The Mommy Market #Sundayreading


 

#India- Your Aadhaar data is being misused by banks #mustshare #privacy #UID


Couple in Colaba were shocked when a bank sent a letter to their 10-yr-old daughter, without their knowledge or consent, saying an account had been opened in her name with details taken from UID

January 24, 2013
MUMBAI
Naveen Nair

Heading out to enroll for a unique identity? Think twice before you provide your personal details while filling out the forms: the possibility of your personal details being leaked to a third party cannot be ruled out.

Aadhaar
1: Applicants submit personal information of their family in the UID application form

Take for instance this couple based in Colaba, who were alarmed when a letter (see pic) arrived at their doorstep last week from the Indian Overseas Bank (IOB). It was addressed to their 10-year-old daughter, and claimed that a Savings Bank (SB) account had been opened under her name.

Aadhaar
2: UID centre forwards the information to banks

The family is now racked with anxiety, having no clue how their personal data reached bank officials without their knowledge or consent. While the bank officials claim that the data is directly sent to them by the central government, UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) officials say that no such information is forwarded to the banks without the consent of the applicant.

Aadhaar
3: Bank uses the information to open accounts and then informs the customer about it. Graphics/Amit Bandre

Surprise package
Reshma Puri and her daughter Anamika (names changed on request) had applied for Aadhaar cards around eight months ago. Both already had existing accounts with banks other than IOB. Imagine their shock last week when the mailman delivered the letter from IOB. The letter, posted from the Nariman Point branch of IOB, claimed that an SB account in Anamika’s name had been opened on October 13, 2012, based on her Aadhaar details. The letter further requested her to visit the branch within 15 days armed with her Aadhaar ID card, to complete the procedure and activate the account.

Aadhaar

A worried Reshma said, “The current accommodation we live in is provided by the government, and is thus transferable. My husband and I were both present when we applied for our daughter’s Aadhaar card, and we made sure that all the details were entered correctly. We are sure that we did not give any consent for an account to be opened for our daughter in any bank.”

She added, “We are surprised to see that our personal details have reached IOB officials, and they have forcefully opened an SB account. How can the UIDAI decide to share our data with a random bank and what if the provided data is misused? Aren’t we risking our personal security by providing our personal details during enrolment?

It is a kind of spam wherein the government and its subsidiaries are misusing our private information.” The final paragraph of the letter from IOB letter further requests the applicant to furnish the names, addresses and occupations of friends and relatives, particularly those staying abroad, so that the bank may contact them.

Spam or data theft?
Acknowledging the concerns raised by the Puris, Vijay Mukhi, a cyber expert, said, “I don’t believe that the government directly provides such data to any banks, it is lower rank officials working at private agencies to whom the UID data collection work is outsourced. It is the sole responsibility of the government to ensure that it is not leaked.”

Asked if the use of private information for marketing activities would fit the definition of spam, Mukhi said, “Spam is a smaller issue, this is a clear-cut case of data theft and should be looked into more seriously.” He suggested that the government implement measures that prevent others from copying such information from the database.

Reshma further explained that since their current residence is transferable, any such letter addressed to her daughter may arrive at the address in future in their absence, and a stranger may use the letter and operate the account facilities using forged documents.

Bank clarifies
H Mahadev, regional vigilance officer (RVO), IOB, said, “The central government started this process of opening accounts linked to a person’s Aadhaar details about five months ago. The sole purpose of opening these accounts is to channelise the subsidies provided by the government to the Aadhaar cardholder. These accounts are generated directly and accommodated into our system and then bifurcated to respective branches based on the applicant’s residential address.”

He added, “The accounts are generated based on the consent provided by applicants at the time of his Aadhaar enrolment. If the applicant does not wish to operate this account, he or she should submit a letter mentioning the same.” Asked why details of friends and relatives were requested in the same letter, Mahadev said, “This is not part of the instruction provided by the central government. The respective branch may have included these requests as a part of their promotional activity.”

An official from the Nariman Point branch confirmed issuing a letter to Puri, saying, “We have received nearly 6,000 sets of data from our regional office and have randomly circulated letters to all the residents in our ward. Usually the account is expected to be opened in the name of the family’s head in order to avail of the government subsidy. Nearly 2,000 accounts have been activated and most of them are for local fishermen, who are likely to get their first subsidy by the year end.” Asked how a minor was sent the letter, the officer blamed it on system error, saying they are computer generated.

UIDAI’s take
Gurudutt Ray, assistant director general, UIDAI, said, “The central government does not directly open any accounts in a random nationalised bank. We do direct the banks to open an account linked to the Aadhaar details, if the applicant provides his consent for the same. In this case the applicant may have selected the option for opening a bank account linked to his Aadhaar number and IOB being in their vicinity, could have been directed to open the account.” Ray denied that personal data related to applicants is being provided to banks. He claimed that applicants have no obligation to activate the account.

Lawyers explain
No bank can unilaterally set up an account for you. In the case of minors, the guardian’s consent is necessary. If there is no consent, either express or implied, there is no way that an account can be set up that is basic contract law.
Aditya Ajgaonkar, Advocate

There are know your customer (KYC) norms framed by the Reserve Bank of India which clearly say the customer has to open a bank account. Moreover, how can they open up a bank account which has no initial deposit in it?
Jabbar Shaikh, Advocate

 

Mumbai riots 1992-93: The days that changed the city


pci courtesy- Himag Mag

 

By Quaid Najmi | IANS India Private Limited – 16 hours ago

Mumbai, Dec 6 (IANS) It was a rather cool evening in the second week of December 1992 when I was permitted to leave early – to rush from south Mumbai’s Nariman Point to the northwest suburb of Borivli, at the other end of the city.

At 7 p.m., as I warily entered the Churchgate station, I stopped in my tracks: it was eerily empty! On normal weekdays, every inch was occupied with commuters in the day, especially the morning-evening peak hours.

That night I travelled virtually alone in the train, barring the motorman and guard, and maybe a suspicious commuter getting in briefly at one of the 20 railway stations en route.

That was what Mumbai had degenerated into after the Dec. 6, 1992, razing of the Babri mosque, in faraway Ayodhya. It was among certain cities in the country which bore the brunt in the aftermath of the demolition.

It had erupted into a frenzy of riots, senseless killings, mobs brazenly moving around armed with sticks, rods, swords, chains, bottles, bulbs and tubelights to maim or kill. The riots continued thus in two phases Dec 7-27, 1992, followed by a brief lull, and then again Jan 7-25, 1993 – making them the worst sectarian riots in the post-Independence era.

Such was the fear even among mediapersons, who worked late hours, that many offices temporarily changed the timings for their staff members, especially those in the sensitive category, and even organised overnight boarding-lodging in local hotels.

At times, mediapersons grouped together for a particular train – and discovered that only 10-12 people occupied an entire suburban local into which 5,000 commuters were normally packed!

Surprisingly, during the day – barring some pockets – Mumbai remained calm and peaceful, with people going about their normal routine. Like the proverbial vampires, the killer beasts started lurking around the city’s streets and alleys after dark.

Besides the direct victims, also hit was Mumbai’s legendary, rocking nightlife, its erstwhile dance bars which have featured in practically all the top international media, the non-stop night-long parties, lavish weddings, movies and theatres, shopping or simply night outs at the beaches, gardens and other public places.

Even the popular all-night joints like Bade Miyan in Colaba and Haji Ali Juice Centre where you could be chewing into a ‘Baida-Roti’ or an exotic milkshake with stars like Saif Ali Khan, Amrita Singh, Jackie Shroff, ministers, policemen and other top officials, leading businesspersons and others jostling for elbow space at the open counters, were deserted.

Though some of these have revived with extra precautions, there is always a warning for the youngsters: “Take care, come home early,” – unheard of prior to the riots.

According to official estimates, the two-phased riots claimed nearly 900 lives, including policemen. Many hundreds are reported missing and presumed dead for years. Public and private properties worth billions of rupees was destroyed and the spirit of Mumbai was shaken to its roots.

This writer and many others travelled in armed police vehicles – some luckier ones in army vehicles – which fanned out to control the rioters who seemed to appear from nowhere, create mayhem and disappear.

Finally, the army found a way to control the riots – without firing a single bullet or even raising a baton in warning. It deployed two of its ferocious dogs, each the size of a pony, before huge crowds of 3,000-5,000. The trained dogs were simply let loose on the mobs, which practically turned invisible in seconds!

Finding that the barking dogs were more effective than the biting variety without a single casualty, they were regularly deployed in various sensitive areas. After the riots, the two dogs were accorded due recognition – a front page lead photograph in a prominent city daily!

With revenge taken by both sides, the two-phased mass riots finally ended – though some small pockets continued to brun for a few more weeks.

Mumbaikars heaved a sigh of relief – but not for long as March 12, 1993 witnessed what was India’s first retaliatory serial bomb explosions hitting Mumbai from the southern parts right into the suburbs at quick intervals. It was also the country’s first home-bred, non-terror attack, perpetrated by the underground and with a precision that remained unmatched for years afterwards.

After making all the right noises, the politicians at the centre and the state got down to brasstacks – politicking – with sackings, replacements or removals of officials and politicians, change of governments, et al.

One of the most hailed inquiry reports, of the Justice B. N. Srikrishna Commission which probed the riots and the bomb blasts also came out later, but most recommendations remained unimplemented.

A little-known 40-year-old lawyer from Jalgaon, Ujjwal Nikam, was appointed to lead the blasts trial which he achieved with flying colours and attained international celebrity status.

After handling some of the most high-profile cases in the country, Nikam crowned it with the with the 26/11 Mumbai attacks case in which Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab was hanged Nov 21, 2012.

But, 20 years later, the original soul of Bombay is missing somewhere.

 

Indo-Asian News Service

 

Waiting For A Disaster?- Rohini Hensman


OPINION
Waiting For A Disaster?
Hope for redevelopment of the aging and degrading housing stock in coastal areas, provided by the new Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, has been belied in the 15 months after it was published.
ROHINI HENSMAN in Outlook
The purpose of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification when it was issued in 1991 was to protect the environment along the coast by restricting what could be done in these areas. CRZ was divided into various categories according to the degree of vulnerability of the environment, and in some areas, no construction was to be allowed. In CRZ II—already built-up areas along the coast—the Floor Space Index (the ratio between the total area of a plot and the built-up floor-space on it) was frozen at what it was at the time the Notification was passed. In Bombay (as it was then), this was 1.33 for the Island City and 1 for the suburbs.

To the extent that the regulation has been implemented, it has indeed protected the environment. However in Mumbai, where a large part of the city falls into the coastal zone, a problem has arisen in the case of old, dilapidated and unsafe buildings. In other parts of the city, residents who cannot afford the costs of redeveloping their old buildings can attract builders to undertake the task by offering them extra FSI, which the builders can sell and make a profit. In CRZ areas, this is not possible. As buildings age, the possibility of mishaps and even collapse increases, and residents are put at risk.

The new CRZ Notification of 6 January 2011 that was issued by the ministry of environment and forests when Jairam Ramesh was minister seeks to provide a remedy to this problem. It states clearly that in Greater Mumbai there are ‘a large number of old and dilapidated, cessed and unsafe buildings in the CRZ areas, and due to their age these structures are extremely vulnerable and disaster prone. There is therefore an urgent need for the redevelopment or reconstruction of these identified buildings…The Floor Space Index (FSI) or Floor Area Ratio for such redevelopment schemes shall be in accordance with the Town and Country Planning Regulations prevailing as on the date on which the project is granted approval by the competent authority.’ (pp. 23–24) In other words, the new CRZ guidelines assume that the Maharashtra state government and the BMC will soon be allotting a higher FSI to buildings in these categories in order to encourage their redevelopment, with the express aim of minimizing danger to the lives and homes of residents.

Mr Ramesh’s notification was published 15 months ago, yet to date there has been not a single announcement by either the state government or the Commissioner of any revised Planning Regulations that would allow older and less safe buildings in CRZ areas to be redeveloped with a sense of urgency. When an old (1968) building near Haji Ali by the name of Vellard View recently suffered extensive structural damage and partial collapse due to a landslide, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and the BMC reportedly refused to grant any extra FSI to the residents for redevelopment of their building. The residents were forced into accepting a substantial cut in their carpet areas to be able to finance reconstruction through a builder.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner Subodh Kumar has been lobbying for a 36-km coastal road that will run from Nariman Point to Kandivli, that is slated to cost Rs 8000 crores and has even been described as the Chief Minister’s ‘dream project’. The Maharashtra government’s priorities are truly shocking! Redevelopment in already built-up areas has no negative impact on the environment, whereas a coastal road would tear up the last of Mumbai’s beaches, massively interfere with tidal movements, destroy mangroves and fishing communities, and generate vastly more pollution than the city already suffers from. But apparently cars matter more than people!

Since the new CRZ regulations were issued at the start of last year, there have two significant policy changes involving the allocation and definition of FSI. The first was the state government’s decision to allow the suburbs to enjoy an additional floor space index of 0.33 to iron out a long-standing disparity between them and the Island City. The second has been a new and tighter definition of what counts as FSI, that now includes a whole series of structural elements that were previously treated as exempt. Because the new definition has a substantial impact on their margins, builders are now allowed a “compensatory” FSI of 35% (or 0.35), for which they have to pay a premium except where redevelopment projects are involved.

Since both policy moves are about what counts as “basic” FSI, logically they should be applicable to those categories of CRZ buildings for which Jairam Ramesh’s regulation has made special provision, since the FSI norms have now been upgraded. Yet the plain fact is that there is so little transparency or public understanding of what the state authorities’ policy is for these buildings that builders are currently taking the stand that neither of these changes applies to any set of buildings in CRZ II. In short, all buildings in the suburban CRZ areas remain stuck at an FSI of 1, regardless of the precarious state of many of these structures.

As the housing stock in the coastal areas ages and degrades, repairs are no longer feasible beyond a certain point, which is why Mr Ramesh’s CRZ notification of 2011 sought to encourage redevelopment in those areas as a key priority. Obviously no one seems to be listening at this end. Or are they waiting for a disaster to happen before they move?


Rohini Hensman is a novelist and writer. She lives in one of the old buildings that the current regulations are dooming to stagnation

“1000 steps” walk against Malnutrition, What an idea Sir ji ?


March 31, 2012, Kamayani Bali Mahabal

The Prime Minister  Manmohan Singh has recognized the harsh reality of malnutrition in India by saying “India‘s “unacceptably high” levels of child malnutrition are a “national shame”. Our State women and child welfare minister  Varsha Gaikwad  in the assembly’s winter session  last year in Nagpur  admitted on the floor of the house that only 68 children were dying daily in Maharashtra , and our State Health  Minister, Suresh Shetty walks “ 1000” steps against  Malnutrition. (http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-03-25/mumbai/31236503_1_priya-dutt-tara-sharma-mothers)

Last Saturday, on March 24,  Mr Suresh Shetty with his vast  z- security , Page 3 celebrities and Bollywood stars , came together in their best dresses ,coming together after a hearty breakfast , at  the posh area of  South Mumbai, Nariman Point‘s NCPA complex ,  to  participate in the 1000 Steps walk  sponsored by Nestle and Times to India , to underline the importance of nutrition for mothers and their children, right from conception to the first two years of life.  One will  not find a soul on a Saturday mornings, except building  Guards.   The people who reached were the  Elite living around Nariman Point, Colaba, Marine Drive for a 1000 Steps Walk. But who were they walking for ? Were those people  there ? How absurd can you be, holding a march against malnutrition at Nariman point ?

A walk sponsored by Nestle, what am I missing here  ? Sponsoring what  Cerelac and  Lacotgen  for the participants ? Our Health Minister did not know that on March 19th , Delhi  Metropolitan Magistrate , after 17 years has charged Nestle India for violating the law (Infant Milk Substitutes Feeding Bottles, and Infant Foods (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act.) in advertisements and labelling of its infant food products. Does our Health Minister know that  its important to enforce this law to protect mothers and children from the commercial influence.The Infant Milk Substitutes Act was brought in to regulate production, supply and distribution of infant milk substitutes, feeding bottles and infant foods to protect and promote breastfeeding and ensure the proper use of these food products.

Nestle through their products – Lactogen and Cerelac – had violated several sections of the Act by not printing the notice ‘mother’s milk is best for your baby’ in Hindi and also by not printing the warning that ‘Infant milk substitute or infant food is not the sole source of nourishment for an infant’ on the containers of Lactogen. The  warning was not printed in the size prescribed and all the mandatory information was not present in advertisements .

The march if at all ,  should have been  diverted to  Govandi, as same day same time there was a huge public meeting on the issue of Malnurtition co organsied by  Anna Adhikar Abhiyan, Anna Adhikar Abhiyan, Maharashtra, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Jan Arogya Abhiyan,  there.   Govandi  where more than 75%  of  its population lives in slums and the  Human Development Index (HDI) is the lowest in the city, at a mere 0.2.  Healthcare is inadequate; the population per hospital is nearly 66,881. It has the highest infant mortality rate (IMR) in the city — nearly 66.47 deaths per thousand births, where Mumbai’s average is 40 per 1000 births.

Forty-five-thousand children die of malnutrition every year in the state, according to ‘A report on nutritional crisis in Maharashtra’ by the Pune-based organisation Sathi-Cehat. One-third of adults are underweight, and 15% severely underweight. The report points out that chronic hunger is not confined to rural areas, as is popularly believed; urban populations in coastal regions, including the city of Mumbai, have the highest prevalence of calorie deficiency (43%) in the state. Calculations made using the per-consumer-unit-calories norm of 2,400 in rural areas and 2,100 in urban areas reveals that the incidence of calories-based poverty is 54% in rural areas and 39.5% in urban areas

The Maharashtra government had planned to bring down the number of malnourished children in the state by providing them with packaged food. The idea might have been noble but the government, it seems, forgot to run quality checks. As a result, the food supplied is substandard and the number of children dying of malnutrition has gone up substantially.  The State government statistics peg the number of children (0-6 years age group) who died of malnutrition between January and August  2011  as  18,486. The figure for the same period in 2010 was 12,792. So, this means 5,694 more babies diedLst  year.

 Investment  Rs 300 crore were spent in Maharashtra  for Take homes Ration ( THS ) scheme and the Returns-40% of children in Mumbai with low birth-weight.

Take Home Ration (THR) scheme has been a failure. Health workers mostly pay out of their pockets to clear unused THR. The food packets supplied as THR (Take Home Ration) are devoid of any nutrition and taste. Children and parents are reluctant to take these raw food items home, as they are made of low-grade ingredients, which get spoilt in a short period of time. Last month these packets were thrown by people  in garbage after finding fungi and termites in them.

THR scheme is way short in calories, also children between six months and three years can barely accept the food: sheera, upma, sattu and sukhdi (meant for adolescent girls). Of the four, sheera is the most important as it is recommended for and given to severely malnourished children at least thrice daily. In one of the series on malnutrition it was reported by DNA ” A nutritional analysis test  on the food provided by Anacon Laboratories Pvt Ltd, Nagpur, showed 3g of protein and 42 calories less (sample size was 100g) than the amount mentioned on the packets. Upma and sukhdi had 75 and 70 calories less.”

So, instead of  walking “1000 steps”,  Mr Suresh Shetty you should provide home cooked food to children between age of 0 -6 in Angawadis,  Disband the THR Scheme and  Implement the ICDS scheme for children, in true letter and spirit.  and I hope next time  , MP Priya Dutt  and Bollywood stars like  Amole Gupte ,  Konkona Sen Sharma and  Tara Sharma , when accept any invitation on a cause  I hope they reach out to the People affected, rather  than  a  mere tokenism , So how does this idea sound Sir ji ?

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