#India – Govt okays amendments to manual scavenging eradication bill


May 1, 2013New Delhi: The government today approved amendments to a bill that seeks to eradicate manual scavenging.

The Union cabinet, at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, approved official amendments to The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Bill, 2012.

End to manual scavenging. AFP

End to manual scavenging. AFP

The amendments include provisions like mandatory inclusion of women in vigilance committees at district, state and national level and a survey to identify manual scavengers.

“The words insanitary latrines and manual scavengers define taking into account real situation on the ground,” Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters in New Delhi.

The bill was introduced on 3 September 2012 and it was referred to the Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment.

The Standing Committee reported to the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in March 2013 and this bill will now be introduced in Parliament.

Chidambaram said the Bill was introduced in Parliament last year and now officials amendments will be included in it.

The bill also has the provision for setting up committees at various levels.

“The provision for constitution of vigilance committee in each district and sub-divisions and a state level monitoring committee and a central-level monitoring committee, it is mandatory to have representation of women in these committees,” he said.

PTI

 

 

PRESS RELEASE-#India- Don’t allow Govt to ram through land acquisition bill


 

CAMPAIGN FOR SURVIVAL AND DIGNITY

Contact: Q-1 Hauz Khas Enclave, New Delhi. Ph: 9873657844, forestcampaign@gmail.com

 

25.02.2013

To:

Smt. Meira Kumar

Hon’ble Speaker of the Lok Sabha

Lok Sabha, New Delhi

Sub: The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Bill – request that the same may be sent to a Standing Committee as it has been extensively modified after being tabled in Parliament, depriving the public and in particular affected communities of any possibility of comment

Dear Madam,

We are a national platform of adivasi and forest dwellers’ organisations from ten States. We write to bring to your notice that the government is seeking to ensure the swift passage of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Bill and we understand that it may attempt to do so in the next day or two. In this context we wish to draw the following to your attention:

  • The government reportedly intends to move more than 150 amendments to the original Bill.
  • As per the amendments tabled in Parliament in December, these include many areas which were never addressed by either the Standing Committee’s report or the original Bill.
  • In particular, we are dismayed to find that the amendments contain several provisions that adversely affect the rights of Scheduled Tribes and forest dwellers, and in particular permit the destruction of community forests on the payment of arbitrary cash compensation as well as undermining the powers of local bodies under the Forest Rights Act and the PESA Act. Many of these provisions were not in the original Bill and were certainly not recommended by the Standing Committee. Further, they also violate international law.

In light of the fact that the tribals and forest dwellers of this country have been the worst-hit victims of decades of illegal, brutal and inhuman displacement at the hands of the statebasic respect for their democratic rights demands that this Bill be referred to a parliamentary committee for a full review. The government cannot be permitted to use its majority to simply ram through legislations while making a mockery of parliamentary procedures and public consultation. This would be a tremendous disservice to the people of this country and in particular an injustice to those who have already suffered as a result of the callousness of the state.

We trust you will not permit this government to bypass democracy in order to perpetrate one more historical injustice against the tribals and forest dwellers of this country.

Sincerely,

(On behalf of the Convening Collective)

 

__._,_.___

Setback to UID – Usha Ramanathan


At Tembhli village in Nandurbar district, a day before the launch of the UID in 2010.The village received the first numbers under the project.

At Tembhli village in Nandurbar district, a day before the launch of the UID in 2010.The village received the first numbers under the project.

THE Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance has dealt a body blow to the Unique Identification (UID) project.

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) was set up under the Planning Commission by an executive order on January 28, 2009. The scheme involves the collection of demographic and biometric information to issue ID numbers to individuals. The first numbers were handed to the tribal residents of Tembhili village in Nandurbar district of Maharashtra on September 29, 2010. The National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2010, was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on December 3, 2010. On December 10, 2010, it was referred to the Standing Committee.

Over the next year, the Standing Committee received suggestions, views and memoranda, and heard from various institutions, experts and individuals. It was briefed by representatives of the Planning Commission and the UIDAI. News reports were considered and clarifications sought from the Planning Commission. The Standing Committee adopted the report on December 8, 2011. On December 13, 2011, it was placed before Parliament.

The report is a severe indictment of the UID project. It found the project to be “conceptualised with no clarity of purpose” and “directionless” in its implementation, leading to “a lot of confusion”. The overlap between the National Population Register (NPR) and the UID is unresolved. The structure and functioning of the UIDAI had not been determined before beginning the exercise. The methodology of collection of data is built on shifting sands. There is no focussed purpose for the resident identity database.

Nandan Nilekani, chairman of the UIDAI, in his talks and interviews, calls it “open architecture”. The UID project is only about producing a number and linking an identity to the number. What could be done with that identity infrastructure will depend on who uses it and for what purpose. It leaves the field open for those who have the power to use, or abuse, the data and for those who use the number to converge on data about individuals.

Even as it is claimed that obtaining the UID number is voluntary, apprehensions have grown that services and benefits will be denied to those without the number. This is an inversion of the idea of inclusion, which is a key element in the image-building exercise done for the project.

The lack of preparation before launching a project of this dimension is striking. As the Planning Commission admitted to the Standing Committee, no committee had been constituted to study the financial implications of the project. There is no comparative analysis of costs of the UID number and the various extant ID documents. No comprehensive feasibility study was carried out at any time. In fact, the Detailed Project Report was done as late as April 2011. On September 28, 2010, a day before the launch, a group of eminent citizens, including V.R. Krishna Iyer, Romila Thapar, Upendra Baxi, A.P. Shah, Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey, S.R. Sankaran, Bezwada Wilson, and nine others released a statement reflecting just these concerns. This statement was later submitted to the Standing Committee. In the time that elapsed between the expression of concern by the group of eminent citizens and the report of the Standing Committee, the situation had hardly changed.

The Standing Committee has found the project to be “full of uncertainty in technology as the complex scheme is built upon untested, unreliable technology and several assumptions”. This is a serious concern given that the project is about fixing identity through the use of technology, especially biometrics. As early as December 2009, the Biometrics Standards Committee set up by the UIDAI had reported adversely on the error rate. Since then, neither the Proof of Concept studies nor any assessment studies done by the UIDAI have been able to affirm the possibility of maintaining accuracy as the database expands to accommodate 1.2 billion people. The estimated failure of biometrics is expected to be as high as 15 per cent.

Critics of the project have referred to studies such as the 2010 report of the National Research Council in the United States (cited in Frontline December 2, 2011: “How reliable is UID?”), which concluded that “human recognition systems” are “inherently probabilistic and hence inherently fallible”. In India, a report from 4G Identity Solutions, which is a consultant to the UIDAI and supplies it with biometric devices, suggested that children under 12 years and persons over 60 years would find their fingerprints to be undependable biometrics. Most damaging to the credibility of using fingerprints for authentication – which is what is proposed and currently seen as practical in terms of cost and technology – is what Ram Sevak Sharma, Director-General and Mission Director of the UIDAI said in an interview to Frontline (December 2, 2011, page 8): “Capturing fingerprints, especially of manual labourers, is a challenge. The quality of fingerprints is bad because of the rough exterior of fingers caused by hard work and this poses a challenge for later authentication…. Issuing a unique identity with iris scans to help de-duplication will not be a major problem. But authentication will be because fingerprint is the basic mode of authentication.” The Standing Committee has taken this admission on board.

Enrolment requires an individual to produce documents that the enroller accepts as sufficient proof of person and address. When documents do not exist, or they are inadequate for the purpose, a person may find a “verifier” to establish their identity. Or, especially in the case of the poor, they may be introduced to the system by approved introducers. In practice, these two methods have been shown to be irrational and prone to error. The Home Ministry had questioned this erratic method of enrolment and its implications for national security. These concerns have resonated with the Standing Committee.

Nilekani has been talking about enrolling 600 million residents before he completes his term in 2014. However, it seems that the Cabinet Committee on UID had, in the first instance, given its approval to let him enrol 10 crore residents, which was later increased to 20 crores. The UIDAI does not currently have the mandate to enrol more than that number. To meet his target of 600 million, Nilekani entered into memorandums of understanding with a multiplicity of entities, including State governments, banks, oil companies and insurance companies, to act as registrars. This may have helped in spreading the net wider to capture residents to get their demographic and biometric data. But it also meant that the chances of duplication of work increased. The Ministry of Home Affairs also alleged that some registrars had not adhered to the procedures laid down by the UIDAI, setting the MoUs to nought. This, it was feared, was also compromising the security and confidentiality of the information gathered. The Standing Committee found that issues relating to the process of data collection, the duplication of efforts and the security of data remained unresolved.

The UIDAI says it is now developing a monitoring and evaluation framework. There are plans for periodic audits. The project has carried on so far without these essential safeguards.

There has been speculation that the dissensions within are signs of a turf war. There could be something in that. Yet, the Standing Committee report reveals that the issues have been raised by a range of agencies and they are impossible to ignore. So:

the Ministry of Finance (Department of Expenditure) has been concerned about the duplication of effort and expenditure among at least six agencies that collect information – the NPR, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS), the BPL (below poverty line) Census, the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and bank smartcards.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has raised security concerns about “introducers”, the involvement of private agencies which could also have security implications, and the uncertainties in the revenue model of the UIDAI which proposes that a fee be imposed once a separate pricing policy is in place.

The NIC has pointed out that privacy and security of UID data may be better handled if they were stored in a government data centre.

The Planning Commission has voiced its reservations about the merits and functioning of the UIDAI. It has also questioned the necessity of collecting iris images, which has resulted in a steep escalation of costs.

Further, there is the matter of the number of government agencies collecting biometrics as part of different schemes that ought to give one pause.

Setting a refreshing precedent, the Standing Committee has drawn on the research around the United Kingdom’s Identity Project anchored at the London School of Economics and Political Science. While acknowledging that there are likely to be differences between one jurisdiction and another, it found it relevant to draw lessons regarding the factors of complexity; untested, unreliable and unsafe technology; possibility of risk to the safety and security of citizens; and requirement of security measures of a high standard, which is likely to result in escalating operational costs.

In the UID project, every resident is entitled to a UID number. It is not a marker of citizenship. The Standing Committee’s concern is that even illegal migrants can get the UID number. It favours restricting the scheme to citizens for the reason that this entails numerous benefits proposed by the government.

What upset the Standing Committee most was the disdain shown to Parliament in proceeding with the project, on the premise that the “powers of the executive are coextensive with legislative power of the government”. What would happen if Parliament rejected the project and the law?

In the Attorney-General’s opinion: “If the Bill is not passed for any reason and if Parliament is of the view that the authority should not function and expresses its will to that effect, the exercise would have to be discontinued. This contingency does not arise.” This anticipation has been belied by the rejection of the project and of the Bill by the Standing Committee. The Standing Committee also considered “unethical and violation of Parliament’s prerogatives” the continuance of the project while the framing of the law is under way.

The government, as the Standing Committee records, had recognised the need for a law to deal with the security and confidentiality of information, imposition of obligation of disclosure of information in certain cases, impersonation at the time of enrolment, investigation of acts that constitute offences, and unauthorised disclosure of information. Yet the project was rolled out with no protections in place.

The Standing Committee recognised the legitimacy of concerns raised about issues, including access and misuse of personal information, surveillance, profiling, linking and matching databases in securing confidentiality of information. A data protection law has to be debated and enacted before large-scale collection of information from individuals and its linkage across separate databases can be contemplated.

The “concerns and apprehensions” voiced by the Standing Committee have led to its categorical rejection of the Bill. In conclusion, the committee has said that it will “urge the 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”.

The data already collected may be transferred to the NPR, if the government so chooses.

That, however, is not all. The NPR, which came in for scrutiny because of its link with the UID project, has embarked on the collection of biometric data which is authorised neither by the Citizenship Act, 1955, nor by the Citizenship Rules of 2003. This, the report says, has to be examined by Parliament. Until then it is reasonable to assume that it should be suspended.

The UID project has raised many questions about data convergence, imperfect technology, national and personal security, extraordinary expenditure, exclusion and inclusion, and the source of power to gather, hold and use data about individuals. This report raises unanswered questions about the biometric and data-gathering ambitions of the state. The association of the project with a corporate icon has tended to lull many into complacency. Yet, as is reflected in the Standing Committee report, the process, the technology and the consequences are deeply problematic. The report leaves no room for doubt that the UID project will have to be revisited and the NPR re-examined.

Usha Ramanathan works on the jurisprudence of law, poverty and rights. in Frontline Volume 29 – Issue 01 :: Jan. 14-27, 2012

State Govt Should Put a Stay on Aadhaar/UID Project & Biometric based NPR for MNIC after Parliamentary Committee Report


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Parliamentary Committee Cites Global Experience and Citizens Testimony to Reject Central Govt’s database project 

Patna, 10/1/2012: A compelling logic has emerged for the Bihar Government to put a stay on the execution of the aadhaar related projects in the state following a revealing report of a multi-party Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on Finance that considered the National Identification Authority of India (NIDAI) Bill, 2010 and following the grave concerns expressed by eminent citizens, former judges and academicians. Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) had signed a MoU with Bihar Government on August 20, 2010 without any legal and constitutional mandate.

This disdain for the law has been characterised by the Standing Committee as `unethical and violative of Parliament’s prerogatives’. Citizens have been protesting against the UID and NPR based MINIC project across the country from the very outset but prior to PSC’s report it was ignored. By now it is clear that it is an unnecessary project which must be stopped.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance considering the National Identification Authority of India (NIDAI) Bill, 2010 presented its report to the Parliament on December 13, 2011. The report rejects biometric data based identification of Indians. The report is a severe indictment of the hasty and `directionless’ project which has been “conceptualised with no clarity of purpose”. Even the functional basis of the Unique Identification Authority of India UIDAI is unclear and yet the project has been rolled out. The Standing Committee found the biometric technology `uncertain’ and ‘untested’. As early as December 2009, the Biometric Data Committee had found that the error rate using fingerprints was inordinately high. In a recent interview to the press, the Director General and Mission Director of the UIDAI had admitted that fingerprints are likely not to work for authentication. The error rate could end up excluding up to 15% of the population. Yet, the UIDAI has gone on with the exercise.

There is no data protection law in place. Even though the government had recognised the need for a law to deal with security and confidentiality of information, imposition of obligation of disclosure of information in certain cases, impersonation at the time of enrolment, investigation of acts that constitute offences and unauthorised disclosure of information, the Unique Identification (UID) project was allowed to march on without any such protection being put in place.

The Parliamentary Report has raised questions of great severity about the legality and constitutionality of the Unique Identification (UID) project. It has acknowledged the many concerns that have been voiced in the past two years about the absence of a feasibility study, no cost-benefit assessment, uncertain and untested technology, an enrolment process that has national security repercussions, the lack of data protection and privacy legislation and the disrespect for Parliament by going ahead with a project that was pending parliamentary approval. It is also noticed that the data that is being collected is not being held by a government agency, about which the National Informatics Centre has expressed anxiety.

Prof. D M Diwakar, Director, ANISS said, in the aftermath of this report of the PSC, the continuance of the project as also the ongoing collection of demographic and biometric data needs to be rigorously examined, as also its ramifications for the project in Bihar. UIDAI has been trying to push for the adoption of the UID through multiple committees of several ministries and for the re-engineering of current systems to fit the requirements of the UID. There have been attempts to withdraw services such as LPG if a person has not enrolled for a UID. The creeping of voluntariness into compulsion through threat of discontinuance of services has been roundly castigated by the Standing Committee.

There has been an extraordinary amount of duplication of work. The NPR is doing the same exercise, except that the Ministry of Home Affairs has found that the excessive outsourcing and the methods used by the UIDAI for enrolment make the data inaccurate and insecure.  The multiplicity of Registrars with whom the UIDAI has entered into MoUs produces their own problems of duplication. The Standing Committee is categorical that the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) constituted for the purpose of collating the two schemes namely, the UID and National Population Register (NPR), has failed.

The project has been replete with unanswered questions. The 17 eminent citizens, as also other civil society activists and academics, had asked  that the project authorities acknowledge that many countries had abandoned  identity schemes such as had happened in the UK, China, USA, Australia and the Philippines. The Standing Committee has taken on board studies done in the UK on the identity scheme that was begun and later withdrawn in May 2010, where the problems were identified to include “(a) huge cost involved and possible cost overruns; (b) too complex; (c) untested, unreliable and unsafe technology; (d) possibility of risk to the safety and security of citizens; and (e) requirement of high standard security measures, which would result in escalating the estimated operational costs.”

Echoing citizens’ concerns, the Parliamentary Committee has noted that the government has “admitted that (a) no committee has been constituted to study the financial implications of the UID scheme; and (b) comparative costs of the aadhaar number and various existing ID documents are also not available.” It discloses that while the UIDAI was constituted on January 28, 2009 without parliamentary approval, and UID numbers were begun to be rolled out in September 2010, the Detailed Project Report of the UID Scheme was done much later in April, 2011. The Standing Committee expressed its anxiety that, the way the project had been run, “the scheme may end up being dependent on private agencies, despite contractual agreement made by the UIDAI with several private vendors.” The report records the views of Dr Usha Ramanathan, a noted jurist saying, “It is a plain misconception to think that the executive can do what it pleases, including in relation to infringing constitutional rights and protections for the reason that Parliament and legislatures have the power to make law on the subject.” In view of the above, the Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) signed by UIDAI with the partners including all the States and Union Territories, 25 financial institutions (including LIC) to act as Registrars for implementing the UID scheme has become of doubtful legality.

Prof. (Dr) Mohan Rao, Centre for Social Medicine & Community Health, Jawaharlal Nehru University said, UID is dangerous for public health. It should be rejected unequivocally because it violates confidentiality and privacy which is considered sacred in medical practice and is sought to be used for accuracy in clinical trials”. At the meeting J T Dsouza, Expert, Biometrics Technology, Mumbai said, “Both the UID and NPR project has been about technology that is flawed, with risks to national and individual security, ill conceived in its aims and uses, and has attempted to occupy a place where it can be above the law.” In relation to biometrics, the NPR too is guilty of going beyond the mandate give to it by law. Neither the Citizenship Act 1955 nor the Citizenship Rules of 2003 permit the collection of biometrics. The Standing Committee, recognising this, has asked that the use of biometrics in the NPR be examined by Parliament. Till then the collection of biometrics must be suspended. “It is apprehended that once the database is ready it can be used to eliminate minority communities, migrants and political adversaries by some regime which finds them unsuitable for their political projects. The fact is a centralized electronic database and privacy both are conceptually contradictory; it is advisable to let it remain in decentralized silos something which even the central government’s Discussion Paper on Privacy implied,” said Gopal Krishna, Member, Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties.

Taking cognizance of these concerns, Indo-Global Social Service Society (IGSSS), a civil society organization based in Delhi working with the homeless,  has disassociated itself from UID Number project which was being undertaken under Mission Convergence in Delhi. Withdrawal of IGSSS that works in 21 states of the country merits the attention of all the states and civil society organisations especially those who are unwittingly involved in the UID Number enrollment process. In its withdrawal letter IGSSS said, “we will not be able to continue to do UID enrolment, as we discussed in the meeting of 10th May 2011.” It is clear that both Mission Convergence and UIDAI have been hiding these crucial facts. The letter reads, “IGSSS like many other leading civil society groups and individuals are opposed to conditional cash transfers and the UID will be used to dictate it.”Most manual workers of both organised and unorganised sector lose their finger prints. The project claimed to work for them but it is they who would get excluded. It is not the question of onetime cost being incurred but also of the recurring cost of the UID and NPR project that reveals its character which does not have any constitutional or rational basis.

A Round Table on the PSC Report and its implications for the Unique Identification (UID) project and for the Union Home Ministry’s National Population Register (NPR) and the issuance of Multipurpose National Identity Cards (MNIC) was organised on January 10, 2012 at AN Sinha Institute of Social Studies (ANISS), Patna. It was organised jointly by A N Sinha Institute of Social Studies, Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF) and CFCL. This meeting was a follow up to the Round Table on Unique Identification (UID) project & Bihar Govt’s role held on 3rd January, 2011, the National Seminar on Idea of Unique Identification (UID) Project held on February 21, 2011 held in the state capital. Several eminent intellectuals from various sections of society expressed their concerns about the effect of this project on the liberty of citizens and sovereignty of the country.

It emerged that journalists appear to have been compelled to accept biometric identification in the offices where they work. They have been made to accept it as a fait accompli. As a consequence they have not reported about violation of privacy rights due to biometric identification of citizens and residents of India under UID and NPR.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, Member, Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties, Mb: 09818089660, E-mail:krishna1715@gmail.com


निराधार करती आधार और जनसँख्या रजिस्टर परियोजना का सच 

दिसम्बर १३ को वित्त की संसदीय समिति की जो रिपोर्ट संसद के दोनों सदनों में पेश की गयी उसने ये जगजाहिर कर दिया की भारत सरकार की शारीरिक हस्ताक्षर या जैवमापन (बायोमेट्रिक्स) आधारित विशिष्ट पहचान अंक (यू.आई.डी./आधार परियोजना) असंसदीय, गैरकानूनी, दिशाहीन और अस्पष्ट है और राष्ट्रीय सुरक्षा और नागरिक अधिकारों के लिए खतरनाक है। बायोमेट्रिक पहचान तकनीक और ख़ुफ़िया तकनीक के बीच के रिश्तो की पड़ताल अभी बाकी है.

यह संसदीय रिपोर्ट कहती है की सरकार ने विश्व अनुभव की अनदेखी की है. इस बात पर ध्यान नहीं दिया गया की मौजूदा पहचान प्रणाली को कारगर कैसे बनाया जाए. हैरानी की बात है की जल्दबाजी में ऐसी कोई तुलनात्मक अध्ययन भी नहीं की गयी जिससे यह पता चलता की मौजूदा पहचान प्रणाली कितनी सस्ती है और आधार और जनसँख्या रजिस्टर जैसी योजनाये कितनी खर्चीली है. आजतक किसी को यह नहीं पता है की आधार और जनसँख्या रजिस्टर पर कुल अनुमानित खर्च कितना होगा.

सरकार यह दावा कर रही थी कि यह परियोजना को देशवासियों और नागरिको को सामाजिक सुविधा उपलब्ध कराने की परियोजना है. अब यह पता चला है की इस योजना के पैरोकार गाड़ियो और जानवरों पर भी ऐसी ही योजना लागु करने की सिफारिश कर चुके है, ये बाते परत दर परत सामने आ रही है. यह परियोजना १४ विकासशील देशो में फ्रांस, दक्षिण कोरिया और संयुक्त राष्ट्र अमेरिका की कंपनियों और विश्व बैंक के एक पहल के जरिये लागु किया जा रहा है. दक्षिण एशिया में यह पाकिस्तान में लागु हो चुका है और नेपाल और बंगलादेश में लागु किया जा रहा है.

संसदीय समिति ने कानुनविदों, शिक्षाविदो और मानवाधिकार कार्यकर्ताओ की इस बात को माना है की यह देशवासियों के निजी जीवन पर एक तरह का हमला है जिसे नागरिक स्वतंत्रता और मानवाधिकार के हनन के रूप में ही समझा जा सकता है. समिति ने अपनी रिपोर्ट में ब्रिटेन सरकार द्वारा ऐसे ही पहचानपत्र कानून  2006 को समाप्त करने के फैसले का भी जिक्र किया है जिसका उद्धरण देश के न्यायाधिशो ने दिया था.

भारत में इस बात पर कम ध्यान दिया गया है कि कैसे विराट स्तर पर सूचनाओं को संगठित करने की धारणा चुपचाप सामाजिक नियंत्रण, युद्ध के उपकरण और जातीय समूहों को निशाना बनाने और प्रताड़ित करने के हथियार के रूप में विकसित हुई है। भारत के निर्धनतम लोगों तक पहुंचने में 12 अंकों वाला आधार कार्ड सहायक होने का दावा करने वाले इस विशिष्ट पहचान परियोजना का विश्व इतिहास के सन्दर्भ में नहीं देखा गया।

खासतौर पर जर्मनी और आमतौर पर यूरोप के अनुभवों को नजरअंदाज करके, निशानदेही को सही मानकर वित्तमंत्री ने 2010-2011 का बजट संसद में पेश करते हुए फर्माया कि यू.आई.डी. परियोजना वित्तीय योजनाओं को समावेशी बनाने और सरकारी सहायता (सब्सिडी) जरूरतमंदों तक ही पहुंचाने के लिए उनकी निशानदेही करने का मजबूत मंच प्रदान करेगी। जबकि यह बात दिन के उजाले की तरह साफ है कि निशानदेही के यही औज़ार किसी खास धर्मो, जातियों, क्षेत्रों, जातीयताओं या आर्थिक रूप से असंतुष्ट तबकों के खिलाफ भी इस्तेमाल में लाए जा सकता हैं। भारत में राजनीतिक कारणों से समाज के कुछ तबकों का अपवर्जन लक्ष्य करके उन तबकों के जनसंहार का कारण बना- 1947 में, 1984 में और सन् 2002 में। अगर एक समग्र अध्ययन कराया जाए तो उससे साफ हो जाएगा कि किस तरह संवेदनशील निजी जानकारियां और आंकड़े जिन्हें सुरक्षित रखा जाना चाहिए था, वे हमारे देश में दंगाइयों और जनसंहार रचाने वालों को आसानी से उपलब्ध थे।

भारत सरकार भविष्य की कोई गारंटी नहीं दे सकती। अगर नाजियों जैसा कोई दल सत्तारूढ़ होता है तो क्या गारंटी है कि यू.आई.डी. के आंकड़े उसे प्राप्त नहीं होंगे और वह बदले की भावना से उनका इस्तेमाल नागरिकों के किसी खास तबके के खिलाफ नहीं करेगा? योजना योग की यू.आई.डी. और गृह मंत्रालय की राष्ट्रीय जनसंख्या रजिस्टर वही सब कुछ दोहराने का मंच है जो जर्मनी, रूमानिया, यूरोप और अन्य जगहों पर हुआ जहां वह जनगणना से लेकर नाजियों को यहूदियों की सूची प्रदान करने का माध्यम बना। यू.आई.डी. का नागरिकता से कोई संबंध नहीं था, वह महज निशानदेही का साधन है। दरअसल यह जनवरी 1933 से जनवरी 2011 तक के ख़ुफ़िया निशानदेही के प्रयासों का सफरनामा है।

इस पृष्ठभूमि में, ब्रिटेन की साझा सरकार द्वारा विवादास्पद राष्ट्रीय पहचानपत्र योजना को समाप्त करने का निर्णय वैसे ही स्वागत योग्य है जैसे अपनी संसदीय समिति की अनुसंसा ताकि नागरिकों की निजी जिंदगियों में हस्तक्षेप से उनकी सुरक्षा हो सके। पहचानपत्र कानून 2006 और स्कूलों में बच्चों की उंगलियों के निशान लिए जाने की प्रथा का खात्मा करने के साथ-साथ ब्रिटेन सरकार अपना राष्ट्रीय पहचानपत्र रजिस्टर बंद कर देगी। वह की सरकार ने घोषणा की है की अगले कदम में (बायोमेट्रिक) जैवसांख्यिकीय पासपोर्ट, सम्पर्क-बिन्दुओं पर इकट्ठा किये जाने वाले आंकड़ों तथा इंटरनेट और ई-मेल के रिकार्ड का भंडारण खत्म किया जाएगा।

18 मई, 2010 की प्रेस विज्ञप्ति में भारत सरकार ने बताया था कि कैबिनेट कमेटी ने भारतीय विशिष्ट पहचान प्राधिकरण द्वारा निवासियों के जनसांख्यिकीय और बायोमेट्रिक आंकड़ों को इकट्ठा करने की जो पद्धति सुझाई गई है, उसे सिद्धांततः स्वीकार कर लिया है। इसमें चेहरे, नेत्रगोलक (पारितारिका) की तस्वीर लेने और सभी दस उंगलियों के निशान लेने का प्रावधान है। इसमें 5 से 15 आयुवर्ग के बच्चों के नेत्रगोलक के आंकड़े इकट्ठा करना शामिल है। इन्हीं मानकों और प्रक्रियाओं को जनगणना के लिए रजिस्ट्रार जनरल आफ इंडिया और यू.आई.डी. व्यवस्था के अन्य रजिस्ट्रारों को भी अपनाना पड़ेगा। संसदीय समिति ने सरकार के इस कदम को असैधानिक और कार्यपालिका के अधिकार से बाहर पाया.

भारत की आधार परियोजना की ही तरह ब्रिटेन में भी इसका कभी कोई उद्देश्य बताया जाता था, कभी कोई। इस परियोजना को गरीबों के नाम पर थोपा जा रहा था. कहा जा रहा था कि पहचान का मसला राशन कार्ड, ड्राइविंग लाइसेंस, पासपोर्ट, बैंक खाता, मोबाइल कनेक्शन आदि लेने में अवरोध उत्पन्न करता है। पहचान अंक पत्र गरीब नागरिकों को शिक्षा, स्वास्थ्य और वित्तीय सेवाओं सहित अनेक संसाधन प्राप्त करने योग्य बनाएगा। ब्रिटेन की बदनाम हो चुकी परियोजना के पदचिन्हों पर चलते हुए यह भी कहा जा रहा था कि पहचान अंकपत्र से बच्चों को स्कूल में दाखिले में मदद मिलेगी। ब्रिटेन सरकार के हाल के निर्णय के बाद कहीं भारत में भी इस परियोजना को तिलांजलि न दे देनी पड़े, इस बात की आशंका के चलते अब सरकार के द्वारा कहा जा रहा था यह वैकल्पिक है अनिवार्य नहीं जबकि हकीकत कुछ और ही थी।

योजना मंत्रालय की आधार यानि यू.आई.डी. योजना से गृह मंत्रालय का राष्ट्रीय जनसंख्या रजिस्टर (एन.पी.आर.) परियोजना शुरू से ही जुडा हुआ था जिसका खुलासा प्रधानमन्त्री द्वारा दिसम्बर ४, २००६ को गठित शक्ति प्राप्त मंत्रिसमूह की घोषणा से होता है जिसकी तरफ कम ध्यान दिया गया है. । यह पहली बार है कि जनसंख्या रजिस्टर बनाई जा रही है। इसके जरिए रजिस्ट्रार जनरल आफ इंडिया जो की सेन्सस कमिश्नर भी है देशवासियों के आंकड़ों का भंडार तैयार करेंगे। यह समझ जरुरी है कि जनगणना और राष्ट्रीय जनसंख्या रजिस्टर अलग-अलग चीजें हैं। जनगणना जनसंख्या, साक्षरता, शिखा, आवास और घरेलू सुविधाओं, आर्थिक गतिविधि, शहरीकरण, प्रजनन दर, मृत्युदर, भाषा, धर्म और प्रवासन आदि के संबंध में बुनियादी आंकड़ों का सबसे बड़ा स्रोत है जिसके आधार पर केंद्र व राज्य सरकारें योजनाएं बनती हैं और नीतियों का क्रियान्वयन करती हैं, जबकि राष्ट्रीय जनसंख्या रजिस्टर देशवासियों और नागरिकों के पहचान संबंधी आंकड़ों का समग्र भंडार तैयार करने का काम करेगा। इसके तहत व्यक्ति का नाम, उसके माता, पिता, पति/पत्नी का नाम, लिंग, जन्मस्थान और तारीख, वर्तमान वैवाहिक स्थिति, शिक्षा, राष्टीयता, पेशा, वर्तमान और स्थायी निवास का पता जैसी तमाम सूचनाओं का संग्रह किया जाएगा। इस आंकड़ा-भंडार में 15 साल की उम्र से उपर सभी व्यक्तियों की तस्वीरें और उनकी उंगलियों के निशान भी रखे जाएंगे।

राष्ट्रीय जनसंख्या रजिस्टर के आंकड़ो-भंडार को अंतिम रूप देने के बाद, अगला कार्यभार होगा हर नागरिक को विशिष्ट पहचान पत्र प्रदान करना। प्रस्तावित यह था कि पहचानपत्र एक तरह का स्मार्ट-कार्ड होगा जिसके उपर आधार पहचान अंक के साथ व्यक्ति का नाम, उसके माता, पिता, पति/पत्नी का नाम, लिंग, जन्मस्थान और तारीख, फोटो आदि बुनियादी जानकारियां छपी होंगी। सम्पूर्ण विवरण का भंडारण चिप में होगा।

ब्रिटेन की ही तरह यहां भी 1.2 अरब लोगों को विशिष्ट पहचान अंक देने की कवायद को रोके जाने की जरूरत thi, क्योंकि मानवाधिकार उलंघन की दृष्टि से इसके खतरे कल्पनातीत है इसे संसदीय समिति ने समझा है । बिना संसदीय सहमती के 13वें वित्त आयोग ने प्रति व्यक्ति 100 रूपए और प्रति परिवार 400-500 रूपए गरीब परिवारों को विशिष्ट पहचान अंक के लिए आवेदन करने हेतु प्रोत्साहन के बतौर दिए जाने का प्रावधान किया था। यह गरीबों को एक किस्म की रिश्वत ही है। इस उद्देश्य के लिए आयोग ने राज्य सरकारों को 2989.10 करोड़ की राशि मुहैया कराने की संस्तुति की है।

सवाल यह है की सरकार ने नागरिकों के अंगुलियों के निशान, नेत्रगोलक की छवि जैसे जैवमापक आंकड़ों का संग्रह करने के बारे में विधानसभाओं और संसद की मंजूरी क्यों नहीं ली और इस बात को क्यों नज़र अंदाज़ किया की ऐसी ही परियोजना को ब्रिटेन में समाप्त कर दिया गया है किया है.?

प्राधिकरण की ही जैवमापन मानक समिति (बायोमेट्रिक्स स्टैंडर्डस कमिटि) यह खुलासा किया कि जैवमापन सेवाओं के निष्पादन के समय सरकारी विभागों और वाणिज्यिक संस्थाओं द्वारा प्रामाणिकता स्थापित करने के लिए किया जाएगा। यहां वाणिज्यिक संस्थाओं को परिभाषित नहीं किया गया। जैवमापन मानक समिति जैवमापन में अमेरिका और यूरोप के पिछले अनुभवों का भी हवाला दिया और कहा कि जैवमापक आंकड़े राष्ट्रीय निधि हैं और उन्हें उनके मौलिक रूप में संरक्षित किया जाना चाहिए। समिति नागरिकों के आंकड़ाकोष को राष्ट्रीय निधि बताती है। यह निधि कब कंपनियों की निधि बन जाएगी कहा नहीं जा सकता.

संसदीय समिति ने यह समझा की ऐसी योजनाये सरकार आम नागरिक समाज के खिलाफ हथियार के रूप में इस्तेमाल हो सकते है. समिति इसे संसद के विशेषाधिकार का हनन का मामला मानती है कि विधेयक के पारित हुए बिना ही ३ करोड़ ७३ लाख यूनिक आइडेन्टटी नंबर/आधार संख्या बना लिए.

विशिष्ट पहचान अंक और राष्ट्रीय जनसंख्या रजिस्टर सरकार द्वारा नागरिकों पर नजर रखने के उपकरण हैं। ये परियोजनाएं न तो अपनी संरचना में और न ही अमल में निर्दोष हैं। विशिष्ट पहचान अंक प्राधिकरण के कार्य योजना प्रपत्र में कहा गया है कि विशिष्ट पहचान अंक सिर्फ पहचान की गारंटी है, अधिकारों, सेवाओं या हकदारी की गारंटी नहीं। आगे यह भी कहा गया है कि यह पहचान की भी गारंटी नहीं है, बल्कि पहचान नियत करने में सहयोगी है।

एक गहरे अर्थ में यशवंत सिन्हा की अध्यक्षता वाली संसद की स्थायी समिति विशिष्ट पहचान अंक जैसे ख़ुफ़िया उपकरणों द्वारा नागरिकों पर सतत नजर रखने और उनके जैवमापक रिकार्ड तैयार करने पर आधारित तकनीकी शासन की पुरजोर मुखालफत करने वाले व्यक्तियों, जनसंगठनों, जन आंदोलनों, संस्थाओं के अभियान का समर्थन करती है. समिति यह अनुसंसा करती है की संसद बायोमेट्रिक डाटा को इकठ्ठा करने के कृत्य की जांच करे. जनसंगठनों की मांग है की सी.ए.जी. विशिष्ट पहचान अंक प्राधिकरण की कारगुजारियों की जांच करे और इसके और जनसँख्या रजिस्टर द्वारा किये जा रहे कारनामो को तत्काल रोका जाये. देशवासियों के पास अपनी संप्रभुता को बचाने के लिए आधार अंक योजना और जनसँख्या रजिस्टर का बहिष्कार ही एक मात्र रास्ता है.

गौरतलब है की कैदी पहचान कानून, १९२० के तहत किसी भी कैदी के उंगलियों के निशान को सिर्फ मजिसट्रेट की अनुमति से लिया जाता है और उनकी रिहाई पर उंगलियों के निशान के रिकॉर्ड को नष्ट करना होता है. कैदियों के ऊपर होनेवाले जुल्म की अनदेखी की यह सजा की अब हर देशवासी को उंगलियों के निशान देने होंगे और कैदियों के मामले में तो उनके रिहाई के वक्त नष्ट करने का प्रावधान रहा है, इन योजनाओं के द्वारा देशवासियों के पूरे शारीरिक हस्ताक्षर का रिकॉर्ड रखा जा रहा है. यह एक ऐसे निजाम के कदमताल की गूंज है जो नागरिको को कैदी सरीखा मानता है. बायोमेट्रिक डाटाबेस आधारित राजसत्ता का आगाज हो रहा है बावजूद इसके जानकारी के अभाव में कुछ व्यस्त देशवासियों को बायोमेट्रिक तकनीक वाली कंपनियों के प्रति प्रचार माध्यम द्वारा तैयार आस्था चौकानेवाली है. मगर लाजवाब बात तो यह है की उन कर्मचारियों से यह आशा कैसे की जा सकती है की वो बायोमेट्रिक निशानदेही की मुखालफत करेंगे जो अपने दफ्तरों में बायोमेट्रिक हस्ताक्षर करके अन्दर जाते है. ऐसे में संसदीय समिति की सिफारिशों में एक उम्मीद की किरण दिखती है. कुछ राज्यों ने भी केंद्र सरकार को ऐसी परियोजनायो के संबध में आगाह किया है. संसद और राज्य की विधान सभाओ को संसदीय समिति के सिफारिशों को सरकार से अमल में लाने के लिए तत्काल निर्णय लेने होंगे.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, Member, Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties, Mb: 09818089660, E-mail:krishna1715@gmail.com

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