#India – Identity crisis slows Aadhaar rollout #UID #biometrics


Ajanta Chakraborty, TNN | Jun 15, 2013, 03.55 AM IST



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Many residents, after waiting in long queues for biometric identification, have ended up with mistaken identities as their National Resident Identity Card (NRIC) – loosely called the ” Aadhaar” card – display the wrong data.



Blame it on the new software (Aadhaar version which, while enrolling a resident into the system, would wrongly provide the name of his home district. Documents available with TOI reveal that several residents of Cossipore, Baghbazar, Shyambazar, Hatkhola, Beadon Street, Dum Dum, Ghugudanga, Alambazar, Baranagar, Belgachia, Motijheel, Bediapara and Noapara have been enrolled as living in Bankura. Strangely enough, the identification data displays Kolkata as a sub-district.



Residents of Bansdroni, who were enrolled as living in the sub-district of Budge Budge-1 and the district of South 24-Parganas, were one of the lucky few to have had the mistake rectified. Others have been given wrong pin-codes, even though most of the other relevant data is correct.



The mismatch of data has made collating impossible. Consequently, NPR programmes are being stalled in several areas. A ruckus erupted recently at Nurpur at Diamond Harbour, South 24-Parganas, when residents realized that the master data contained wrong inputs, sources said.



They said pin codes weren’t available at the Srifalberia mouja in the same district, and the enrolment camps had to be folded up. Trouble erupted in areas like Tollygunge and Diamond Harbour because even after verification, the errors could not be corrected as the new software has no provision for rectification. Once the enrolment is done, the census directorate, with help from local civic bodies, uplink the data and the unique identification number is generated and sent to individuals by post in the form of the Resident Identity Card (RIC).



Progress of biometric enrolment has been tardy in Bengal, which has long kicked off the process of collecting biometric imprints to create the NPR, with only about 22 per cent of the population of the 9.1 crore being covered. The pilot project for Howrah is over, but work in North Dinajpur, Bankura and Purulia is yet to commence.



Officials in the state census directorate, which is implementing NPR, revealed that the implementation of the “Aadhaar” card is likely to suffer a bigger jolt because of the flawed software. “Since an individual will be provided with his 12-digit unique identification only once in his lifetime, the mistakes should be corrected either in the second round of biometric identification or done centrally through the census directorate which functions directly under the aegis of the Register General of India (RGI),” a census directorate official said.



N S Nigam, district magistrate, South 24-Parganas, admitted to “some problems” in a few blocks. “The pin codes are different and the names of the district wrongly enrolled,” he said. Sanjay Bansal, DM of North 24-Parganas also said there were “issues related to pin codes”. State officials admit that the progress of NPR was “very slow” indeed.



P K Majumdar, acting director of census operations, said, “I am not authorized to speak to the media.” Calls to S K Chakraborty, deputy director general, Register General of India (RGI), went unanswered.





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

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

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

imageIllustration: Anirban Bora


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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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



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

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


Allowing private entry


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


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


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


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


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


Government as customer


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


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


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


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




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


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


Data for a price


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


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


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


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



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

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


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

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


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


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


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


In the context of the UID project:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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



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




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

ET, March 25, 2013


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




#India- Biometric Marginality #UID #Aadhaar #homeless #migrants

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Vol – XLVIII No. 13, March 30, 2013 | Ursula Rao Review of Urban Affairs Review Issues





Debates on India‘s Unique Identification Number project have so far been based on the analysis of economic data, emerging legal frameworks, policy procedure, and technology. This paper shifts the focus to examine the implementation of the UID project in sites of urban marginality. A study of homeless citizens demonstrates that the usages of UID have not shifted the goalposts but are developing along the lines of established citizen-state relationships in both the empowering and excluding dimensions of the UID. To capture the social impact of UID, debates must move beyond the notion that the transformative potential rests in technology or abstract policy and study the ways it is made available to people in their everyday life.



Download full article here



Press Release– #India- Biometric Identity Card #UID #Aadhaar

PIB, march 12, 2013


The mandate of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is to issue Unique Identity Numbers (Aadhaar) to all residents of the country and not a card. The UIDAI is generating Aadhaar numbers and communicating it to the residents through a letter. The Resident Identity (smart) Cards (RIC) bearing the Aadhaar number would be issued by the Registrar General of Citizen Registration. The RIC would enable both online and offline authentication of identity in a secure manner and will complement the efforts of Aadhaar. The proposal for issuance of Resident Identity (smart) Cards to all the usual residents in the country who are of age 18 years and above under the scheme of creation of NPR has been appraised by the Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) and recommended at an estimated cost of Rs. 5552.55 crore. The Union Cabinet, in its meeting on 31.01.2013, has considered the proposal and referred the same to a Group of Ministers (GoM). The GoM has since been constituted. To minimize the duplication of efforts between NPR and UIDAI, the Government has decided that the NPR enrolments will continue as envisaged but if in the course of enrolment, a person indicates she/he is already enrolled for Aadhaar, the biometric data will not be captured for NPR. Instead the Aadhaar number will be recorded in NPR and the biometric data will be sourced from the UIDAI.

This was stated by Shri R.P.N.Singh, Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs in written reply to a question by Shri P.Karunakaran in the Lok Sabha today.


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

By Newzfirst Correspondent3/2/13

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

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

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

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

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

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


Press Release- UID, NPR, and Governance #Aadhaar # Biometrics

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On March 2nd 2013 the Centre for Internet and Society and the Say No to UID campaign held the workshop “UID, NPR, and Governance” at TERI Bangalore. The workshop focused on understanding the present state of the UID and the NPR project and its impact on governance. Questions that were discussed included “What is the UID and NPR”, “how do the NPR and UID transform governance”, and “how do NPR and UID impact citizenship.”

Speaking at the conference, Usha Ramanthan, legal researcher and human rights activist, discussed the differences between the UID project and the NPR project. For example, NPR is legally backed by a statute (though the collection of biometrics under the NPR scheme is not legally backed) whereas the UIDAI is backed only by an executive order. UID will issue a number, while the NPR is the prelude to the National Citizens Register. Thus, it is only a Register. NPR is mandatory while the UID is voluntary. On this note she highlighted the fact that though according to the UIDAI the UID number is voluntary, the UIDAI does not stop, and in fact encourages, other organizations and entities to make the number mandatory. In this way the UID number is becoming compulsory through other means. She also pointed out that the UIDAI stated in a notification that that it will own the data collected and stored in the database. Thus, when individuals hand over information, they are handing over ownership of their data. She closed her presentation by highlighting that not only has the Indian government not bothered to amend the Citizenship Rules to include the collection of biometric data, but also that when the State chooses to implement projects while not following traditional legal procedures, it essentially empowers itself to function in a non-legal way. In this way, it is not necessarily about the UID or the NPR, but instead it’s more about the idea of the state profiling citizens and the technologies which enable it.

Anant Maringanti, geographer at Hyderabad Urban Lab and Right to the City Foundation, spoke on UID and governance. Opening his presentation, he discussed how initially the UID had the potential to be enabling, as it had the ability of creating a way to connect an individual’s presence via an identity. This is particularly important as India’s economy and governance system is dramatically changing. For example, there is mobility of financial capital in India today. Yet, it is concerning that no one is challenging the way in which the UID is being pushed through across the country and the way it is being implemented. For example, students in various states in India are being required to obtain numbers as a prerequisite to attend school. Furthermore, 77 lakh duplicate UID numbers have been found, yet no action has been taken other than discarding one of them. Closing his presentation he noted that for many people the UID is no different than the ration card. This is problematic as the data collection through the UID is vastly different from the ration card, especially as linking biometric data to various databases exposes the data to the potential of fraud.  He also noted that the UID targets marginalized groups with the promise of an identity, yet the UID could expose some of the most vulnerable groups in India.

Other topics discussed at the conference included RTI’s sent to the UIDAI, the impact of the UID and NPR on less privileged classes, and ways to take pro-active action. The audience asked questions about whether UID was mandatory or compulsory, if biometrics were necessary in either scheme, and whether the NPR will also issue UID numbers.


#Aadhaar allocation is Parliament’s contempt #UID

200 px

Rediff.com, gopal krishna
i) The governemnt ignores the PSC of Finance 42nd report of Dec 2011 and demonstrates contempt for parliament.

ii) Increased fund allocation in Union budget 2013-14 to Aadhaar/UID by Rs 14,232 crore (Rs 142.32 billion) and other recommendations has made a mockery of the PSC of Finance report which is the considered view of parliament.

iii) The claims success by various pilots on themes of subsidy transfer and financial inclusion of Adhaar project are extremely suspicious and dubious.

iv) The biometric data collection without statutory backing by NPR and Aadhaar violates citizens’ rights.

v) Submission of 3.57 crores signatures of people all over the country against the UID/Aadhaar project and which also shows the widespread opposition to the biometric profiling not only by pro-privacy activists but also by the aam-aadmi.

vi) Benefits from direct transfer of subsidy recommended by Nandan Nilekani task force suspect.

vii) Parliamentary probe required for UIDAI/RGI’s relationship with external and internal intelligence agencies.

Union Budget allocation of Rs 14,232 crore (Rs 142.32 billion) for Aadhar-UID demonstrates a contempt of Parliament as it seems to ignore the recommendations of the report of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance on the National Identification Authority of IndiaImages ] Bill 2010. This was presented to Parliament on December 13, 2011 and questioned the legality of collection of biometric data for Aadhaar and National Population Register without legislative mandate.

It may be recalled that while presenting the Union Budget 2009-10, Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee [ Images ] had announced the setting up of the Unique Identification Authority of India by the Government to “establish an online data base with identity and biometric details of Indian residence and provide enrolment and verification services across the country.”

He had allocated Rs 120 crore for this project as “a major step in improving governance with regard to delivery of public services”.

The Minister did not inform the Parliament that UIDAI “was created during 2009-10 and a modest start with an expenditure of Rs 30.92 crore (Rs 309.2 million) was made.”

Parliament has been kept in dark about how Unique Identification (UID)/Aadhaar Numbers to every resident in India started unfolding without sharing “the linkages of various welfare schemes steered by different Ministries/departments of Government of India”.

Not only that the “reports of the Demographic Data Standards and Field Verification Committee and Biometrics Committee were completed” without any legislative approval.

Government has ensured that the legislative wing remains unaware about how UIDAI selected the “Managed Service Provider” for the Central Identity Data Repository of Aadhaar Numbers. For this a budget of Rs 1,900 crores (Rs 19 billion) was allocated in the Union Budget 2010-11 by the Finance Minister.

It is admitted that “CIDR will be handed over to the Managed Service Provider on a long term contract basis.” The UIDA was given Rs 3,000 crore (Rs 30 billion) for fiscal 2011-2012. Its details are missing from the public domain. The shifting national identities of MSP and their relationship with external and internal intelligence agencies merit a parliamentary probe.

The explosive and revealing report of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance specifically raises questions about the legality of the collection of biometrics while creating a citizen / resident data base.

The Report reads (in the section on ‘Observations/Recommendations): “The collection of biometric information and its linkage with personal information without amendment to the Citizenship Act 1955 as well as the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules 2003, appears to be beyond the scope of subordinate legislation, which needs to be examined in detail by Parliament.”

This reveals that the allocation in the Union Budget was illegitimate and beyond its legislative mandate. Unmindful of such a categorical observation of the PSC on Finance, the National Population Register project, a comprehensive identity database to be maintained by the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, Union Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India is being continued.

It is claimed that the objective of creating this identity database is to help in better utilisation and implementation of the benefits and services under government schemes, improve planning and improve security.

Union Budget speech 2012-13 under the heading Growth, Fiscal Consolidation and Subsidies reads: “23. The recommendations of the task force headed by Nandan Nilekani on IT strategy for direct transfer of subsidy have been accepted…This step will benefit 12 crore farmer families, while reducing expenditure on subsidies by curtailing misuse of fertilisers.”

Such claims of benefits from direct transfer of subsidy has been debunked in the past but government remains adamant to pursue this path under the influence of vested interests.

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

It is admitted by UIDAI that there are “ownership risks (Ownership of the project by stakeholders), Technology risks (nowhere in the world a project of this size has been implemented) and privacy concerns (there may be groups raising privacy issues – many ID Projects in western countries have been stalled due to the opposition of privacy groups)”.

The UIDAI claims that it is “putting into place the risk mitigation strategies to minimize some of these risks” but this has never been shared with the Parliament and the citizens.

While all this has happened, the PSC report on Finance has concluded that Aadhaar platform has been “conceptualised with no clarity of purpose” and is “directionless” in its implementation, leading to “a lot of confusion”.

Under the exiting legal framework biometric data is collected only under Identification of Prisoner Act that too for a temporary period. In the case of Aadhaar and NPR biometric data is being collected for permanent safe keeping without any constitutional or legal approval.

Aadhaar related NPR project is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Home Affairs is aimed at creation of this comprehensive identity database.

The NPR project consists of two components: demographic data digitization of all the usual residents and biometric enrollment of all such residents who are aged five and above.

The demographic data – refers to the personal information collected during Census 2011 by the Census Enumerators based on the data fields prescribed by the Registrar General of India for the NPR Schedules and by following the process laid down for the purpose and biometric data – refers to the facial image, iris scan of both eyes and ten fingerprints of enrollees collected by the Enrolment Agency.

The fact is that these actions of the Union Home Ministry are “beyond the scope of subordinate legislation” but instead it has issued only guidelines for collection of biometric data under the Citizenship Act 1955 and Citizenship Rules. It states that it is compulsory for every citizen of the country to register in the NRIC.

The creation of the NPR is the first step towards preparation of the NRIC. It contends that out of the universal dataset of residents, the subset of citizens would be derived after due verification of the citizenship status. In the absence of any legislative mandate for such far reaching efforts, it cites to a recommendation of Group of Ministers on the National Security system for Multipurpose National Identity Card in 2001 for all citizens. This is hardly convincing.

Civil society groups welcome the submission of a memorandum opposing Aadhaar and other anti-people policies to the Prime Minister along with a big truck load of signatures numbering 3.57 crore on March 14.

In such a backdrop, these signatures seeking scrapping of Aadhaar and anti-citizen in the aftermath of PSC report and UP lections underline the illegality and illegitimacy of the entire surveillance project.

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