Nandan Nilekani’s #Aadhaar faces fight from a team of Europay, Mastercard & Visa #UID


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By Sugata Ghosh, ET Bureau | 17 Jun, 2013,
Nandan Nilekani‘s Aadhaar project faces fight from a team of Europay, Mastercard & Visa
MUMBAI: This could be a sign of what the future holds for Aadhaar. Amid an alarming rise in credit card frauds, data thefts and card cloning, a group of bankers will decide in a month the appropriate payment technology for the Indian banking system and retail consumers.
If the group votes for EMV – an internationally accepted technology standard for authenticating credit card, debit card and ATM transactions – Aadhaar, which is comparatively untested and follows a different technology, may face an uncertain future. EVM is a joint initiative between Europay, Mastercard and Visa – the world’s leading payments service providers.
Credit and debit cards that are based on EMV have the card and CVC numbers, which are the key to any electronic transaction, hidden or encrypted. Since encrypted data reduces the risk of cloning or skimming at ATMs and merchant outlets, some of the private banks have started upgrading their systems to EMV standards following recent card frauds.
But, if the group, constituted by the Reserve Bank of India, prefers Aadhaar, banks will have to change their systems, procure biometric machines and prepare for different security standards. Bankers, however, are reluctant to spell out their stand openly because the government thinks Aadhaar can be a game changer in disbursing subsidies to people in far-flung regions.
Besides, banks, particularly the state-owned lenders, are unwilling to take on Nandan Nilekani, the former InfosysBSE 1.05 % CEO who heads the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the state-owned agency that issues the 12-digit Aadhaar numbers.
“Mr Nilekani is pursuing Aadhaar with RBI. He has a standing and has political backing,” said a person familiar with the discussions.
Transition Could Take Some Time
“So, while many banks are in favour of EMV due to rising incidents of frauds, they are quiet, waiting for the committee to submit its report, which is expected by early July,” said the person. If the committee recommends Aadhaar for banks, it will be a victory for UIDAI. Banks will then have to use Aadhaar for not only customer authentication, but also for payments. But even if banks are mandated to implement Aadhaar, the transition could take time and a slice of the market will move back to cash. So, it will be some years before Visa and Mastercard feel the threat.
Indian banks’ payments technology for retail customers is currently at crossroads. ATM transactions are processed through the state-backed National Payments Corporation, which is being positioned as an umbrella organisation for processing all retail payments, while credit and debit card transactions are processed by multinationals like Visa and MasterCard. National Payments Corp, headed by Nilekani’s former boss NR Narayana Murthy, is unable to support EMV at present for its network and will have to change its standards if EMV is implemented by banks.
“What’s drawing banks towards EMV — and many Asian banks have already migrated to it — is the vulnerability of the magnetic stripe technology that’s used for credit and debit card transactions today. Micro devices can be planted in ATMs machines to copy the magnetic stripe and scan the PIN to clone cards. This is not possible in EMV where the data is encrypted,” said a banker.
Highlighting the monopolies in the industry being created, the Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSLRC) has recommended the Competition Commission to look into the subject. Meanwhile, the RBI governor has set up a committee to come out with a discussion paper on Aadhaar as an additional factor of authentication for card transactions. While Aadhaar can be used for authentication and KYC purposes, the regulator would like a final answer on whether it can be used for payments.

 

 

 

 

South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) Condemns Exchange of Fire and Killings along the LoC #India #Pakistan


 

SAHR is deeply disturbed with the recent exchange of firing and report of the beheading of two Indian jawans along the LoC. The firing and killing of two Indian and one Pakistani jawan is highly deplorable and no sane person or society can accept such unwarranted and gruesome incidences. The said incidences have a potential to derail the ongoing peace process that has shown remarkable progress in recent times in easing the visa regime, improving trade relations and securing many other confidence building measures that hold great promise for both the countries.

 

Initially Pakistan alleged one Pakistani soldier was killed and another injured in an unprovoked Indian firing and accordingly they summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner Mr. Gopal Baglay and lodged their protest. The report of Pakistani troops crossing LoC in the Mendhar sector of Jammu & Kashmir on Monday and killing two Lance Naik’s is also shocking. The report also says that the body of one of the soldiers was mutilated. India summoned Pakistan’s High Commissioner to protest the gruesome incident. If true, it is reprehensible and must be thoroughly investigated to punish the guilty and ensure such terrible incidences do not recur.

 

We have learnt that the Director General of Military Operations (DGMOs) of both countries have spoken to each other after the incidents. We urge that suitable mechanisms must be evolved and implemented immediately to ensure that the concerned authorities on both sides are in constant touch to avert recurrence of any such incidences, rather than meet after some damage is done.

 

We sincerely appeal to both the countries to take immediate steps and see such incidences do not occur in the future. We propose an enquiry by third party be it the  United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) or by any other credible international organisation on the beheading and firing across the LoC. They should also resume normal trade across the LoC and enhance people to people contacts by easing the Visa regime further. According to the New Visa Agreement, visa on arrival facility for senior citizens above 65 years of age at Attari-Wagah Checkpost is to begin on 15th January 2013 and SAHR will see that it is implemented.

 

Such incidences will only help war mongers and enemies of peace when the need of the hour for both sides is to take the peace process forward. SAHR also does not support the reactionary responses to the incidence by the media and other forces. At the same time we appreciate the position taken by both India and Pakistan governments to continue to push the peace process forward.

 

We are confident that such dastardly incidences will not affect the dialogue, as it has to be uninterrupted and uninterruptible till we secure complete friendship and peace between our two countries.

 

 

 

 

 

Danish Journalist Tom Heinemann Denied Visa To India


By Neha Dixit

03 February, 2012

Countercurrents.org

Embarrassment and Outrage are the two tags that explain freedom of expression in this country. We were still recuperating from the treatment doled out to Salman Rushdie, who was denied an entry in

India for the Jaipur Literary Festival, when we heard a similar case.

Tom Heinemann, award winning documentary film maker from Denmark has been denied a visa by the Indian Embassy in Copenhagen. Last week, the Indian Embassy stated that no journalist employed at Danish Broadcasting Service (DR) are welcome in India anymore. Still, an unnamed employee at the Indian Embassy said that all other journalists are still welcome. But not Tom Heinemann. The reason: In 2005 he made the film “A Killer Bargain” on the working conditions at i.e. Danish companies in India.The refusal also applies to his wife, Lotte la Cour, who is his

regular television cameraman.

More importantly, the Indian embassy stamped three letters in both their passports – ‘VAF’. It stands for ‘Visa Application Failed’ and, according to Tom Heinemann, a stamp that makes his passport virtually useless in many of the countries he would like to visit. “It’s something you write in the passport of alleged terrorists and villains. I am persona non grata in India for life. It is what it

means. And I have to switch passports, otherwise I can’t go into a lot of other countries, “says Heinemann.

Heinemann has done phenomenal work in his journalistic career. He also won the Grand Jury, Lorenzo Natali Prize for Journalism 2011. His documentary, The Micro Debt raises uncomfortable questions about microcredit. Sparked by his own personal experiences from extensive travel in countries and regions such as India, Bangladesh and South America, Heinemann shows viewers the potential dark side of the microcredit phenomenon. He also highlights human tragedies, such as

suicides that have resulted from the pressure of personal debt or the social exclusion that can ensue when individual misfortune places a borrowing group in jeopardy. The fundamental tenet of microcredit – to provide cheap finance to entrepreneurial individuals in developing countries – is questioned and Heinemann forces his viewers to consider whether the premise that anyone can be an entrepreneur is no more than a hopeful fantas y, instead often ending in an inescapable spiral of

debt.

The documentary was broadcast in more than 14 countries. Heinemann and his friends in Denmark are also paying for the education of four children of a common friend they have in India. Tom and his wife wanted to visit these children on a tourist visa.Tom Heinemann has informed the Danish ministry of foreign affairs that he again has been refused a visa.

In a comment, the chairman of the National Danish Union of Journalists, Mogens Blicher Bjerrregaard demands that the government immediately intervene: “The Danish government must explain the Indian authorities that this is not how press freedom works”.There has been no response from the Indian authorities about the matter. Goes without saying, freedom of press and expression is a ferocious facade in this country. Demand what is rightful and the facade gushes forth.

Neha Dixit is a frequent contributor to Countercurrents.org.

She can be reached atnehadixit123@gmail.com

Tom Heinamann can be contacted at tomheinemann@gmail.com

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