[enableit] UPA's pet UID project set to be trashed

  • From: Anivar Aravind <anivar@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: schoolgnu@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, enableit@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 8 Dec 2011 16:57:52 +0530

യാതൊരു നിയമ പരിരക്ഷയുമില്ലാതെ , കുട്ടികളുടെ അവകാശങ്ങള്‍ പോലും
കാറ്റില്‍പറത്തി നിര്‍ബന്ധിതമായി ആധാര്‍ കുട്ടികളുടെ മേല്‍
അടിച്ചേല്‍പ്പിക്കുന്നതിനെതിരെ മുമ്പു ഞാന്‍ ഈ ലിസ്റ്റില്‍ എഴുതിയിരുന്നു.
അതില്‍ ബാലാവകാശ കമ്മീഷന്‍ സംസ്ഥാന് വിദ്യാഭ്യാസ വകുപ്പിനോട് വിശദീകരണം
ചോദിക്കുകയും ചെയ്തിരുന്നു. ഇപ്പോള്‍ ഈ പ്രൊജക്റ്റ് വേണ്ടെന്നു വച്ചാല്‍
യാതൊരു നിയമ പ്രാബല്യവും ഇല്ലാതെ ശേഖരിക്കപ്പെട്ട ഈ ബയോമെട്രിക് രേഖകള്‍ക്ക്
എന്തു സംഭവിക്കും. ആരാണ് അതു നശിപ്പിക്കുക.? ആധാറിന്റെ എന്‍റോള്‍മെന്റ്
ഏജന്‍സികള്‍ ശേഖരിച്ച വിവരങ്ങള്‍ മറിച്ചു വില്‍ക്കുന്നുവെന്നും , അതു തടയാന്‍
യുഐഡി അതോറിറ്റിയ്ക്കു കഴിയുന്നില്ലെന്നുമുള്ള പരാതികളും, ആധാര്‍ രാജ്യ
സുരക്ഷയ്ക്കു ഭീഷണിയാണെന്ന കേന്ദ്ര ആഭ്യന്തരമന്ത്രി ചിദംബരത്തിന്റെ
പ്രസ്ഥാവനയും ഇതോടൊപ്പം ചേര്‍ത്തു വായിക്കുക

*UPA's pet UID project set to be trashed*

*A.M Jigeesh *
*December 8, 2011 **

A parliamentary committee is set to reject the National Identification
Authority of India Bill 2010, inflicting a severe blow to Unique
Identification Authority of India chairman Nandan Nilekani and raising
doubts about Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's pet project.

Former IT czar Nilekani, who holds cabinet minister rank as UIDAI chief,
had been keen on the enactment of the Bill so that a statutory National
Identification Authority could be established. The Bill, tabled in December
last year, is geared to bolster the Aadhaar scheme under which every Indian
" resident" will be assigned a unique ID (UID) number.

Parliament's standing committee on finance, headed by Yashwant Sinha of the
BJP, held deliberations on the controversial Bill for a year. Among those
it consulted were experts and representatives of government departments.
Nilekani had also appeared before the parliamentary committee and given his
views on the subject.

The committee's draft report giving the thumbs down to the Bill is ready
and will be adopted on Thursday. Sources in the panel indicated that the
decision to recommend that the government should withdraw the present Bill
and bring a new one was taken "unanimously". Even Congress members found
the project "directionless".

It is learnt that the draft report has recommended that the government
should review or reconsider the project by a bringing in a fresh Bill. The
committee has said that the Bill and the project are not acceptable in the
present form.

So far, over 5.75 million UID cards have been issued countrywide. The
cumulative revised budget estimates of the project, launched in 2009, is Rs
1,660 crore for 2010- 11 and 2011-12 put together. More than Rs 556 crore
has already been spent on the scheme.

The project has also been opposed by the finance ministry, the home
ministry and the Planning Commission, further strengthening the committee's
reservations to the bigticket scheme.

Sources in the panel indicated that MPs like S. S Ahluwalia (BJP), Gurudas
Dasgupta (CPI), Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD) and Rashid Alvi (Congress) were
most vocal in opposing the scheme. The draft report is of the view that the
UID scheme has been conceptualised with no clarity or purpose.The standing
committee's draft report on the legislation also reportedly noted that the
project is riddled with serious lacunae in its content and execution.

It is, however, up to the government to accept or reject the report of the
standing committee in full or in part.

The project had faced opposition on four main counts - inclusion of "
residents" as opposed to "citizens"; issues related to privacy of those
being assigned the UID numbers; duplication of the work being done for
preparing the National Population Register ( NPR) using the same biometric
attributes; and the massive expenditure that the project entails.

The committee felt that the ongoing implementation of the project is
"directionless". Sources said the panel is of the view that there is
confusion within the government and the implementing agency on the funding,
technology, privacy aspects and implementation of the project.

The standing committee on finance "strongly disapproved" of the " hasty
manner" in which the scheme is being implemented. The committee, sources
said, feared that since private organisations and individuals are involved
in the implementation process, the data collected for Aadhaar could end up
in the hands of private players and misused.

The committee has questioned the technology used in Aadhaar. The draft
report is learnt to have termed the technology as "unreliable and
untested". It has also cited the experience of foreign countries with
similar schemes and said that many European nations withdrew their UID
projects after opposition from the public. Noting such discrepancies, the
committee has recommended that the Bill is not acceptable.

The committee is learnt to have noted the opposition by finance ministry,
home ministry and Planning Commission to the project.The finance ministry
has reportedly expressed concern at the " lack of coordination" with the
implementing agency and the government. The ministry is learnt to have told
the panel that this lack of coordination is leading to duplication of
efforts and adding to the expenditure of the project.

The home ministry is learnt to have criticised the efficacy of the
interlocutor system in implementing Aadhaar. The ministry has reportedly
pointed out that the project can create a security concern as "somebody
interested" can identify a citizen using the project.

The plan panel also objected to the project. Incidentally, the UIDAI is at
present working under the Planning Commission.Starting as a small office in
Yojana Bhavan, the authority shifted its headquarters to a multistoried
complex in Connaught Place while opening regional offices across the

The standing committee's report is likely to be adopted without any dissent
notes."Key ministries are opposed to the project. Members, cutting across
party lines, have raised concerns in the implementation," a member of the
panel said.


"[It is not] possible to distinguish between 'numerical' and 'nonnumerical'
algorithms, as if numbers were somehow different from other kinds of
precise information." - Donald Knuth

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