Water -Not Worth The Parchment? Many A Slip To The Sip


NARENDRA BISHT
GOVERNANCE: WATER SUPPLY
Not Worth The Parchment?
All the contracts are generous, but privatised water hasn’t really got our cities overflowing with joy
LOLA NAYAR , Oulook Magazine

Many A Slip To The Sip

  • 30 Number of Indian cities where private sector and MNCs have been roped in by civic bodies to manage the water supply.
  • 0 No project has so far delivered on lofty commitments; most continue to face major opposition from the consuming public and civil society.
  • 100 Average percentage rise in water tariff in cities and urban areas with privatisation projects. More to follow?
  • 0 Obligation on water conservation or sewage treatment by PPPs, even as public funds and manpower is being provided to them.
  • 35 Duration, in years, of management contracts being signed by civic bodies, up from pilot management projects for a few years.

***

Across the road, on the other side of the gleaming new malls of south Delhi, is the older but not quite glamorous settlement of Hauz Rani. It’s summer, holiday time. But every evening, when they ought to be playing, dozens of young children, jerrycans in hand, troop to the nearby colonies and to a public tap near the malls to lug water back home—for drinking, cooking, was­hing and cleaning. The life-sustaining liquid, always in short supply, is evide­ntly scarcer this summer. Not atypical, you’d say, that’s how things are in India.

Now, into this scenario, enters a troika of private companies, promising salvation. Suez, SPML Infra and Degremont, in a consortium, have got a 12-year contract from the Delhi Jal Board to supply 24×7 water over a 14 sq km expanse that includes Hauz Rani. So is salvation really round the corner? Similar projects  from across the country have ominous stories to tell. In Mysore, Nagpur and Khandwa, private efforts to ramp up public water supply are croaking under the weight of expectations. Costs are up, supply erra­tic and discretionary—they have not been above parching the less posh parts so as to cater to the tony neighbourhoods. And in the worst-case scenario, alternative sources of water, like tubewells or public taps, get blocked for good measure. As India prepares to go down the privatised water route, it’s a good juncture to ask, after bijli and sadak, is paani too slipping out of reach of the aam aadmi?


Photograph by Nilotpal Baruah

Mysore, Karnataka

  • Model: PPP contract for remodelling of water supply distribution system of Mysore city
  • Firm & cost: JUSCO; Rs 234.5 crore
  • Earlier tariff: Rs 125 up to 25 KL @ Rs 5/KL, Rs 8/KL from 25–50 KL and so on
  • Proposed tariff: Slab starting from Rs 5/KL for domestic connections
  • Status: Local protest against JUSCO and municipal officials on poor project planning and implementation; Rs 7 crore penalty imposed on JUSCO for various lapses in the project; committee constituted to resolve issues.

The average middle-class consumption of water is 20-30 KL per month; City profiles by Outlook /Manthan

Three more Delhi areas (Vasant Kunj, Mehrauli, Nangloi) have been given over to the public-private partnership (PPP) model that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tirelessly asserts is the answer to the nation’s ills. All told, the capital is among 30-odd cities where civic bodies have called in private entities, including mncs, to “manage” the water supply. The number is set to go higher as more cities approach the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Mission (JNNURM) which—ironically, considering the man after whom it is named—makes private participation a precondition for financial support.

Civic bodies have been pushed, despite strong protests, into experimenting with the PPP model. The government’s justification has been that the private sector will bring in investments, technology and management efficiency, none of which a cash-strapped public sector can offer. Yet a study of 13 private water and sanitation projects by the Planning Commission has praise for none. In four cases—Latur, Mysore, Dewas and Khandwa—the project viability has itself been questioned.


Photograph by Sanjay Rawat

Delhi, NCR

  • Model: Build, operate and maintain for 12-15 years in three pilot projects
  • Current tariff: Rs 600/month average
  • Proposed tariff: DJB to decide
  • Firms and cost: Suez, SPML Infra and Degremont (Malviya Nagar); SPML Infra, Tahal Consulting and Hagihon Jerusalem Water (Mehrauli and Vasant Kunj); Suez and SPML combine (Nangloi); Rs 253.30 crore
  • Status: Survey work has started in proposed areas for improving infrastructure. Activists are questioning the logic of DJB outsourcing O&M while providing all raw material.

The average middle-class consumption of water is 20-30 KL per month; City profiles by Outlook/Manthan

When the state cedes control of as vital a public asset as water, it allows business to hold the poor to ransom and fleece them.

But the march towards privatisation  continues. Current models of pub­lic-pri­vate water partnerships are div­erse, from refurbishing the infrastructure to service contracts for billing, collection and met­ering. At present, most projects are foc­u­sing on distribution improvement. Even so, only a few places have seen experiments with citywide distribution, with hardly encouraging results at that. Many more projects are coming up: Naya Rai­pur in Chhattisgarh has decided to give its water distribution contract to Jindal Co on the PPP model. Kolhapur, Maharashtra, has the distinction of being the first to go in for PPP for sewage treatment.

“Six years ago, activists and residents’ welfare associations in Delhi, Bombay and Bangalore were able to stall a World Bank-led move to have the private sector take over water supply projects by making it a condition for granting loans,” says S.A. Naqvi of the Citizens’ Front for Water Democracy. “Ironically, the Centre is now taking exactly the same route through JNNURM.” It’s nob­ody’s case that India’s moribund water supply system is not in dire need of help, as the Hauz Rani scenario illustrates. It’s also not that its residents would be cussedly averse to paying; anyone who has sampled Delhi’s ‘machine ka thanda paani’ knows service doe­sn’t come free. But as water PPPs begin to come apart, the que­stion is not whether citizens should pay for unlimited use of a finite commodity like water, but to whom and how much? When Hauz Rani’s saviours, the neighbouring colonies, receive water for a mere two and a half hours a day, the answer isn’t so easy. The Delhi PPP experience is not unique:

  • In Mysore, JUSCO, a Tata enterprise, has faced severe time overruns, paid penalties and faced pubic outrage
  • In Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh, all indications are of the project being unsustainable in the long run
  • In Latur, Maharashtra, SPML has been forced to hand back the water supply management to a government entity after local opposition.

“The results of PPP projects in urban water supply in India—even globally—aren’t encouraging. They don’t seem to be the solution that they were thought to be,” says Gaurav Dwivedi of Manthan Adhyayan Kendra, a study group. “These are expensive projects and municipal bodies are at risk of losing control of water supply to private companies due to long contract periods from which there is no getting out.”


Photograph by Vivek Pateria

Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh

  • Model: PPP Build Own Transfer (BOT) concession contract for 25 years
  • Firm and cost: Vishwa Infrastructure; Rs 115.32 crore
  • Earlier tariff: Rs 150 per month/connection
  • Proposed tariff: Rs 11.95/KL
  • Status: Construction phase ongoing, delayed by around two years. Investigations by JNNURM expert committee on irregularities. Local committee formed to look into people’s objections to privatisation including removal of non-revenue water, loss of municipal control, tariff hikes, etc.

The average middle-class consumption of water is 20-30 KL per month; City profiles by Outlook/Manthan

On paper, the case for privatisation of water supply, like telephony and aviation, seemed sound. Meeting the growing water demands of growing cities requ­i­red high investment. Better quality water called for sophisticated infrastru­cture. The private sector held the allure of money, technology, and also its famed managerial skills in implementation, delivery, acc­ou­ntability. Win-win. In reality, however, the experience has been quite the opposite as the state willingly cedes control over a vital public asset such as water under the garb of a PPP and watches haplessly as the poor are fleeced.

In many cities, private companies have brought little to the table. Naqvi says all the contracts awarded actually “have mechanisms to ensure the private parties don’t have to put in any of their own investments. During the initial two and a half years of the pilot projects, when the consortiums will be doing distribution, Delhi Jal Board will be paying very high management fees, besides the power bill, delivering treated water at the colony and providing its own employees to the private partner free of cost.”


Photograph by Sangeeta Mahajan

Nagpur, Maharashtra

  • Model: PPP contract for distribution, operation and maintenance and uninterrupted water supply (24×7) for 25 years
  • Firm and cost: Veolia Water and Vishwaraj Environment; Rs 566 crore
  • Earlier tariff: Rs 150–200 per month/connection
  • Proposed tariff: Rs 7.90/KL
  • Status: Several problems arising in project implementation, from steep water tariff hikes, dissatisfaction with meters, increased water consumption in demo zone after project implementation etc

The average middle-class consumption of water is 20-30 KL per month; City profiles by Outlook/Manthan

“The results of PPP projects in India are not encouraging,” says Gaurav Dwivedi. “They don’t seem to be the solution they were thought to be.”

On top of that, private companies are seen to be tinkering with that invaluable (and often scarce) commodity called democracy. Despite initial hiccups, electricity distribution saw some improvements after privatisation in cities like Delhi due to the presence of multiple sources of power. But private water companies have to depend on a finite number of sources. Diminishing rainfall, depleting water tables and raging wars between states have seen water become scarcer. So, supplying 24×7 water to one area in a city as promised by a private operator means depriving a number of other areas of their rightful due. It also means creating an artificial demand with an eye on the bottomline.

Worse, says Prof U.N. Ravi Kumar, a Mysore-based water consultant who has been engaged in the revival of water bodies. Private water suppliers are not making any effort to look at issues like waste water management or conserving water resources, he says. “All the projects we hear about are presentations by the companies and project promoters. Governments can easily get swayed by promises of 24×7 supply.” In other words, the private players have sold a pipe dream and are getting access to exploit and monetise public water resources without adding to it.


Photograph by AFP, From Outlook 24 June 2013

Hubli, Karnataka

  • Model: PPP contract for provision of 24/7 continuous water supply including refurbishment of distribution network
  • Firm and cost: Veolia Water; Rs 235.10 crore
  • Earlier tariff: Rs 90 per month per connection
  • Proposed tariff: Rs 6/ KL for 0-8 KL, Rs 10/KL for 8-15 KL, Rs 15 for 15-25 KL and minimum charge of Rs 48 per month
  • Status: Questions about the lack of transparency in the project particularly with respect to the tariff structure; uncertainty about financial implications for local people when support is removed.

The average middle-class consumption of water is 20-30 KL per month; City profiles by Outlook/Manthan

In many cities where private operators have moved in, anecdotal evidence shows that, while the rich and well-off can be assured of better supplies at a higher cost, those defaulting on even one bill end up paying dearly with water supplies being stopped. While private players have been relentless in enforcing the rules on individual domestic connections, they seem to have fallen prey to their political masters while dealing with commercial connections—which usually default on a much larger scale than domestic ones.

Ashok Govindpurkar, a veteran Nat­ionalist Congress Party councillor from Latur, says they were widely supported in their protest against private management of water supply in their city of four lakh population as households having or seeking to instal a handpump needed to get permission. “The cost of a water connection for Rs 1,700 plus a meter cost of Rs 2,400 was a huge burden on the poor,” he says. Adds Gaurav Dwivedi of Manthan Adhyayan Kendra, “Water PPPs do not have a pro-poor orientation even tho­ugh this is the section of the community, especially in urban settings, which needs water supply and sanitation services at low costs on an urgent basis.” It does not call for any particular political bent to see that, in India, this would only worsen the country’s overall indices.

The private companies complain about being demonised. “In Latur, water was supplied once a week before we took over. We improved the situation and supplied it on alternate days,” says Rishabh Sethi, exe­cutive director, SPML. “The lack of support and coordination between government entities with respect to their contractual obligation has been the main reason for the project being kept in abeyance. Plus plentiful local opposition, including from local political groups.”


Photograph by Amit Haralkar

Latur, Maharashtra

  • Model: Management contract for 10 years
  • Firm & Cost: SPML; Fixed management fee (IRR of 19.6 per cent)
  • Earlier tariff: Rs 100/month
  • Proposed tariff: Rs 150 (plus meter cost of Rs 2,400 + connection cost Rs 1,700)
  • Status: The first case where a private management contract has been rolled back following three years of protests by people and most political parties barring Congress. The project has now been given to a public sector entity.

The average middle-class consumption of water is 20-30 KL per month; City profiles by Outlook/Manthan

In Mysore, JUSCO’s plea for renegotiation of the contract is meeting with widespread opposition. Despite some benefits having accrued to ‘chronic problem’ localities in the city, many other areas are seeing a drop in supplies. Ditto Nagpur, where the distribution project was extended to cover the whole city even before the assessment of the pilot was done. “I don’t think private participation has worked anywhere in India for a sufficiently long period or provided a credible appraisal performance,” says water activist Himanshu Thakkar.

JUSCO is not the only company trying to renegotiate the terms of its contract, but the Mysore city corporation is in a fix. It is facing a financial squeeze and has no answer to the public ire. Also, there’s  little option of throwing out the private company without inviting protracted litigation. With the long-term contracts loaded in favour of private companies, civic bodies are caught between a rock and a hard place. And the only way out, it seems, is to wait like its counterparts in Europe and declare water supply a public sector operation after the contract runs out.

Sole convict in Suryanelli rape case retracts charge against PJ Kurien #WTFnews Timing ?


PTI  THODUPUZHA, KERALA, MAY 29, 2013 | UPDATED 18:18 IST
TAGS: Suryanelli sex scandal |Suryanelli rape case | Sole convict Dharmarajan | P J Kurien | Congress leader |Suryanelli rape victim | KurienKerala court | Kerala | Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman
PJ Kurien
Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien
In yet another twist to the nearly two-decade-oldSuryanelli sex scandal, the lone convict in the case, Dharmarajan on Wednesday retracted his allegation that Congress leader and Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien was involved in the case.In an affidavit filed through his lawyer in the Sessions Court at Thodupuzha in Idukki district, Dharmarajan said he made the allegation as the reporter of a Malayalam TV channel barraged him with questions while he was hiding in a place near Mysore after jumping bail.

Dharmarajan, who surrendered in February last after absconding for several years, said he was not familiar with Kurien and he had seen his pictures only in media.

Withdrawing his claim that he had taken Kurien in his car to a guest house in Kumali where the victim was lodged, Dharmarajan said in fact he did not even have a car of his own.

The affidavit was submitted in a private petition filed by the victim seeking legal action against Kurien in the light of Dharmarajan’s “revelation.”

Dharmarajan dropped a bombshell in February claiming in a television interview that Kurien was present at the guest house where the victim was exploited and that he (Dharmarajan) was under pressure from the investigators to refrain from mentioning the Congress leader’s name.

A lawyer by profession, Dharmarajan was the only accused convicted by the Kerala High Court in 2005 while it cleared 34 others earlier held guilty by a special court that conducted trial in the case in the late 1990s.

After serving a brief jail term, Dharmarajan was freed on bail but never returned to prison and his whereabouts were unknown till he resurfaced in February, after the case took a new turn with the Supreme Court asking the Kerala High Court to conduct a re-trial.

The sex scandal took place at Suryanelli in Idukki district January 1996. A 16-year-old was threatened, abducted and abused by a bus conductor and was later confined and sexually assaulted for 45 days by 42

Read more at:http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/suryanelli-sex-scandal-sole-convict-dharmarajan-p-j-kurien-congress-leader/1/273700.html

 

Use of #Aadhaar card in Voting in Karnataka Assembly Elections #UID


200 px

200 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

MOST URGENT

By E-mail including to the media

Maj Gen S.G.Vombatkere (Retd)                                                                     475, 7th Main Road

                                                                                                                         Vijayanagar 1st Stage

E-mail:<sg9kere@live.com>                                                                          Mysore-570017

Tel:0821-2515187                                                                                            April 19, 2013

To

 

Election Commission of India

Nirvachan Sadan

Ashoka Road

New Delhi-110001

 

Subject: USE OF AADHAAR CARD FOR VOTING IN THE FORTHCOMING MAY 2013 KARNATAKA ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

Sirs,

1. According to media reports concerning the forthcoming elections in Karnataka, voters who do not present their Elector’s Photo Identity Card (EPIC) at Polling Booths, may use their Aadhaar card as identification for casting their votes. This is apparently a change in policy at the level of the Election Commission of India (ECI).

2. The ECI are requested to note that the instructions printed on the Aadhaar card read as follows:

# Aadhaar is proof of identity, not of citizenship. # To establish identity, authenticate on-line.

3. These instructions read together, indicate that the Aadhaar card bearer’s identity can only be established when it is authenticated on-line by verification of the biometric parameters of fingerprints and iris scans from UIDAI’s records. Therefore, for this purpose, the ECI would need to arrange for and ensure operation of fingerprint detection and iris scan devices connected on-line to UIDAI’s Central ID Data Repository at every polling booth (with standby power supply), for on-line authentication of identity of voters who do not possess the EPIC.

4. If however the Aadhaar card is proposed to be accepted at the polling booth as identification without on-line authentication, then the ECI may consider accepting other documents like Ration Card, Passport or Motor Vehicle Driving Licence, all of which contain as much information as an Aadhaar card, for a Polling Booth Officer to identify the voter. Notwithstanding, the use of Aadhaar card without on-line authentication of identity at polling booths would be misuse of the Aadhaar system and perversion of the election process, since Aadhaar is not proof of citizenship, as stated on the Aadhaar card itself.

5. The ECI are requested to note that waiver of the necessity for EPIC for voting in the May 2013 Karnataka Assembly elections may result in similar waiver being demanded for other elections in the future, thus effectively making the EPIC itself redundant.

6. In view of the foregoing, the ECI are urgently requested to make public announcement to state whether or not facilities for Aadhaar on-line authentication will be provided at polling booths for the May 2013 Karnataka Assembly elections.

 

Yours faithfully,

Maj Gen S.G.Vombatkere (Retd)

Copy to:

The Chief Electoral Officer of Karnataka <feedbackceokar@gmail.com>

Nirvachana Nilaya, Maharani’s College Circle <ceo.karnataka@gmail.com>

Seshadri Road

Bangalore-560001

 

 

Mumbai- #Aadhaar Scam- Sting Operation #UID


 

#Aadhaar enrollment rejected for being duplicate although that was not the case #WTFnews #UID


 

 

Ashok MR Dalwai Deputy Director General 080-22341622 amdalwai@uidai.gov.in

 

11 February 2013

 

Dear Mr.Ashok Dalwai,

200 px

200 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am writing regarding the Aadhaar card/number of my domestic help, Smt.Chikka Thayamma. She enrolled into the scheme on 10.08.2011 at Mysore, and holds Acknowledge Slip No.1037/11430/03434 with date-time as 12:21:49.

I have checked her enrollment number on internet and received the system response, “Your Aadhaar enrollment has been rejected. As per UIDAI’s records, you were earlier enrolled through another enrollment ID”, even though she enrolled on 10.08.2011 for the first and only time.

I am at a loss as to what to advise her to do, because it appears from the message quoted above, that her biometrics as captured by the system were already present in the system, and her enrollment has been treated as a duplicate (“As per UIDAI’s records, you were earlier enrolled through another enrollment ID”), and hence rejected. Also, the system response is unhelpful as it does not suggest any solution, since she has not been asked to re-enroll as some others have been advised on rejection of their Aadhaar enrollment.

Please immediately advise me whether my surmise of biometric duplication is correct, and if not, what is the cause and what is the remedy. I am aware that the Application Form for enrollment contains a certificate that the applicant has not previously enrolled. Smt.Chikka Thayamma is anxious to avail the subsidy for LPG and has to submit her Aadhaar number by 15 February 2013.

Requesting an immediate response from you in this case,

Yours faithfully,

Maj Gen S.G.Vombatkere (Retd)

475, 7th Main Road

Vijayanagar 1st Stage

Mysore-570017

Tel:0821-2515187

E-mail:<sg9kere@live.com>

 

 

 

Mr. Nandan Nilekani care to reply ? #Aadhaar #UID #coercion


 

S. G. VOMBATKERE
The Hindu
In the hurry to meet targets, UIDAI is missing its goals

In the hurry to meet targets, UIDAI is missing its goals

EYES WIDE SHUT: Retaining biometric efficiency of data on a large scale does not seem to have been analysed while queries on privacy have not been addressed.

The architects of the unique identification scheme are yet to provide satisfactory answers to concerns about data security
The Aadhaar scheme of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is to provide India’s billion-plus people with a unique identification number. Enrolment is not mandatory, though it was mentioned that it would be difficult for people to access public services if not done. The scheme requires individuals to provide their photograph, fingerprints and iris scan along with documentary personal information for data capture by outsourced operators. It is meant to bypass the corrupt bureaucratic system and deliver government subsidies and grants to the poor, and bring them into the banking system. Sceptics argue that it is an effort to capture the funds of hundreds of millions of micro- and nano-investors who are today outside the banking system, to bring them into the credit economy.
The scheme was introduced as a pilot project in Karnataka’s Mysore district. The poor and those who survive on daily wages were not enthusiastic about enrolment, because it meant losing four or five days wages, to stand in queues, to fill up forms, to produce documents, to provide biometrics, etc., and, later, to open bank accounts. The UIDAI overcame the initial reluctance by wide advertisement of the benefits of enrolment. When this too did not achieve the target set, the local administration informed the public that PDS ration and LPG supply would not be available without the Aadhaar number. This resulted in serpentine queues right through the day at enrolment centres, at the end of which the UIDAI could claim that 95 per cent of Mysore district’s population had enrolled itself into the scheme.
Media reports indicate that commencing January 1, 2013, MGNREGA, the Rajiv Gandhi Awas Yojana (RGAY), the Ashraya housing scheme, Bhagyalakshmi and the social security and pension scheme will be linked with Aadhaar in Mysore district. This linking, with rights like salary and pension, and important entitled benefits and services, has raised some hackles because enrolment is not mandatory.
It has led to questions on whether salary and pension rights, and benefits like PDS ration and LPG supply can be denied just because an individual does not possess a unique Aadhaar number. Today, teachers in Maharashtra and government employees in Jharkhand cannot draw their salaries. Apart from pro-poor projects like MGNREGA and RGAY, even jobs, housing, provident funds and registering a marriage now require enrolment. From being not mandatory, the “poor-inclusive” Aadhaar scheme appears to have quietly metamorphosed into becoming exclusionary and non-optional.
The UIDAI’s own Biometrics Standards Committee stated that retaining biometric efficiency for a database of more than one billion people “has not been adequately analysed” and the problem of fingerprint quality in India “has not been studied in depth.” Thus the technological basis of the project remains doubtful.
Criticism from the top
However, the severest critic of the entire scheme has been the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance (PSCF), which deliberated that the Aadhaar scheme is “full of uncertainty in technology as the complex scheme is built upon untested, unreliable technology and several assumptions.” It found Aadhaar to be “directionless” and “conceptualized with no clarity.” But the UIDAI shelters under the Prime Minister’s protective wing and continues to stonewall not only public queries and criticism, but also the unequivocal verdict of the PSCF.
Possibly even more serious is data security, and the consequent threat to privacy. The UIDAI claims that access to its database will be secure from intelligence agencies. This claim is hollow, because the Aadhaar project is contracted to receive technical support from L-1 Identity Solutions (now MorphoTrust USA), a well-known defence contractor. Contracts are also awarded to Accenture Services Pvt. Ltd., which works with the U.S. Homeland Security, and Ernst & Young to install the UIDAI’s Central ID Data Repository. It is impossible to ensure database security when technical providers are American business corporations, and U.S. law requires them to provide information demanded of them, to U.S. Homeland Security. But the UIDAI is in denial.
If biometric data and other personal information fall into the hands of unauthorised agencies, privacy is unequivocally compromised. Compromising an individual’s personal data affects only that person, but when the personal data of many millions of people is involved, there is potential for a national disaster. The fact that the UIDAI is silent on or evasive about these security concerns does not inspire confidence in the capability of the UIDAI or the Aadhaar system to maintain the right to personal privacy.
Though the Aadhaar project is “not mandatory,” enrolment by threat of exclusion from availing benefits and services, and threat of denial of rights like salary or pension makes it non-optional. This kind of deviousness is unbecoming of a democratically elected government. Coming on top of many huge scams, the present government may suffer electorally if it persists in using unethical, extra-legal coercion to impose the security-defective, technologically unproven, very expensive UID Aadhaar scheme on the public.
(Major General S.G. Vombatkere, who retired as Additional Director General, Discipline & Vigilance in Army HQ, New Delhi, writes on strategic and development-related issues.)

 

#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))

 

 

Chronology of Communication- Anurag Kashyap and Shilpa Munikempanna on 12.12.12 #kracktivism


 

Pic courtesy- R ajeev bhatt

The email exchange between Shilpa Munikempanna, Anurag Kashyap and representatives of Large Short Films and Showhouse can be consulted here  Email, the email exhanges are from September 5th 2012, Nov 23rd 2012 . According to  Shilpa  Munikempanna, a  legal notice was sent to Omer Haider, MD Showhouse and Abhijit Das, CH Large short films invoking arbitration based on unfair dismissal, unpaid dues and questioning the legal ground of the agreement signed, on 3rd December 2012 through her lawyer. A petition was also filed in the Mysore High Court on 5th December but due to the boycott by lawyers, Bandh in Mysore she was  unable to proceed any further and stop them from using her  film and paying her dues.The petition  is posted for hearing on December 15th, 2012 .

Shilpa Munikempanna says 

The open letter was the last resort otherwise I would have very much liked to have done this quietly, this ugliness is not something that provides jouissance.

Kracktivist clarifies 

 Shilpa did not get her dues before the letter was posted, the open letter to Anurag Kashyap  on project 12.12.12. was posted at 10.40am ,Dec 11th, 2012 here, Shilpa got her money at 1230 pm .Dec 11, 2012 

Anurag Kashyap sent the reply to me by email here it is –

The Last Act: To the 12th director who chose to disappear

In the light of all the accusations that Shilpa has chosen to make in the “Open Letter”, we would like to state the process we went through in this journey to The Last Act.

We had opened a “Contest” for Project 121212. It was not a commission made to anybody. Everybody was working for the brand Royal Stag Mega Movies. We created this platform for Large Short Films. We have showcased and promoted more than 80 short filmmakers in the past 3 months. We have premiered their films, produced independent films and promoted them on our site, with the brand’s promotional budget without any revenue stream from these films whatsoever. Anurag Kashyap, Sudhir Mishra and Showhouse had been commissioned a job to create and promote independent short films.

When we announced Project 121212, we got more than 600 showreels from across India. Anurag, Sudhir and Chakri chose 52 film makers from that list. Finally the 12 were chosen from there. Shilpa was the only one woman to be chosen in the final 12. So what is her grudge? Should we have a quota in such contests? Or should we apologise for choosing her? Or she is upset that she was chosen in the first place amongst all the men? We don’t understand the point.

Then the 12 filmmakers were sent a plot written by Anurag Kashyap. This seed plot was sent to all the 12 filmmakers with the contract. Yes… the contract stated that the filmmakers could not coordinate with each other. Shilpa has a grudge with that too. But if she did have a problem with that, why didn’t she voice that, when she signed the contract?

We promised Rs 75,000 to all the filmmakers for making a 10 minute film. Isn’t it fair that an advance is paid and the balance is paid on delivery? Isn’t that how the whole industry works? Or any industry for that matter? So we paid Rs 30000 to each filmmaker as an advance. The balance to be paid after the film was delivered to our satisfaction… because this is a contest. And we haven’t commissioned an independent individual short film. It has to fit into the larger story.

Each filmmaker, including Shilpa had signed a contract, which categorically mentioned all these terms and conditions. A filmmaker from Bengaluru was shortlisted as the top 12 but opted out on day 1 as he felt he could not participate under such conditions. We accepted his resignation and appointed the next in the shortlist. If she had a problem with the terms and conditions of payment, why didn’t she choose to opt out? Why did she sign the contract? What was the carrot? We were transparent from the beginning.

Once the scripts came to us, we had to make changes in all the scripts to match it to the climax, which Asmit was directing. These changes were sent to all the filmmakers with the entire script. So Shilpa knew the changes she had to make to fit into the larger picture, because this wasn’t a stand-alone short film.

When we received the films after the shoot and edit, we matched it to the shooting script. 3 scripts had deviated from the original script. Shilpa’s was one of them.

On 21st November:

We wrote to all the 3 filmmakers about the changes that need to be made to be part of the collaborative project. Apart from Shilpa, both the other filmmakers agreed to the changes, we discussed and finally added some portions to the film. They got the same time to make the changes that the others got. But she got back and said that she didn’t have time to shoot the additional portions.

On 22nd November:

We offered to shoot her portions that were required to complete the film.

On 23rd November 2012:

Shilpa got back to us through an SMS where she sent her actor’s number and the contact for the location in Bangalore where she shot, and gave us the permission to shoot. Interestingly, all the filmmakers were supposed to base their stories in the city they were chosen from. Varun Chowdhury shot in Hisar. Kabir shot in Chandigarh. Anurag Goswami shot in Lucknow. Tathagata shot in Kolkata. But guess what? Shilpa is from Mysore but shot her film in Bengaluru. But then there was no legal binding so we couldn’t say anything.

On 22nd November:

As per our discussion with Shilpa, we spoke to her actor and her location to organize a shoot in Bengaluru.

On 23rd November:

A day later we got a mail from Shilpa telling us that she didn’t want to be part of this project as we were making changes in her script. But even in her mail, she asked if she would get paid even if we didn’t use her film. Obviously, the contract didn’t allow us to pay her if she didn’t complete the film. So is it wrong a reject a film based on quality in a competition? Or even after signing the agreement are we supposed to accept the film even if it doesn’t fit into the larger picture? No one is acting God in this. We are just playing by the rules. Everybody was doing that, including the other 11 film makers.

Here is an excerpt from her mail:

“If you want to reject my work please let me know.

If you want to shoot and add a prelude to my work please let me know.

If you want to not pay me or pay me please let me know.”

While we went ahead and changed our plan to get in the 12th director, everything went on peacefully till Shilpa sent is a legal letter to invoke the arbitration clause.

The legal letter reached us on: December 1st, 2012

She waited for almost a week before she us the letter. Surprisingly, it was the same time when we announced the theatrical release of “The Last Act”.

We took a couple of days to consult our lawyers and got back to her yesterday with an offer to pay her the balance Rs 45000 and end the matter as we had already gone ahead with the film without using her segment.

We spoke to her lawyers on 10th December afternoon and decided that we would pay Rs 45000 and waive off any rights on our copyrights to her film. It was silly on our part… why would we pay her the full amount and still not acquire the rights? Then what are we paying her for? Secondly, she wrote in her legal notice that she spent more than 1 lac for the production of her film. She knew from day 1 and she had only Rs 75000 to work with. If she over shoots her own budget, who should be penalized for it? The producers or the director? Or is that also our fault?

We spoke to her lawyer and they said we should increase our payment to her by Rs 5000. To cover her legal expenses. So she “threatens” to sue us. A day before the release (haven’t we heard that before?) and then wants us to pay for her expenses. And again, we complied. This morning, we paid her Rs 45000 (after TDS) and Rs 5000 (For her lawyers… who does that?) Her lawyers sent us a letter last night, stating that if we pay them before 12 noon, they won’t sue us!! We paid her this morning. Then she posted the “Open Letter to Anurag Kashyap”. After getting paid. Is that legal?

An excerpt from her lawyer’s last mail to us after we have paid Shilpa in full despite not using her film in “The Last Act”. So we have paid. We hand over the copyright. What else now?

Dear Mr.Das,

 

Thank you and Showhouse for your cooperation and reimbursing the expenses.

 

However in furtherance of the legal communication sent to you yesterday, kindly acknowledge that Showhouse has no copyright on the film “Sleep” directed by Shilpa. Pls also dispatch a hard copy of this letter to Ms.Shilpa’s postal address. 

 

Only once you do the same we will be in a position to withdraw our application before the courts in Karnataka. 

 

After withdrawing the same, we will send you a scanned copy of the order sheet. 

 

Best Regards

 

Sunayana

Now she is mocking Royal Stag Mega Movies LSF, Showhouse, Anurag Kashyap, Abhijit Das and Asmit Pathare.

She is mocking Anurag who was generous enough to offer her something this morning. He told her (through Abhijit) that though her film can’t be part of the collaborative feature film, LSF will release her film individually. We offered to fly her down tomorrow for the premiere and make that announcement to the media. We wanted to appreciate her film even before she posted the “Open Letter”… No Shilpa, we were trying to be fair. Unlike what you said in your last mail… we didn’t malign you one bit. You did that. We didn’t even announce that your film wasn’t accepted. We graciously moved on.

Shilpa asked Abhijit not to call her directly. We should speak to her lawyers. And that she doesn’t want anything to do with LSF or Anurag Kashyap. So we spoke to her lawyers and informed them about the “Open Letter”.

So here we are:

–          We paid Shilpa her entire amount and some more for her legal expenses. For a product she didn’t deliver.

–          She has also retained the copyright for her film after graciously accepting the payment (she has stated this in her blog herself. Guess that’s legal.)

–          She has breached a contract by announcing in public before the release.

This is her mail to us, after she had already published her “Open Letter” on the internet. And hoped that nobody would read it? So what was the point? She just wanted money for work she hadn’t delivered? So she withdrew the case on the payment? So she doesn’t feel so strongly about the female inequality anymore? Or that got solved the moment we paid up? What about the integrity of not being part of an unfair project? It becomes ethical on a payment of Rs 75000? That’s a pretty flimsy stand to take after writing an “Open Letter to Anurag Kashyap”. One could have just asked for the money.

 

———- Forwarded message ———-

From: Shilpa Munikempanna ‪<shilpa.munikempanna@gmail.com>

Date: Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 7:27 PM

Subject: Re: Open letter to Anurag Kashyap

To: letters@thehindu.co.in, editor@openmedianetwork.in, editor@tehelka.com, editor@expressindia.com, ttedit@abpmail.com, letters@hindustantimes.com, ratnam@intoday.com, submissions@outlookindia.com, toieditorial@timesgroup.com, editor@deccanmail.com, editor@the-week.com, editor.thecaravan@delhipress.in

 

 

Dear Sir/ Madam, 

 

Today morning the Large Short films and Showhouse have approached me and agreed to reimburse the expenses. They have paid the reimbursement today and also have agreed to assign all the copyrights to me.

 

Thus I do not want you to publish the attachment “open letter to Anurag Kashyap” as the Mr.Anurag Kashyap and LSF along with Showhouse has already reimbursed me today and has agreed to assign the copyrights. Though I am yet to receive a confirmation email, I do not want this letter to be published any more.

 

Thanks 

 

Regards

Below is the petition in court

IN THE CIVIL COURT AT MYSORE

ARBITRATION APPLICATION NO.                            OF 2012

Shilpa Munikempana                                                   )

Mysore                                                     )

Karnataka                                                                   )      … APPLICANT

Versus

1. Showhouse Event Management Private Limited     )

a Company incorporated under the                          )

laws of India, having its registered office at            )

Dettinners Compound 126, SV Road                      )

Jogeshwari (W), Mumbai – 400102                          )

Represented by its Managing Director                     )

2. Largeshortfilms                                                         )

Having office at Detinners Compound                     )

126, SV Road                                                            )

Jogeshwari (W)                                                         )

Mumbai – 400102                                                     )

Represented by Managing Director                          )

Mr.Abhijeet Das                                                        )…RESPONDENTS

MOST RESPECTFULLY SUBMITED:

The Applicant most respectfully submits as follows

  1.  The address of the Applicant and Respondents are as mentioned in the causetitle above. The Applicant may also be served with all communications, summons etc through their counsels M/s Common Law Chambers and Shri Umesh Advocate having its office at ________________________________________________.
  2. Applicant is a film maker focusing mostly on short filmmaking. Respondent No.1 is a company engaged in organizing events and shows. Respondent No.2 is an initiative of Respondent No.1 who has prestigious directors in their core team and was founded and managed by Shri Abhijit Das to provide a platform to short film makers to release their films.
  3. The Applicant has several works amongst which one famous work of the Applicant is her film “Kaveri” which won the best short film award in (IDSFFR 2011) and thereafter won the best Asian Short Film at Aguilar Film Festival, Spain. The said film was also premiered in Kiev International Film Festival, Ukraine. She is currently actively working with IAWRT in their festival “our lives to live..” by women film makers about gender and violence.
  4.  Respondent Nos.1 and 2 were desirous of making a film 12.12.12 which is a collaboration of 12 short films. The Respondents invited film directors to participate in the selection process which commenced on 29th July 2012 and ended on 16th August 2012 with the submission of showreels of each film maker. The Respondents have Royal Stag Mega Movies as their chief sponsor as well as most eminent film directors viz Shri. Anurag Kashyap, Asmith Pathare, Sudhir Chakri in its core team to ensure visibility, publicity and ensure a steady revenue stream for the production of 12.12.12 a collaboration of 12 short films. Hereto annexed and  Annexure “A” is a copy of the press clipping of the proposed production of the short film series.
  5. The Applicant was first shortlisted for the 50 best Directors in August and thereafter on 5th September, 2012 the Applicant qualified as one of the 12 best directors who was chosen to contribute one short film to the collaborative films venture 12.12.12. Hereto annexed and  Annexure “B” is a copy of the snap shot of the 50 shortlisted names of directors including the Applicant’s name on Respondent No.2’s website largeshortfilms.com.  The Applicant states that the collaborative film initiative 12.12.12’s exact submission deadline details were available on Respondent No.2’s website www.largeshortfilms.com Hereto annexed and  Annexure “C” is a true copy of details of the collaboration from the website of Respondent No.2.
  6. Thereafter the Applicant received a confirmation email congratulating the Applicant for being chosen one among the 12 directors from Shri Anurag Kashyap on behalf of Large Short Films. The said email also mentioned about the premier of 12.12.12 events and also made a mention that Shri Kashyap would be  meeting the Applicant. Hereto annexed and  Annexure “D” is a copy of the email dated 5th September from Shri Kashyap to the Applicant.
  7. It is submitted that the Applicant was overwhelmed and extremely enthusiastic to receive this opportunity and commenced the next stage of contributing the script before 24th September, 2012. The Applicant sent two scripts one for the movie “Sleep” and the other for the film “Ashes”. The Respondents accepted the script for the movie “Sleep” and gave the Applicant specific dates of delivery and deadlines, asking the Applicant to finally shoot the movie based on the said script. The emails dated _______ wherein the said scripts were submitted and thereafter accepted by the Respondents are produced as Annexure “E”, “E1” “E2”, collectively.
  1. The Respondents also issued a letter of participation to the Applicant dated 5th October, 2012 wherein the Respondents clearly stated that

we promise to pay you Rs.75,000/- immediately after you deliver your segment of the film. So you will be paid the full amount much before the release of the film.”

Further the Respondent No.1 and the Applicant entered into an Agreement dated 2nd October, 2012 stipulating the exact terms and conditions on which the Applicant was to shoot the film specifically for the Respondent’s collaboration. Hereto annexed and  Annexure “F” is a copy of the Agreement dated 2nd October 2012 and  and annexed as Annexure “G” is a copy of the email dated 5th October 2012 confirming the Applicant’s participation in the Respondent’s collaboration.

8.         On the basis of the Agreement entered into between parties and the confirmation by email dated 5th October 2012, the Applicant went ahead with the film shooting preparation and incurred substantial expenditure of approximately Rs.1 lakh on shooting the film. Hereto annexed and  Annexure “H” is a breakup of the production expenses incurred by the Applicant and  and annexed as Annexure ‘I” are details of hours spent at different sites by Applicant to shoot the film.  The Applicant states that she received an advance of Rs.30,000/- from the Respondents towards the making of the film “Sleep” and the same was given as an exception as the Respondent clearly stated in its email that they liked the Plaintiff’s work.

9.         The Applicant completed the shooting by 30th October, 2012 in accordance with the timeline provided by the Respondents and thereafter sent the footage and the final film to the Respondents on 3rd  November, 2012. As required by the Respondent, the Applicant also sent the invoice for the balance production expense along with the final film DVD on 3rd November, 2012. The final film “Sleep” had reached the Respondents within the deadline specified by them. The Applicant did not receive any communication from the Respondents till 12th November, 2012 which was the deadline for final edit of each film maker mentioned hereinabove. Thus the Applicant was under the bonafide and honest impression that her film was accepted and requested the Respondent to disburse the balance payment of Rs.45,000/- on 16th  November, 2012.  The Respondents confirmed on the same day that the payments are being processed. An extract of the email dated 16th November 2012 is produced herein below:

            “invoices just got signed today as signing authorities were travelling. Will take a week I am guessing. Will be presenting the invoices tomorrow to the accounts for processing.”

A copy of the email dated 3rd November 2012 along with final invoice dispatched on 3rd November 2012 and the correspondence on 16th November  2012 is produced as Annexure “J”.

  1. The Applicant was shocked and surprised to learn from the actor whom she had engaged to shoot the film “Sleep” that the Respondents are re-shooting some scenes of the movie.  The Applicant at this time sought a clarification from the Respondents as to the final status of the film and if the balance invoiced amount will be cleared as the Applicant had borrowed money to meet the expenses of the production of the film as contracted with the Respondents.
  2. The Applicant states that the Respondent sent an email asking the Applicant to re-shoot 6-7 scenes of the film  on 21st November 2012 night, this requirement of the Respondent at this stage of the collaboration wherein the script would substantially be modified came as a surprise to the Applicant.  The Applicant states that the script sent by the Applicant on 24 September, 2012 was approved by the Respondent’s on 3rd October, 2012 jointly. The Applicant had certain ideas and emotions about euthanasia which she clearly manifested in the script sent on 24 September and thereafter in the shootings. The revision suggested by the Respondents completely diluted the script shared by the Applicant which was already approved by the Respondents themselves. Further, this time for modification of the script and re-shooting the scenes was at an extremely short notice. The Applicant states that logistically the Respondent’s requirement for further shootings vide email sent on the night of 21st November, 2012 involved reserving a specific location which was at a great expense, recalling the actor and actresses who are not available for long periods and arranging the entire crew once again and getting the specific camera on which the Applicant would have to pay a large deposit and rent. The Applicant states that without receiving the amounts raised on the Respondents by her in her balance invoice issued on 3rd November, 2012, the Applicant was not in a position to shoot and deliver the 7 scenes as requested in a span of 3 days.
  3. The Applicant provided the Respondent with certain alternate ideas to link the short film “Sleep” with the larger collaborative venture. A copy of the emails in connection with these suggestions is annexed collectively as Annexure “ K”.
  4. On 20th November, 2012, the Applicant learnt that the Respondents are using the video “Sleep” but changing few important scenes which complete dilutes the script sent by the Applicant to the Respondent’s on 24th September 2012 and was deeply hurt to learn that her creative work was being tampered without even informing her that changes were being made or giving her sufficient time or resources to re-shoot the scenes herself. The Applicant immediately wrote to the Respondent opposing use of the scenes of the film shot by her. Hereto annexed Annexure “L” is a copy of the email dated 23rd November, 2012 addressed by the Applicant to the Respondent.
  5. The Applicant was shocked to receive an email dated 24th November 2012 from the Respondent severing all relations with the Applicant and stated that on 24th November 2012 night they have rejected the movie “Sleep”. An extract of the said email is as follows:

we will not use your story or film in this project…we will not be paying the balance production money to you. It is unfortunate this collaboration could not work out.”

  1. The Applicant states that this action of the Respondent has shocked the Applicant, caused mental agony and loss of dignity to the Applicant among her peers in the industry. The Applicant states that the Respondents have turned a complete blind eye to the Applicant’s plight both financially as well as professionally. The Applicant has taken a loan to invest in the making of the film and completed the film within the stipulated time line.  Hereto annexed and  Annexure “M” is a copy of the email dated 24th November, 2012 addressed by the Respondents to the Applicant. The Applicant has invoked the arbitration clause 29 of the Agreement and sent an invocation of arbitration dated 3rd December, 2012. A copy of the letter along with dispatch receipt is produced as Annexure “M1”.
  2. The Applicant states that the Respondents have individually and collectively displayed the images of the film “Sleep” in their promotional materials for the collaboration 12.12.12. Hereto annexed and  Annexure “N” is a  copy of the print out from the Respondents website still showing the Applicant’s film as a part of their promotional materials for the 12.12.12 collaborative film venture
  3. The Applicant is deeply agonized and shocked that the Respondents continue to use a few snapshots of the video “Sleep” which are still posted on the Respondent’s promotional websites. Further, the Applicant has reliably learnt that the Respondents are using the contents of the film “Sleep” to make another film by tampering with the original story line and thereby causing loss to the Applicant’s creative work and originality of the work which was sent to them for launch in the 12.12.12 collaboration.
  4. The Applicant states that these actions of the Respondents are a gross violation of the Applicant’s moral right, her rights to protect the integrity of her creative work and to acknowledge the real creator of the film in whom copyright in the said film vests. The Applicant is an upcoming film maker in South India and has received several international recognition for her previous films and is presently involved in several documentary productions taking a pro-human rights stance.
  5. The Applicant states that the actions of the Respondents are deliberate and done in a manner to cause professional harm and mental harassment to the Applicant as well as loss of reputation. The Applicant had since 2nd October, 2012 when her script was approved has spent more than 4 days in reviewing the location, 1 week in identifying the actors and actress and doing an audition in connection to the same another 1 week in developing the story board, and 3 days conducting the rehearsals. Thereafter on 25th and 26th October, 2012 she was engaged with shooting the film from 6 am in the morning to 8 pm at night. Post the shooting, the Applicant since 27th October, 2012 dedicated time to post production editing till 3rd November, 2012. In addition to the above the Applicant has borrowed money and incurred the expenses on the making of the film after being shortlisted as one of the 12 Directors invited to contribute to the Short Film collaboration. The Applicant states that the Respondent has sought to reject her film without any valid basis on mid night of 24 November, 2012 without any prior intimation or justifiable reasons.
  6. The Applicant submits that there is genuine belief that the Respondents are using shots from her film “Sleep” and adding scenes or deleting scenes without informing her. Further the Respondents are going on full swing to make these changes to the film “Sleep” without the Applicant’s prior permission and is going to release the same in their international premier and film release of 12.12.12 on 12 December, 2012 in Mumbai.
  7. It is submitted that the Respondents are not entitled to utilize the copyrightable material of the Applicant without her permission and without having made complete payment towards production cost for the same to the Applicant. The Applicant states that these actions of the Respondent clearly indicates that the Respondents are attempting to extract unlawful gain from the ground work and creative output of the Applicant. The alleged requirement for shooting further sequences is clearly an afterthought and has been communicated to the Applicant after having confirmed that she would receive payment. The aforesaid sequence of events clearly indicates that the Respondents were satisfied with the movie produced by the Applicant and that, upon being so satisfied, had agreed to make payments to her. Additionally, the deadline for final edits of each film was set at 12th November, 2012. The Respondents approached the Applicant for further shooting at a belated stage on or about 22nd November, 2012, i.e. much after November 12 and without any prior notice or intimation whatsoever, which clearly indicates that the Respondents have acted beyond the terms of the contract.  The Respondents have acted in an arbitrary, highhanded and illegal manner and have clearly attempted to resile from their contractual obligations. The Respondents ought not to be permitted to misuse the Applicant’s copyrighted works, especially without making payment to her. The Respondents have not acted in terms of the agreement and are consequently, not entitled to any rights and benefits thereunder.
  8. The Applicant has received an email dated November 24, 2012 that her movie ‘Sleep’ will not be utilized by the Respondents. However, the Respondents have, even thereafter, continued to use the parts of ‘Sleep’ in their website and promotional materials and initiatives. The Respondents ought to be restrained from making any use of the copyrighted works of the Applicant.
  9. The Applicant has a good prima facie case. The Applicant will be put to enormous prejudice if the interim reliefs as prayed for are not granted. Whereas the Respondents will not suffer similar prejudice or hardship. Balance of convenience is in favour of the Applicant. The reliefs prayed for herein are in aid of arbitration that will be initiated by the Applicant against the Respondents.
    1. It is submitted that no loss or inconvenience will be caused to the Respondents if an order of injunction is passed restraining the Respondent from using any part of the script or the videos already shot by the Applicant in her film “Sleep” till the adjudication of the dispute.
    2. The Applicant states that she has invoked arbitration under Clause 29 of the Agreement between the Respondent and the Applicant. Clause 29 of the Agreement is extracted as follows:

            “Any dispute or differences arising out of or pertaining to this Agreement shall be referred to a sole arbitrator appointed by the Producer. Such arbitration proceedings shall be conducted in English at Delhi and/or Mumbai.”

24.       It is submitted that there are no suits or proceedings pending between the Applicant and Respondent in respect of the film “Sleep” and its script and on the same cause of action before any other forum or courts. The Applicants state that the balance of convenience for the grant of interim reliefs lies heavily in favour of the Applicants.

25.       Cause of Action: The entire cause of action has arisen within the jurisdiction of this Hon’ble Court. The Petitioner is residing in Mysore and have signed and sent the agreement dated 3 October, 2012 from Mysore by courier and was executed in couterparts. The Respondent have their Branch office in Bangalore. The agreement was terminated by an email received in Mysore. Further, the 12.12.12 collaborative project is to be released by way of an “online premier” where the movie will be uploaded in the website and all collaborating websites with Respondent and can be viewed by any one from any part of the country (including Karnataka). Thus this Court has the jurisdiction from restraining the Respondent from doing the uploading Applicant’s video in the website.  Section 2 (e) read with Section 42 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. Hence, this Hon’ble Court has jurisdiction to entertain this Petition.

26.       Limitation: The Applicant states that there is no delay in filing the present Application and same is within the limitation period.

27.       Valuation: The Applicants have paid fixed Court fees of Rs.__00/-. In view of the above, the Applicants humbly pray that:

(a)       a temporary order of injuction restrainin Respondent No.1 and No.2 and its servants officers or agents from using in any manner whatsoever including altering, displaying, transferring, telecasting or uploading in any manner the script of the film “Sleep” and the video of the movie “Sleep” including all the footages and shots ancillary to main film.

(b)       restrain the Respondents collectively from interfering with or obstructing the use of the name of the Applicant with her film “Sleep”

(c)     ad interim exparte relief in terms of prayer (a). (d) For costs arising in connection to filing the present application.

(e)       for such further and other reliefs as the nature and circumstances of the case may require.

Date     / December, 2012                                                    Advocate for Applicant

                   V  E  R  I  F  I  C  A  T  I  O  N

           I, Shilpa Munikempana, the Applicant, abovenamed do hereby solemnly state and declare that what is stated in paragraphs Nos.  to    of the above petition is true to my own knowledge, and what is stated in paragraphs Nos.    to   is based on information, belief and legal advice, which I believe to be true.

Solemnly declared at Mysore,    )

This      day of December, 2012                    )

BEFORE ME,

ADVOCATE

Advocates for the Applicant

An Open Letter to Anurag Kashyap and his 12.12.12 project. #kractivism


121212

LATEST UPDATE CLICK HERE

IMPACT OF POSTING THIS LETTER HERE, MESSAGE FROM THE FILMMAKER– ‘KRACKTIVISM”

( Within 3 hours after putting this post- picture abhi baak hai dost :-P)

“Shilpa has been refunded the expenses she incurred on making the film and Showhouse’s Large Short Films has promised to give her copyright over her work soon subsequent to the circulation of the open letter. She is waiting for it in writing. She stands by the issues she raised and thanks everyone for the immense kind support” Thanks Kamayani this would not have been possible without you. You are really awesome!

I am a Mysore based woman filmmaker who was chosen by you to be part of the Mega Movies project 12.12.12 executed by Showhouse Entertainment’s Large Short Films Wing. I am writing this open letter because I think public discourse is important given that over the years you have come to occupy such an important space within what you call ‘independent cinema’.

Also no one from the company that you endorse, as well as you, thinks it is important to have a dialogue with me about unpaid wages, disrespect and unfair dismissal which has caused me tremendous amount of financial, emotional stress. There is also a much touted save indie cinema doing the rounds and what it fails to add to the discourse (not surprising going by the kind of signatories it claims) is what I want to talk about. Changing the look of how you produce cinema and being backed by big studio capital isn’t really independent. I think it is important to bring this into the public domain as the silences around working practices result in the perpetuation of exploitative systems and weed out filmmakers based on their class, caste, gender, religion and language.

It was absolutely no surprise when I saw that the list of 12 directors included no woman. So apparently out of 600 entries only I, the sole woman, made it to the shortlist and because I decided to speak up and not be quiet about how my film was going to tortured and beaten into becoming the kind of objects that you seem to grant your blessings to, 12.12.12 is now officially an all male production.

I bring your notice to this because the tone of the company with regard to objections I raised has been patronising, condescending and dismissive. Well meaning friends and critics will tell me that’s how it works, that’s the industry,
the industry that works on free labour, meant for those who have the money to afford the time to chase dreams. It’s not meant for women like me who have no big daddies or brothers or husbands supporting them. It isn’t meant for women
like me who choose to work in a language other than Hindi and it definitely isn’t meant for women like me who don’t know how to waddle along consenting to practices that make people like you and the companies you endorse just richer
on the back of such exploitative practices.

You sent me an email stipulating that I would not be in touch with any of the other 11 directors (an effective way I must say to curb dissent and this goes by the name of being collaborative!) The contract also stipulated that I would be paid once I handed over the film contrary to what the rules on the contest page initially stated wherein I was supposed to have been given the money before Ivmade the film. This I was informed after having worked a full month on the project. I did sign it and I take full responsibility for that sign because you were the carrot dangled to me, the one ruling the roost in the film festival circuit and of course the Indian public funding circuit, what seemed like the only way to make one’s film. And since you must have been paid handsomely to be the carrot, I only ask that you own up to the full responsibility of it and be accountable to the carrot desirers you create.

After insisting that I get paid at least half I went ahead, after funds were released, and borrowed money to complete it. I hand over the film and fulfil my contractual obligations and then am bullied into changing and reshooting it for a mistake made by Asmit Pathare (Project director not the 12th discovery – check the shortlist!) and Abhijit Das (the godfather of short films in the making). So I naturally said no. You must understand how difficult it is for a director to hurt their stories? It’s kind of like being okay with Abhijit Das (Creative head of Largeshortfilms) adding on a scene where Manoj Bajpai spouts Feminist Marxist dialogues in Gangs of Wasseypur and without telling you! Wouldn’t really fit with the ethos of the film no? Your company even told me that since I do not have the resources I cannot be involved in the reshoot. At such a juncture I asked you not to use my film if I was not being reimbursed and no, you go ahead and use it. The matchbox still from my film is still up on the company’s website.

In a country with absolutely zilch funding for independent films you exploit the hopes of thousands of aspirants. You reiterate a certain way of working which accommodates only a certain type of filmmaker. This in my world is called cheating, it’s called immoral and it’s called unfair. In your world all this is grey, this hijacking that you do of a space that has seen so much struggle and such amazing cinema, this hijacking of language – calling it collaborative when it’s more dictatorial, this hijacking of image, of new film waves, of new ways of working. One of the most exciting things about globalised capitalism’s current avatar (as Hardt and Negri will tell you) is that even though it creates systems like you it also provides for ruptures like me.

Before you come back with a reply to this I ask you to re‐look at emails that you sent me and words you relayed to me through the company about my filmmaking. Everything that I have said is backed by evidence (I know too well
how important that is) I know this open dissent will cost me. I’m not naïve not to understand as to how you rule visibilities around distribution and production but I will walk away knowing that I have spoken and that this is just the beginning not the end of the road for me. For those of you reading this I understand that within the larger framework of what we call injustice in this country this is nothing but when we start to look at continuums everything does matter and support for this would really help not just me but for all those who are engaged in changing the way images speak.

From the 12th director who so mysteriously disappeared
Shilpa Munikempanna
munikempannaproductions@gmail.com

contact- 9611843981

#India’s Cash course- will it succeed ?


As the government gets ready to roll out its ambitious cash transfer of subsidies scheme on January 1, an on-the-ground report on how the experiments are working outVeenu Sandhu, Santosh Tiwari & Indulekha Aravind / New Delhi/ Bangalore

Dec 08, 2012, 00:10 IST , Buisness Standard

M B Chinnappa, chief manager of State Bank of Mysore, has been rushing from one meeting to another. It’s his job to ensure that by December 15, at least one member of each of the 535,000 households in Mysore district has a bank account. The account will be linked to his unique identity number, Aadhaar, and subsidies for different welfare schemes will be transferred directly to the account from January 1. For Chinnappa, the challenge is to make sure that over 200,000 accounts are opened in a little over a week in the 360 bank branches in the district. “Efforts have been launched on a war footing and I’m sure we will meet the target,” says Chinnappa, before rushing off to his next appointment at the Akashvani station where he is scheduled to give an interview on the subject which will be broadcast all over Karnataka.

Men like Chinnappa have been galvanised into action for what is being seen as the biggest governance reform of recent times: transfer of subsidies directly to the poor and needy. The spin doctors of the United Progressive Alliance, or UPA, have begun to call it a game changer — something that will help it overcome the negativity generated by recent scams before the 2014 general elections. The political overtures of the tagline leave nothing to the imagination: Aapka paisa aapke haath (Your money in your hand; the Congress’s election symbol is the hand).

Ever since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced at Dudu in Rajasthan on October 20, in the presence of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, that the scheme would soon be unveiled, his office has worked overtime to ensure that it is launched in 51 districts on January 1, 2013, and the entire country by April 1, 2014. The real force behind the initiative is none other than Rahul Gandhi.

The starting point was the observation made by his father, the late Rajiv Gandhi, that only 15 paisa out of every rupee given in subsidy reaches the poor. From the government, it is being piloted by Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh. He is supported by Finance Minister P Chidambaram who had, when he was home minister, raised serious doubts about the Aadhaar drive. Singh’s principal secretary, Pulok Chaterji, a bureaucrat known to be close to the Gandhis, is coordinating between the various agencies.

Nandan Nilekani, the Infosys promoter and honcho who left the corporate world to head the Unique Identification Authority of India, or UIDAI, is overseeing the Aadhaar rollout. That’s actually the real challenge. The Aadhaar numbers currently stand at 220 million, about 18 per cent of the country’s population. And about 40 per cent of these enrollments have come from just two states: Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. Nilekani’s job is to enroll another 400 million by April 2014 in 16 states (the rest of the country will be covered by the home ministry in its National Population Register), or about 25 million a month.

Recent numbers aren’t encouraging. At the most, UIDAI has done 24.7 million enrollments in a month (January this year). In the last four months, enrollments have ranged from 5.31 million to 11.6 million a month. In at least half of the 51 districts that will go live with cash transfers from January 1, the target of 80 per cent Aadhaar penetration is yet to be achieved.

To begin with, the government plans to put 29 social schemes on cash transfer mode. These include payments of wages and pensions. The first pilot was run in four districts of Jharkhand a year ago; wages under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme were put into the bank accounts of more than 3,500 beneficiaries using their Aadhaar numbers. In Aurangabad, Maharashtra, pensions under five social-security schemes are now paid on the basis of Aadhaar. Another pilot for pensions is running in Tripura. That’s the easy bit. The tough part will be fuel, food and fertiliser subsidies. The first of these will be fuel subsidy: kerosene and liquefied petroleum gas, or LPG.

* * *

Kotkasim, a block of 24 villages in Alwar district of Rajasthan, some 180 km south of Delhi, is where the pilot on kerosene is being carried out. Since last December, ration shops here no longer sell kerosene at the subsidised price of Rs 15 a litre; it’s sold at Rs 50 a litre (the price was recently raised from Rs 45 a litre). The difference is put into the bank accounts of the people by the government. There are 25,000 ration-cards in Kotkasim. Those with two LPG cylinders were told that they are not entitled to subsidised kerosene. Finally, 20,000 eligible beneficiaries were identified. Those with a gas connection could buy two litres of kerosene, and those without could buy three litres. As many as 14,000 new bank accounts were opened. The subsidy for the next three months, which ranged from Rs 175 to Rs 263, was deposited in each account. Subsequent subsidy would be deposited into the accounts of only those ration-card holders who buy the kerosene from the ration shops.

Kerosene, admit both the shopkeepers and ration-card holders, was being sold in bulk to anybody who came armed with ration cards. At Rs 15 a litre, it was much cheaper than diesel (around Rs 42 a litre) and was used to run generators, water pumps and, as one dealer claims, even tractors after mixing it with diesel. Not every family in this rather well-to-do area needed three litres of kerosene a month and would willingly lend their ration cards to proxy buyers, for a cut of course. The difference between the market price and the subsidised one was a huge incentive for shopkeepers to divert supplies. Most succumbed to the temptation.

The year-old pilot project has, however, put an end to this. “Kerosene sale in the area, which was about 84,000 litres a month a year ago, has plunged by nearly 70 per cent,” says Alwar District Collector Ashutosh A T Pednekar with evident satisfaction. This, he claims, has happened because leakages have stopped and the black market has disappeared. Shopkeepers and buyers, on their part, say many poor people can’t afford to buy kerosene any longer. Maybe they’ve found some other use for the money, though liquor shops and sweetmeat sellers haven’t seen any noteworthy rise in demand. People also blame the administration, saying it doesn’t deposit the money on time in their accounts.

There are other problems too. Dharamvir Singh Chaudhary has been running a ration shop in Kotkasim for 13 years. Till last year, he would get 1,800 litre of kerosene a month and every drop of it would get sold. His commission was 90 paisa a litre. Now, he has to buy kerosene at Rs 50 but the commission remains the same, 90 paisa. This has seriously cut his return on investment. “Initially, the district supply officer gave each dealer a cheque of Rs 3,000 to compensate for this sudden burden, but we’ve got nothing since then. On top of that, I’m straddled with this,” he says pointing to the 220-litre drum of kerosene lying in the courtyard in front of his shop. “The government is forcing us to buy it and stock it.”

Last month, after much resistance, Chaudhary bought two drums (440 litre) for Rs 22,000 from the supply van. “The inspector said if I don’t stock it, my licence as dealer would be cancelled,” he says, calling it blackmail. He then decided to pass on this “burden” to the people who came to buy ration from his shop. “We [the shopkeepers] told them that if they wanted to buy wheat from our shops, they would have to first buy kerosene,” he admits, adding that he managed to “get rid of” one drum between 90 ration-card holders. Nirmala Devi, another shopkeeper, wants her commission to be raised from 90 paisa a litre to Rs 5-6.

Beneficiaries make numerous visits to the designated banks (State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank and Rajasthan Gramin Bank) to find out if the subsidy has come into their accounts. But there are others, daily-wage earners, who cannot afford to make even one trip. The villages in Kotkasim are spread out; some are 17 km away from the bank. One trip to the bank would mean a day’s work gone, a day’s wages (Rs 150-300) lost.

Sensing a business opportunity, a team from Vodafone has been visiting Kotkasim to study the feasibility for mobile-banking solutions. Teams from Kerala and Chhattisgarh too have descended on Kotkasim to study its cash transfer model. The verdict: the administration is satisfied, shopkeepers are hassled and consumers confused.

* * *

Several hundred miles to the south, in Mysore, another pilot was launched in January this year for the targeted delivery of LPG cylinders using Aadhaar: gas connections will be linked to the Aadhaar number. In the next phase, consumers will be given the subsidy directly in their banks. The district was chosen for its high Aadhaar enrollment rate — till last month, 94.8 per cent of the total population of 2.99 million had enrolled. Three gas agencies have been chosen for the experiment, one each of state-owned IndianOil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum.

At his swank IndianOil agency in Vani Vilas Market, Vinod Maroli says he has delivered close to 18,000 cylinders so far in this manner. (The agency has over 25,000 customers.) The new delivery mechanism has helped check diversion to the black market, says Maroli. Due to the streamlining of the process, the number of days a customer has to wait for a new cylinder has gone down from seven to two. Tellingly, the number of cylinders the agency delivers has also reduced, though Maroli cannot say by how much. “But the fact that there has been a 40 per cent dip in product movement across the country should give you an idea of the scale,” he says.

An IndianOil executive, requesting anonymity, says the results have been encouraging. “We have established that the first phase [the delivery of cylinders via Aadhaar biometric identification] works, so now we have to test the next stage,” he says. All three agencies have delivered around 40,000 cylinders that were Aadhaar-verified since the scheme was launched in January, he says, and subsidy transfers have already taken place in small groups. At the moment, all agencies in the district have been asked to focus on ensuring their customers have Aadhaar-linked bank accounts, he adds. From January, the project will go live. The first phase seems to have gone off without glitches. The next phase is the acid test.

However confident State Bank of Mysore’s Chinnappa may be, it will be no mean task to ensure that over 200,000 people open bank accounts in the space of a week. Many feel that the deadline could well be postponed. At the food and civil supplies department, the overseeing authority for LPG cylinders, officials are unclear about the next phase of the Aadhaar pilot, saying they are yet to receive any kind of official notification of the January 1 rollout. “Whatever we know is from what we read in the newspapers,” says one of them.

 

 

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