be demonstrable,” said a senior minister who is part of the GoM, when asked about the dithering over the decision to issue I-cards based on the National Population Register (NPR) being created by the census office.

The worries seem to be political as Congress does not want to spark a debate over who is a resident or who is a citizen. It may be looking to delay the process of issuing I-cards, which would have coincided with the build-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and five major state elections over the next seven months.

“The resident I-cards could unleash a fresh form of politics over Indian citizens versus residents,” admitted a minister.

Any discussion on this subject will throw up the issue of illegal migrants from Bangladesh, an important vote bank in several states like Assam and West Bengal. The Congress brass is also apprehensive that a resident identity card based on biometric (finger print and iris) data collected for the NPR would be seen as a tool that could be used to target minorities.

Nearly Rs 4,000 crore has already been spent on the NPR exercise to collect biometric details of all residents, of the Rs 6,600-odd crore approved by the cabinet for the purpose. But on January 31, the cabinet did not clear the expenditure for issuing I-cards to 82 crore adult Indian residents at a cost ofRs 5,500 crore, feigning confusion between the NPR and Aadhaar numbers being issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

Home ministry officials had made a presentation to the GoM on March 13 about these I-cards’ utility in addressing security concerns as well as delivering the government’s welfare programmes to the poor — and the executive decisions over the past several years to issue them. But ministers aren’t convinced. “The security applications of NPR cards are not clear,” said the minister quoted earlier, requesting anonymity. “If someone runs away after triggering a blast, how will having an NPR card help? Police enquiries also result in tracing such people even without identity,” he pointed out.

Another minister who is part of the GoM said security concerns flagged by the Indian Navy after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks have already been addressed by the coastal NPR exercise that was conducted on a priority basis. But the exercise covered only 1.2 crore people in 3,331 coastal villages and small towns. Major cities like Chennai and Mumbai and larger towns that dot India’s coastline are yet to be covered, said a senior government official.

In June 2012, the committee on strengthening coastal security against threat from sea had directed the census office to complete the NPR, and issue I-cards to people in all the remaining coastal areas on a priority basis. The National Security Council Secretariat has made a similar request to the home ministry to provide identity cards to people living in the Siliguri corridor in the North-East.

Officials are baffled by the government’s growing reluctance over the issue of such cards despite explicit assurances to Parliament that this would be the logical conclusion of the NPR exercise. They point to Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s approval of the I-card costs following elaborate deliberations by the Expenditure Finance Committee, which over three meetings had settled all the concerns or doubts raised about NPR cards by the Planning Commission, UIDAI and ministries.

“Normally, once the finance ministry okays an expenditure, the cabinet simply ratifies the move as all the pros and cons have been thoroughly examined by the ministry. It’s very unusual for the government to send the issue to a GoM,” a secretary-rank official remarked at a meeting in the Prime Minister’s Office last week to discuss the UPA’s Aadhaar-led ‘game changer’ — direct benefit transfer.

Planning Commission Deputy Chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia and UIDAI chief Nandan Nilekani are special invitees to the GoM that also includes Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and Chidambaram.

The home ministry has requested the Cabinet Secretariat for the GoM to be reconvened soon and is preparing a fresh note on how NPR cards will address security threats in the areas of border management, immigration, counter-insurgency and terrorism.

 

 

 

#Indian— ID crisis unveils #Aadhaar doubts #privacy #UID


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Summary: Two separate organizations are capturing biometric data of over 1 billion Indians, creating fresh doubts in the government’s justification to catalogue citizens.

 

 

 

 

By Mahesh Sharma |  March 14, 2013 —

 

 

A new US$1 billion national identity card project has undermined the Indian government‘s ambitious “Aadhaar” project to catalogue the biometric details of over 1 billion citizens.

 

 

Indians’ biometric details are being captured by two separate organizations: the National Population Register, to develop the resident identity card (RIC); and the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), to create a unique identifier (UID), commonly referred to as “Aadhaar” number.

 

 

Both projects are designed to streamline the distribution of welfare and social services to citizens–a process that is currently mired in corruption.

 

 

In an interview with ZDNet, Centre for Internet and Society‘s India executive director, Sunil Abraham, said the ID smartcard and ID number are fundamentally different, not complementary, as the government has previously said.

 

 

“Those are two very separate visions. You cannot mix them up and make some kind of salad and have a little bit of this and a little bit of that. You have to go the whole hog in one direction,” Abraham said.

 

 

He said it was easier for the government to proceed with both projects, rather than cancel Aadhaar, which has been criticized over reports there were duplicate biometric information and data abuse.

 

 

“The government is afraid it made a mistake,” Abraham said. “It could just continue to create a hodgepodge of both ideas, both visions, and continue making big mistakes and have ghosts [in the UID system] and large scale corruption.”

 

 

On March 12, India’s house of representatives, the Lok Sabha, Minister P. Karunakaran asked the Minister of State, R.P.N. Singh, to clarify the overlap between the proposed biometric identity card and UID. Singh confirmed the government would spend over US$1 billion (55.52 billion rupees) to issue a resident identity card (RIC) that featured the Aadhaar number.

 

 

“The RIC would enable both online and offline authentication of identity in a secure manner and will complement the efforts of Aadhaar,” Singh said in a written response. To avoid duplication, he explained that if citizen biometric data was already captured by the UIDAI, then the Aadhaar number would be recorded on the RIC smart card.

 

 

Independent lawyer Usha Ramanathan told ZDNet the government had overstepped its legal bounds. She said the UIDAI has demonstrated biometrics are imperfect but the government has persisited with the project.

 

 

“The UID is lawless. Now we will have an RIC which will be lawless,” Ramanathan said. “All we are offered is the UIDAI ‘confidence’ that the project will work.”

 

 

“Privacy and personal security continue to be unprotected. And there seems to be an inexhaustible amount of money to experiment on the whole population,” she noted.

 

 

 

People should resist enforcement of UID scheme, say experts #Aadhaar


By Newzfirst Correspondent3/2/13

Bangalore – Internationally recognized expert on law and poverty Dr. Usha Ramanathan Saturday urged citizens of the country to question the enforcement of the UID scheme that has no legitimacy.

Addressing the gathering of people from various sections of the society at a workshop- The Unique Identity Number (UID), National Population Register (NPR), and Governance – organized by the ‘Centre for Internet and Society’ and the ‘Say No to UID Campaign’ Ramanathan said that the enforcement of UID scheme is unconstitutional and a mere a experiment on the population.

The scheme is full of ambiguity, confusions and suspicions; while UIDAI says it as voluntary, other government agencies and enterprises have made them mandatory. Neither the government nor the UIDAI officials have the satisfactory answers for the concerns of citizens, she said.

Saying that the ‘Data’ is one of the important properties today, she elaborated that how the individual’s privacy and confidential data was breached after sharing with many companies and agencies, despite the assurances from the authorities.

Emphasizing the resistance against enforcement of UID scheme, another speaker Col. Mathew Thomas of Citizen Action Forum Bangalore, said “If we don’t resist this scheme now, we are putting pushing poor people of the country into more vulnerable situation. We need to fight it by protests and legal means.”

The workshop also discussed the National Population register (NPR), its impact on citizenship and the governance, and how they are linked with national security.

 

#Tamilnadu mode of benefit transfer without #aadhaar number proves effective- #UID


State mode of benefit transfer proves effective
T. RAMAKRISHNAN, The Hindu
Major difference is that it is not linked to Aadhaar numbers
A beneficiary operating a biometric smart card machine at Samuthiram in Tiruchi on Friday.Collector Jayashree Muralidharan and, Chief Regional Manager, IOB, R. Krishnamurthy (second from right), are in the picture.— PHOTO:R.M. RAJARATHINAM
Even as the Union government gears itself to launch the scheme of direct benefits transfer (DBT) in 51 districts across the country on New Year’s Day, Tamil Nadu, by ensuring the transfer of social security to about 5.63 lakh rural beneficiaries every month in 31 districts, it has shown that its variant of DBT is workable.
The only major difference between the Central scheme and the State government’s is that the transfer is not linked to the beneficiaries having Aadhaar numbers. Otherwise, both appear to be identical.
The beneficiaries of the social security schemes have to open basic savings bank accounts. Every month, business correspondents, appointed by the banks, go to the places of beneficiaries, carrying hand-held point of service (POS) equipment with printers and biometric authentication devices. On confirmation of biometric authentication of the beneficiaries, the pension is disbursed.
Under eight social security schemes including three Central schemes, 29.87 lakh beneficiaries in Tamil Nadu receive monthly pension of Rs. 1,000. Traditionally, they have been receiving the pension through postal money order.
The initial phase focuses on 6.53 lakh beneficiaries in 4,479 villages of 31 districts with the stipulation of covering villages having population of over 2,000.
As on November 30, the coverage was 5.63 lakh beneficiaries in about 4,100 villages. An official of the Revenue department, the implementing agency, says the remaining beneficiaries will be covered shortly.
In the second phase, villages having population in the range of 1,000 to 2,000 will be covered, and the third and final phase pertains to all other villages and urban areas. The present plan of the State government is complete the two phases in six months.
Reports from various districts indicate that the beneficiaries prefer the new mode of payment to the old system.
A senior government official says that the integration of Aadhar/UIDAI data with that of beneficiaries will be carried out after the National Population Register (NPR) programme is completed in the State which is expected by June 30, 2013.
On assumption of office in May 2011, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government took two decisions concerning the social security schemes. It not only increased the amount of pension from Rs. 500 to Rs. 1,000 but also decided to disburse it through banks in a phased manner.
In respect of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme too, the State government has decided to make payment through banks in five districts – Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, Erode, Tirupur and Kanyakumari, from January, according to an official release issued by the State Level Bankers’ Committee. In these districts, bank accounts for 6.1 lakh beneficiaries have been opened.

 

Confusion over #Aadhaar and #NPR #UID #Biometrics


  , ET
Thursday October 25, 2012, 03:46 PM

We just went and got our biometry done for NPR (National Population Register).  Census enumerators had visited us earlier and before the appointed NPR dates, we got an enrolment form we were supposed to fill up.  NPR biometry was being done at a neighbourhood government school and we were expected to turn up with assorted ID-s and our Aadhaar cards.  When we presented our Aadhaar cards, no other ID was needed.  Biometry wasn’t necessary either, since that was picked up from Aadhaar cards.  In other words, the Aadhaar database was sufficient to establish identity and biometry.  There will subsequently be a NPR card too.

 

When I read assorted stuff about subsidies and benefits being Aadhaar-based, I am confused.  First, there is an issue of BPL identification and there are problems of both inclusion and exclusion with it.  In other words, people who should be excluded are included.  And people who should be included are excluded.  Identifying BPL and deciding who should be beneficiaries of subsidies is a political decision, not just economic.  Of course, cash transfers are more efficient.  However, in many subsidy schemes, what is described as leakage is sometimes subsidies to poor who haven’t been included in BPL enumeration.  If all poor actually get subsidies, from a budgetary point of view, the subsidy bill may actually increase.

 

Let’s leave that aside.  Second, what exactly is Aadhaar and what does it mean to say stuff will be Aadhaar-based?  I can appreciate utility of the Aadhaar database and it does eliminate multiplicity and “bogus” individuals.  Hence, procedural costs of assorted government documentation declines. However, Aadhaar hasn’t just been the database, it’s also the card.  What use is the card, apart from the fact that once you have the card, the biometry can be scanned from it?  And what will be the point of the Aadhaar card, once there is a NPR card?  After all, NPR is for Indians, while Aadhaar is for residents of India.  That’s what I presume.  Any entitlements, so to speak, will be based on NPR cards.

 

Aadhaar only got a head-start and provided the database.  In practice, so far as I personally am concerned, no one has accepted Aadhaar cards as identity.  Perhaps that will change, beginning with bank accounts.  However, I repeat, that’s really the database, not physical cards.  I can understand expenditure on databases.  But was expenditure on physical cards really necessary?  With NPR, won’t this be rendered superfluous?

 

Apart from purely symbolic value, what’s the point of a big song and dance, including photographs, of dignitaries distributing Aadhaar cards to poor people?  Our experience with the NPR “camp” was also different from our experience with the earlier Aadhaar “camp” in our locality, though admittedly, this is a small sample.

 

Broadly, there were two groups of people who turned up for the Aadhaar “camp”, probably reflective of the neighbourhood.  There was a category of relatively richer and more educated people and there was a category of relatively poor people, mostly those who render some variety of domestic service and live in “unauthorized” locations nearby.  At the NPR “camp”, the second category was completely absent.  Perhaps they weren’t enumerated in the Census and perhaps they didn’t obtain enrollment forms.  Though possible, this seems unlikely.  More likely, because of advertisements, hype, publicity and resultant awareness, they saw some benefit from Aadhaar, but not from NPR.  If my understanding is correct, it should actually be the other way round.  As a government, the conclusion is inescapable.  Because of tussles across ministries/departments and confusion over what was intended, we have made a hash out of it and squandered some amount of money in the process.

 

We needed the Aadhaar database and we needed the NPR card.  It seems to me there was greater clarity before 2004 about who we needed to map.  Subsidies will be for Indians.  Why did we bother about foreigners who were resident in India?  Unless we assumed that these “foreigners” would eventually become Indians?

 

Budgetary allocation for Aadhar project is in contempt of Parliament


Civil society groups welcome the submission of a memorandum opposing Aadhaar and other anti-people policies to the prime minister along with a big truckload of signatures numbering 3.57 crore on March 14, says Gopal Krishna 

The Union Budget’s allocation of Rs 1758 crore, after it having spent Rs 14,232 crore, for Aadhar-UID demonstrates a contempt of Parliament as it seems to ignore the recommendations of the report of parliamentary standing committee on finance on the National Identification Authority of India  Bill 2010. This was presented to Parliament on December 13, 2011, and questioned the legality of collection of biometric data for Aadhaar and National Population Register without legislative mandate.

While presenting the Union Budget 2009-10, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee  had announced the setting up of the Unique Identification Authority of India by the government to “establish an online data base with identity and biometric details of Indian residence and provide enrolment and verification services across the country”. He had allocated Rs 120 crore for this project as “a major step in improving governance with regard to delivery of public services”.

The minister did not inform Parliament that the UIDAI “was created during 2009-10 and a modest start with an expenditure of Rs 30.92 crore was made.” Parliament has been kept in dark about how Unique Identification/Aadhaar numbers to every resident in India started unfolding without sharing “the linkages of various welfare schemes steered by different ministries/departments of the Government of India“. Not only that, the “reports of the Demographic Data Standards and Field Verification Committee and Biometrics Committee were completed” without any legislative approval. 

The government has ensured that the legislative wing remains unaware about how UIDAI selected the “managed service provider” for the Central Identity Data Repository of Aadhaar numbers. For this a budget of Rs 1900 crores was allocated in the Union Budget 2010-11 by the finance minister. It is admitted that the “CIDR will be handed over to the managed service provider on a long-term contract basis”. The UIDA was given Rs 3,000 crore for fiscal 2011-12. Its details are missing from the public domain. The shifting national identities of MSP and their relationship with external and internal intelligence agencies merit a parliamentary probe.

The explosive and revealing report of parliamentary standing committee on finance specifically raises questions about the legality of the collection of biometrics while creating a citizen / resident database. The report reads (in the section on ‘Observations/ Recommendations): ‘The collection of biometric information and its linkage with personal information 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.’ This reveals that the allocation in the Union Budget was illegitimate and beyond its legislative mandate. 

Unmindful of such a categorical observation of the PSC on finance, the National Population Register project — a comprehensive identity database to be maintained by the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, Union ministry of home affairs — is being continued. It is claimed that the objective of creating this identity database is to help in better utilisation and implementation of the benefits and services under government schemes, improve planning and improve security.

The Union Budget speech 2012-13 under the heading ‘Growth, Fiscal Consolidation and Subsidies’ reads: ’23. The recommendations of the taskforce headed by Shri Nandan Nilekani on IT strategy for direct transfer of subsidy have been accepted…This step will benefit 12 crore farmer families, while reducing expenditure on subsidies by curtailing misuse of fertilisers.” Such claims of benefits from direct transfer of subsidy has been debunked in the past, but the government remains adamant to pursue this path under the influence of vested interests.

The Economic Survey 2011-12 reveals: ‘The Aadhaar project is set to become the largest biometric capture and identification project in the world.’ It does not acknowledge that such projects have been abandoned in several countries, a fact which has been recorded in the report of PSC on finance.   

It is admitted by the UIDAI that there are “ownership risks (Ownership of the project by stakeholders), technology risks (nowhere in the world has a project of this size been implemented) and privacy concerns (there may be groups raising privacy issues — many ID projects in Western countries have been stalled due to the opposition of privacy groups).” The UIDAI claims that it is “putting into place risk mitigation strategies to minimise some of these risks” but this has never been shared with the Parliament and the citizens. 

While all this has happened, the PSC report on finance has concluded that Aadhaar platform has been “conceptualised with no clarity of purpose” and is “directionless” in its implementation, leading to “a lot of confusion”. Under the existing legal framework, biometric data is collected only under the Identification of Prisoner Act, that too for a temporary period. In the case of Aadhaar and NPR, biometric data is being collected for permanent safekeeping without any constitutional or legal approval. Aadhaar-related NPR project is being spearheaded by the ministry of home affairs is aimed at the creation of this comprehensive identity database. 

The NPR project consists of two components: demographic data digitisation of all the usual residents and biometric enrolment of all such residents who are aged five and above. The demographic data — refers to the personal information collected during Census 2011 by the census enumerators based on the data fields prescribed by the Registrar General of India for the NPR schedules and by following the process laid down for the purpose and biometric data — refers to the facial image, iris scan of both eyes and ten fingerprints of enrollees collected by the enrolment agency.

The fact is that these actions of the Union home ministry are “beyond the scope of subordinate legislation” but instead, it has issued only guidelines for collection of biometric data under the Citizenship Act 1955 and Citizenship Rules. It states that it is compulsory for every citizen of the country to register in the NRIC. The creation of the NPR is the first step towards preparation of the NRIC. It contends that out of the universal dataset of residents, the subset of citizens would be derived after due verification of the citizenship status. In the absence of any legislative mandate for such far-reaching efforts, it cites to a recommendation of group of ministers on the National Security System for Multipurpose National Identity Card in 2001 for all citizens. This is hardly convincing.

Civil society groups welcome the submission of a memorandum opposing Aadhaar and other anti-people policies to the prime minister along with a big truckload of signatures numbering 3.57 crore on March 14. Against such a backdrop, these signatures seeking the scrapping of Aadhaar underline the illegality and illegitimacy of the entire surveillance project.

Immediate Press Release ( Hindi also ) – 3.57 crore signatures submitted to PM seeking scrapping of Aadhaar


 

 

English: Manmohan Singh, current prime ministe...

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Press Release

Budgetary Allocation for Aadhaar/NPR-UIDAI in Contempt of Parliament

Both Aadhaar and NPR are security projects

3.57 crore signatures submitted to PM seeking scrapping of Aadhaar

March 16, 2012

  • The Govt ignores the PSC of Finance 42nd report of Dec 2011 and demonstrates contempt for parliament.
  • Increased fund allocation in Union budget 2013-14 to Aadhaar / UID by Rs 14,232 crs and other recommendations has made a mockery of the PSC of Finance report which is the considered view of parliament.
  • The claims success by various pilots on themes of subsidy transfer and financial inclusion of Adhaar project are extremely suspicious and dubious.
  • Minority Government’s biometric data collection without statutory backing by NPR and Aadhaar violates citizens’ rights is uncalled for.
  • Submission of 3.57 crores signatures of people all over the country against the UID/ Aadhaar project and which also shows the widespread opposition to the biometric profiling not only by pro-privacy activists but also by the Aam-aadmi- common women and men
  • Benefits from direct transfer of subsidy recommended by Nandan Nilekani task force suspect
  • Parliamentary probe required for UIDAI/RGI’s relationship with external and internal intelligence agencies

New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore: Union Budget allocation of Rs. 14,232 crore for Aadhar-UID demonstrates a contempt of Parliament as it seems to ignore the recommendations of the report of Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on Finance on the National Identification Authority of India (NIDAI) Bill 2010. This was presented to Parliament on December 13, 2011 and questioned the legality of collection of biometric data for Aadhaar and National Population Register (NPR) without legislative mandate. The Budget Speech, PSC Report, 2009 PIB Release on collection of biometric data by UIDAI is attached.

It may be recalled that while presenting the Union Budget 2009-10, Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee had announced the setting up of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) by the Government to “establish an online data base with identity and biometric details of Indian residence and provide enrolment and verification services across the country.” He had allocated Rs. 120 crore for this project as “a major step in improving governance with regard to delivery of public services.”

The Minister did not inform the Parliament that UIDAI “was created during 2009-10 and a modest start with an expenditure of Rs 30.92 crore was made.” Parliament has been kept in dark about how Unique Identification (UID) /Aadhaar Numbers to every resident in India started unfolding without sharing “the linkages of various welfare schemes steered by different Ministries/departments of Government of India”. Not only that the “reports of the Demographic Data Standards and Field Verification Committee and Biometrics Committee were completed” without any legislative approval.

Government has ensured that the legislative wing remains unaware about how UIDAI selected the “Managed Service Provider” for the Central Identity Data Repository (CIDR) of Aadhaar Numbers. For this a budget of Rs 1900 crores was allocated in the Union Budget 2010-11 by the Finance Minister. It is admitted that “CIDR will be handed over to the Managed Service Provider (MSP) on a long term contract basis.” The UIDA was given Rs 3,000 crore for fiscal 2011-2012. Its details are missing from the public domain. The shifting national identities of MSP and their relationship with external and internal intelligence agencies merit a parliamentary probe.

The explosive and revealing report of Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on Finance specifically raises questions about the legality of the collection of biometrics while creating a citizen / resident data base. The Report reads (in the section on ‘Observations/ Recommendations): “The collection of biometric information and its linkage with personal information 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.” This reveals that the allocation in the Union Budget was illegitimate and beyond its legislative mandate.

Unmindful of such a categorical observation of the PSC on Finance, the National Population Register (NPR) project, a comprehensive identity database to be maintained by the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, Union Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India is being continued. It is claimed that the objective of creating this identity database is to help in better utilisation and implementation of the benefits and services under govt schemes, improve planning and improve security.

Union Budget speech 2012-13 under the heading Growth, Fiscal Consolidation and Subsidies reads: “23. The recommendations of the task force headed by Shri Nandan Nilekani on IT strategy for direct transfer of subsidy have been accepted…This step will benefit 12 crore farmer families, while reducing expenditure on subsidies by curtailing misuse of fertilisers.” Such claims of benefits from direct transfer of subsidy has been debunked in the past but government remains adamant to pursue this path under the influence of vested interests.

Economic Survey 2011-12 reveals, “The Aadhaar project is set to become the largest biometric capture and identification project in the world.” It does not acknowledge that such projects have been abandoned in several countries, a fact which has been recorded in the report of PSC on Finance.

It is admitted by UIDAI that there are “ownership risks (Ownership of the project by stakeholders), Technology risks (nowhere in the world a project of this size has been implemented) and privacy concerns (there may be groups raising privacy issues – many ID Projects in western countries have been stalled due to the opposition of privacy groups).” The UIDAI claims that it is “putting into place the risk mitigation strategies to minimize some of these risks” but this has never been shared with the Parliament and the citizens.

While all this has happened, the PSC report on Finance has concluded that Aadhaar platform has been “conceptualised with no clarity of purpose” and is “directionless” in its implementation, leading to “a lot of confusion”. Under the exiting legal framework biometric data is collected only under Identification of Prisoner Act that too for a temporary period. In the case of Aadhaar and NPR biometric data is being collected for permanent safe keeping without any constitutional or legal approval. Aadhaar related NPR project is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Home Affairs is aimed at creation of this comprehensive identity database.

The NPR project consists of two components: demographic data digitization of all the usual residents and biometric enrollment of all such residents who are aged five and above. The demographic data – refers to the personal information collected during Census 2011 by the Census Enumerators based on the data fields prescribed by the Registrar General of India (RGI) for the NPR Schedules and by following the process laid down for the purpose and biometric data – refers to the facial image, iris scan of both eyes and ten fingerprints of enrollees collected by the Enrolment Agency.

The fact is that these actions of the Union Home Ministry are “beyond the scope of subordinate legislation” but instead it has issued only guidelines for collection of biometric data under the Citizenship Act 1955 and Citizenship Rules. It states that it is compulsory for every citizen of the country to register in the NRIC. The creation of the NPR is the first step towards preparation of the NRIC. It contends that out of the universal dataset of residents, the subset of citizens would be derived after due verification of the citizenship status. In the absence of any legislative mandate for such far reaching efforts, it cites to a recommendation of Group of Ministers (GoM) on the National Security system for Multipurpose National Identity Card (MPNIC) in 2001 for all citizens. Coming from a minority government, this is hardly convincing.

Civil society groups welcome the submission of a memorandum opposing Aadhaar and other anti-people policies to the Prime Minister along with a big truck load of signatures numbering 3.57 crore on March 14. In such a backdrop, these signatures seeking scrapping of Aadhaar and anti-citizen in the aftermath of PSC report and UP elections underline the illegality and illegitimacy of the entire surveillance project.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL), New Delhi, Mb: 09818089660, E-mail-krishna1715@gmail.com , Kamayani Bali Mahabal,  Mumbai , email-  kamayani@ymail.com , 9820749204
Vinay Baindur, Bangalore, Email:yanivbin@gmail.com, Anivar Aravind, E-mail-anivar.aravind@gmail.com, Mb: 09448063780

प्रेस विज्ञप्ति

आधार/एनपीआर के लिए बजटीय आवंटन संसद की अवमानना है
आधार और एनपीआर दोनों ही सुरक्षा संबंधी परियोजनाएं हैं
आधार को खत्म करने के लिए प्रधानमंत्री के पास जमा कराए गए 3.57 करोड़ लोगों के दस्तखत

16 मार्च, 2012
ऽ सरकार ने वित्त पर संसद की स्थायी समिति की 42वीं रिपोर्ट की उपेक्षा कर के संसद की अवमानना की है
ऽ आधार/यूआईडी के लिए केंद्रीय बजट 2012-13 में 14,232 करोड़ की आवंटन वृद्धि और अन्य सिफारिशें वित्त पर संसद की स्थायी समिति की रिपोर्ट का मखौल उड़ाती हैं जिसे संसदीय मंजूरी प्राप्त है।
ऽ सब्सिडी हस्तांतरण और आधार परियोजना के वित्तीय समवेश पर पाइलट परियोजनाओं की कामयाबी के दावे बेहद संदिग्ध हैं।
ऽ अल्पमत की सरकार द्वारा एनपीआर और आधार के वैधानिक समर्थन के बगैर बायोमीट्रिक आंकड़ा संग्रहण नागरिक अधिकारों का उल्लंघन है।
ऽ देश भर से आधार और यूआईडी परियोजना के खिलाफ 3.57 लोगों के दस्तखत प्रधानमंत्री को भेजा जाना दिखाता है कि बायोमीट्रिक प्रोफाइलिंग का विरोध न सिर्फ पाइरेसी समर्थक एक्टिविस्ट बल्कि आदमी भी कर रहा है।
ऽ नंदन नीलकेणी कार्य बल द्वारा सहब्सिडी के प्रत्यक्ष हस्तांतरण के लाभ के दावे संदिग्ध हैं।
ऽ यूआईडीएआई/आरजीआई के बाहरी व आंतरिक गुप्तचर एजेंसियों के साथ रिश्तों की संसदीय पड़ताल करवाई जानी चािहए।

नई दिल्ली, मुंबई, बंगलुरुः आधार-यूआईडी के लिए 14,232 करोड़ रुपए का बजटीय आवंटन संसद की अवमानना है क्योंकि यह एनआईडीएआई विधेयक 2010 पर संसद की वित्त पर स्थायी समिति द्वारा की गई सिफारिशों की अनदेखी करता है। यह संसद में 13 दिसंबर, 2011 को जमा कराई गई थी और इसने आधार व ण्नपीआर के लिए बायोमीट्रिक आंकड़ों के संग्रहण की वैधता पर सवाल उठाया था जिसे कोई संसदीय मंजूरी प्राप्त नहीं है। बजटीय अभिभाषण, पीएससी की रिपोर्ट 2009 और यूआईडीएआई पर बायोमीट्रिक रिपोर्ट के संग्रहण पर पीआईबी की रिलीज़ अनुलग्नित है।

यह याद दिलाया जाना जरूरी है कि केंद्रीय बजट 2009-10 पेश करते वक्त वित्त मंत्री प्रणब मुखर्जी ने सरकार द्वारा यूआईडीएआई की स्थापना की घोषणा की थी ताकि ‘‘भारतीय नागरिकों की पहचान और बायोमीट्रिक आंकड़ों का एक आॅनलाइन डेटाबेस बनाया जाएगा तथा देश भर में पंजीकरण व पहचान सेवाएं मुहैया कराई जाएंगी।’’ उन्होंने इस परियोजना के लिए 120 करोड़ मुहैया कराए थे और इसे ‘‘जन सेवाओं के वितरण के संदर्भ में प्रशासनिक सुधार की दिशा में एक महत्वपूर्ण कदम करार दिया था।’

मंत्री ने संसद को यह नहीं बताया कि यूआईडीएआई 2009-10 में केवल 30.92 करोड़ से शुरू किया गया था। संसद को इस मामले में अंधेरे में रखा गया कि कैसे विभिन्न कल्याणकारी योजनाओं को आपस मंे जोड़े बगैर भारत के हर नागरिक को आधार/यूआईडी संख्या बांटनी शुरू कर दी गई। इतना ही नहीं, बगैर किसी विधायी मंजूरी के जनांकिकीय आंकड़ों और फील्ड वेरिफिकेशन तथा बायोमीट्रिक से जुड़ी समितियों की स्थापना कर दी गई।

सरकार ने यह सुनिश्चित कर दिया है कि यूआईडीएआई द्वारा आधार संख्या के लिए चुने गए सेवा प्रदाता की जानकारी विधायिका को न लगने पाए। इसके लिए 2010-11 के बजट में वित्त मंत्री ने 1900 करोड़ रुपए का आवंटन किया था। यह माना जा रहा है कि ‘‘सीआईडीआर को मैनेज्ड सर्विस प्रोवाइडर को लंबे अनुबंध के तौर पर दे दिया जाएगा। वित्त वर्ष 2011-12 के लिए यूआईडीएआई को 3000 करोड दिए गए हैं। सार्वजनिक तौर पर इसका विवरण अनुपलब्ध है। एमएसपी की राष्ट्रीय पहचान में हो रहे बदलाव ओर बाहरी व आंतरिक गुप्तचर एजेंसियों के साथ उसके संबंधों की संसदीय जांच करवाई जानी चाहिए।

वित्त पर संसद की स्थायी समिति की विस्फोटक रिपोर्ट नागरिकों का डेटाबेस बनाने के क्रम में बायोमीट्रिक आंकड़ों के संग्रहण की वैधता पर सवाल उठाती है। रिपोर्ट कहती है (सिफारिशों वाले खंड में), ‘‘बायोमीट्रिक सूचना का संग्रहण और निजी जानकारी के साथ उसके संबंधों पर नागरिकता कानून 1955 तथा नागरिकता नियम 2003 में संशोधन के बगैर कोई अन्य विधेयक बनाकर सही ठहराने की गुंजाइश नहीं बनती, और इसकी संसद को विस्तार से पड़ताल करनी होगी।’’ इससे यह पता चलता है कि केंद्रीय बजट में आधार के लिए आवंटन अवैध था और उसकी विधायी बाध्यता की अवमानना है।

वित्त पर संसदीय समिति की इस टिप्पणी के बावजूद राष्ट्रीय जनसंख्या रजिस्टर को जारी रखा गया है जिसे गृह मंत्रालय के अंतर्गत चलाया जा रहा है। यह दावा किया जा रहा है कि इस डेटाबेस को बनाने का उद्देश्य सरकारी योजनाओं के तहत सेवाओं और लाभों का बेहतर क्रियान्वयन है तथा सुरक्षा और नियोजन को सुधारना है।

केंद्रीय बजट 2012-13 में कहा गया है, ‘‘श्री नंदन निलेकणी के नेतृत्व में सब्सिडी के प्रत्यक्ष हस्तांतरण पर आईटी रणनीति पर कार्य बल की सिफारिशों को स्वीकार कर लिया गया है… यह कदम 12 करोड़ किसान परिवारों को लाभ देगा, जबकि उर्वरकों के दुरुपयोग को रोक कर सब्सिडी पर होने वाले खर्च को कम करेगा।’’ अतीत में सब्सिडी के प्रत्यक्ष हस्तांतरण से होने वाले ऐसे फायदे बेकार साबित हो चुके हैं लेकिन सरकार अब भी निजी हितों के दबाव में इस रास्ते पर चलने को आमादा है।

आर्थिक सर्वेक्षण 2011-12 कहता है, ‘‘आधार परियोजना दुनिया की सबसे बड़ी बायोमीट्रिक संग्रहण और पहचान परियोजना बनेगी।’’ इसमें इस बात को स्वीकार नहीं किया गया है कि अतीत में कई देशों ने ऐसी परियोजनाओं को त्याग दिया है, और यह तथ्य वित्त पर पीएससी की रिपोर्ट में भी शामिल है।

यूआईडीएआई स्वीकार करता है कि इसमें ‘‘स्वामित्व, प्रौद्योगिकी और निजता से जुड़े खतरे शामिल हैं।’’ इसका दावा है कि इन जोखिमों को कम करने के लिए यह कुछ रणनीतियों को अपना रहा है, लेकिन इसे संसद और देश के नागरिकों के साथ अब तक साझा नहीं किया गया है।

इस सबके बीच वित्त पर संसदीय समिति कहती है कि आधार परियोजना में ‘‘उद्देश्य की स्पष्टता’’ का अभाव है और अपने क्रियान्वयन में यह ‘‘दिशाहीन’’ है, जिससे ‘‘काफी भ्रम’’ फैल रहा ह। मौजूदा कानूनी ढांचे के अंतर्गत बायोमीट्रिक आंकड़ों का संग्रहण आइडेंटिटी आॅफ प्रिजनर एक्ट के तहत अस्थायी अवधि के लिए किया जा रहा है। आधार और एनपीआर के मामले में बायोमीट्रिक आंकड़ा बगैर केसी संवैधानिक या कानूनी मंजूरी के स्थायी तौर पर इकट्ठा किया जा रहा है। इस काम का नेतृत्व गृह मंत्रालय के हाथों में है।

एनपीआर परियोजना के दो घटक हैंः सभी सामान्य नागरिकों के जनांकिकीय आंकड़ों का डिजिटलीकरण और उन सभी नागरिकों का बायोमीट्रिक पंजीकरण जो पांच साल या उससे ज्यादा के हैं। जनांकिकीय आंकड़े में निजी जानकारी शामिल है जिसे 2011 की जनगणना में एकत्रित किया गया है जबकि बायोमीट्रिक सूचना के तहत चेहरे की तस्वीर, दोनों आंखों की आयरिस का स्कैन और पंजीकृत नागरिकों की दस उंगलियों के निशान लिया जाना शामिल है।

तथ्य यह है कि गृह मंत्रालय की यह सारी कवायद ‘‘किसी भी विधेयक के दायरे के बाहर की चीज है’’ लेकिन इसके बजाय इसने इसने नागरिकता कानून 1955 और नागरिकता नियमों के तहत सिर्फ बायोमीट्रिक आंकड़ों के संग्रहण के दिशानिर्देश दिए हैं। यह देश के सभी नागरिकों के लिए अनिवार्य बताया गया है। एनपीआर का निर्माण एनआरआईसी के निर्माण की दिशा में पहला कदम है। इसमें कहा गया है कि निवासियों का डेटाबेस तैयार होने के बाद नागरिकता स्थिति की पड़ताल के बाद ही नागरिकों को उसमें से छांट कर अलग किया जाएगा। ऐसे दूरगामी प्रयासों के पीछे कोई विधायी आधार न होने की स्थिति में यह काम करने के लिए बहुउद्देश्यीय पहचान पत्र पर राष्ट्रीय सुरक्षा तंत्र (एमपीएनआईसी) पर एक मंत्रिसमूह की सिफारिशों का हवाला दिया गया है। यह सारी कवायद स्वीकार करने योग्य नहीं है, खासकर तब जब देश की केंद्र सरकार अल्पमत की सरकार है।

सिविल सोसायटी समूह ऐसे में आधार और अन्य जनविरोधी नीतियों के खिलाफ प्रधानमंत्री को 14 मार्च को दिए गए ज्ञापन का स्वागत करते हैं जिसमें 3.57 करोड़ लोगों के हस्ताक्षर भी शािमल हैं। इस पृष्ठभूमि में वित्त पर संसदीय समिति की सिफारिशों के मद्देनजर आधार और अन्य जनविरोधी नीतियों को समाप्त करने की मांग करते ये दस्तखत और यूपी चुनाव दिखाते हैं कि अपने ही नागरिकों के खिलाफ जासूसी की यह परियोजना कितनी गैरकानूनी और अवैध है।

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