Citizens' Issues
Aadhaar: Private ownership of UID data- Part I

As per the report of the TAG-UP Committee headed by Nandan Nilekani, government data and databases would be privatised through the creation of NIUs, which will then ‘own’ the data and the government would become a ‘customer’ to whoever controls the data!

It is no secret that data is the new property. The potential for evolving technologies to record, collate, converge, retrieve, mine, share, profile and otherwise conjure with data has given life to this form of property, and to spiralling ambitions around it. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) was set up with its push to enrol the entire Indian resident population, and with Nandan Nilekani as both its chairman and as chair of committees set up by Dr Manmohan Singh’s government. In this set-up, we are witnessing the emergence of an information infrastructure, which the government helps—by financing and facilitating the ‘start-up’, and by the use of coercion to get people on to the database—which it will then hand over to corporate interests when it reaches a ‘steady state’.

 

Since Mr Nilekani was appointed the chairperson of the UIDAI, in the rank of a Cabinet minister, he has chaired multiple committees, each of which pushes for the collection of data and the creation of databases, and steers the government to become a customer of whoever controls the database. Several reports on e-governance as part of the report of the National Knowledge Commission: Report to the Nation 2006-2009 as well as Report of the Committee for Unified Toll Collection Technology (June 2010), the National e-governance plan (November 2011, Background Papers), Interim Report of the Task Force on direct transfer of subsidies on kerosene (June 2011), LPG and fertiliser’ Report of the Task Force on IT Strategy and an implementable solution for the direct transfer of subsidy for food and kerosene (October 2011: Final report), Report of the Task Force on an Aadhaar-enabled unified payment infrastructure (February 2012), and, of course, the TAG-UP report, are testimony to how Mr Nilekani has been used to promote a set of database-related ambitions.

 

It was in the January 2011 report of the Nilekani-chaired Technology Advisory Group on Unique Projects (TAG-UP) that the framework for the private ownership of databases was elaborated and explained. These were about databases constructed out of data that is given to the government to hold in a fiduciary capacity, and expected to be used for specified, and limited, purposes. The Nilekani Committee report directly dealt with five projects—Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN), Tax Information Network (TIN), Expenditure Information Network (EIN), National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) and the New Pension System (NPS). 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 the Nilekani Committee understood it, the government has two major tasks: policymaking and implementation. Implementation is fettered by absence of leadership and active ownership of projects, outdated recruitment processes and methodology, inability to pay market salaries for specialised skills, lack of avenues for continued enhancement of professional skills and career growth, non-conducive work environment, outdated performance evaluation and preference for seniority over merit, and untimely transfer of officers. Rather than expend time on finding correctives to the system, the Nilekani committee found in this an opportunity for private business interest. Without further ado, and without considering, for instance the capacities and deficiencies in privatising databases, and what this means for citizens and residents, the Nilekani committee found its answer in 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 focussed on how it would achieve the objectives and outcomes, leaving the NIU ‘flexible’ in its functioning. Total private ownership should be at least 51%. The government should have at least 26% share. Once it reaches a steady state, the government would be a “paying customer” and, as a paying customer, “the government would be free to take its business to another NIU”. Except, of course, 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”.

 

The Nilekani Committee evinces a deep disinterest in the various rungs of government. It asks for the “total support and involvement of the top management within the government” -- words reflecting the UIDAI’s experience, with the Prime Minister and Montek Singh Ahluwalia being its staunch supporters, and much of the rest of the administration seemingly unclear about what the project entails. 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% of their remuneration.

 

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

 

On the question of open source, the Nilekani committee “recognises the intellectual property of the NIU”, but considers that it may be counterproductive to the business planning and profitability of the NIU to release all source as open source.

 

The report is littered with references to the UIDAI, and suggests that the way the UIDAI has been functioning is what an NIU should use as its model.

 

What emerges 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 to be profit-making and not profit-maximising, and the definition of these terms may, of course, vary;

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% 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. This might have been treated as another report without a future; except, in the budget presented by 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. This, then, is the story of how the ownership of governmental data by private entities is silently slipping into the system.

 

(Dr Usha Ramanathan is an independent law researcher on jurisprudence, poverty and rights.)

User

COMMENTS

CA PRADEEP AGARWAL

4 years ago

To be very frank of all things UPA has made a mockery of the country. Looks as if they have no love for the country.

At such an age RAHUL GANDHI IS NOT DISCLOSING his marriage and our great media is silent. Any other plans?

Dayananda Kamath k

4 years ago

is it a scheme to bailout infosys as it is loosing its credibility.

REPLY

CA PRADEEP AGARWAL

In Reply to Dayananda Kamath k 4 years ago

Feel so, because what I feel Mr Murty is very powerful and there was a talk of his becoming PREZ but before .............became so might be a quid pro for the same.

p s d

4 years ago

This is a preposterous preposition indeed! In US and many other countries in the western world, citizen ID card has been opposed since it compromises the personal identity. These countries oppose this move even the information is to be owned by a democratic state. Now Nilekani and company want to own it privately. Even in communist China Hukou personal ID card, that is issued only in a place where you are born, is a hated document since state uses it to divide the people. In this commercial world driven by businesses such personal information has unparalleled value. America trained Nilekani will be, knowingly or unknowingly, give this vital classified information into private hands. God save India!!
PSD

REPLY

CA PRADEEP AGARWAL

In Reply to p s d 4 years ago

ONLY GOD IS SAVING OUR COUNTRY, OTHERWISE THESE POLITICIANS MIGHT HAVE TAKEN IT TO DOCS......?

CA PRADEEP AGARWAL

In Reply to p s d 4 years ago

Do agree

CA PRADEEP AGARWAL

4 years ago

If you look at the contracts INFOSYS has bagged MCA from TCS and debated on this forum.(Regarding non working of MCA)

Mandar Kulkarni

4 years ago

We cannot expect UPA government to do anything good for our country. So they will push for this dangerous UID Aadhaar scheme illegally. But what is more disturbing is that entire opposition is absolutely quiet on UID and not taking any efforts to scrap this project and stop wastage of tax payer's money.

REPLY

CA PRADEEP AGARWAL

In Reply to Mandar Kulkarni 4 years ago

Who said they will do good for the country, Bas desh ko baksh de wahi bahut hai.

CA PRADEEP AGARWAL

In Reply to Mandar Kulkarni 4 years ago

Why not come out the in the open against Aadhar card in particular and against the opposition to wake them up from the slumber they are in.

Krishnan

4 years ago

What happened to the suit filed in HC / SC in this regard.
N.Krishnan

Anil Kumar

4 years ago

Not sure, how Infosys has executed state of the art projects under the leadership of NN. Looking at interaction with UID programme at operating level and the quality of people who are running it,I have serious doubts about execution capabilities of NN.

Would NN and/or Govt consider supporting my business till it comes in 'steady state' and assuring a perpetual market too by becoming a customer?

CA PRADEEP AGARWAL

4 years ago

Ms Usha-Does the present dispensation want to clean the country high and dry.

CA PRADEEP AGARWAL

4 years ago

WHY IS MMSINGH/PC CHIDAMBARAM G's feel respect is earned by their action and lost through deed, feel they have lost G's which they should try to earn by their positive actions

SuchindranathAiyerS

4 years ago

Yet one more view that differs somewhat from ManmohanG Singh Saheb, Tiru.Da.Chidambaram G, and others.

MOHAN SIROYA

4 years ago

Entire "Aadhaar Card" scheme appears to be turning into another RACKET of the Government, this time directly involving the innocent Indian individuals.
Besides , the open ends of mis use and unofficial money making loop- holes, it has stopped being useful even as an ID proof. To save cost, the job of Bio-metric and other data entry at the time of Enrollment is entrusted to the private agencies who employ, almost illiterate but only who has learnt a PC operation.
Take for instance my own case.
In Feb. I had received my Aadhaar Card wherein my 'Gender' is shown wrongly as "F" instead of "M". I was unable to rectify ONLINE,as was tomtommed , so I sent my request with relvant documentary proof for change to the Regional Office at Mumbai.
The office itself is big HOAX. All the contact nos. or EIDs, Fax nos are dysfunctional.My received request is simply pending unacknowledged or un-acted for last two months. ONLINE Feedback of UIDAI.Gov.in has also been in vain.

REPLY

Vinay Joshi

In Reply to MOHAN SIROYA 4 years ago

You're lucky, you were not shown as tree or dog or other inanimate object as has happened in thousands of cases & tens of thousands cards could not be delivered on bogus address.

Regards,

CA PRADEEP AGARWAL

In Reply to MOHAN SIROYA 4 years ago

Told before also it is a very big scam with top guns involved of Industry and POLITICS

CA PRADEEP AGARWAL

4 years ago

I have heard that UID is having unofficial HO at Infosys (though I have yet to verify)

REPLY

CA PRADEEP AGARWAL

In Reply to CA PRADEEP AGARWAL 4 years ago

I feel the best person to answer is the author of this article/or Editors of MLF.

CA PRADEEP AGARWAL

4 years ago

Dear Mr Basu/Dalal,

Hurry might not be there to gobble funds which I suppose might see the end of the road for Congress politicians.

Regards

CA PRADEEP AGARWAL

4 years ago

I feel next fight will be on DATA and that is before fight for water.

CA PRADEEP AGARWAL

4 years ago

Main thing why is the Establishment in Delhi such a hurry to transfer funds through Aadhar?

Hindustan Zinc’s earnings visibility driven by volume growth and strong balance sheet

While high inventory remains a concern in the near term, it is expected that zinc prices will improve to $2,000-$2,100/tonne owing to zinc turning to a balanced supply market, says Nomura Equity Research

Volume growth along with cost optimization provides earnings visibility, says Nomura in its research report on Hindustan Zinc. At the same time, the brokerage believes that globally zinc fundamentals have improved and it expects zinc to see a balanced demand supply scenario. Zinc prices are expected to improve from the current level of $1,900/tonne to $2,000-$2,100/tonne in FY14-15F.

 

According to Nomura Equity Research, the catalyst factor lies in a potential stake sale of 29.5% government stake to Sterlite Industries and this could be a trigger for the stock for investors in Hindustan Zinc. While the stock was trading around Rs119 last week, Nomura has predicted a target price of Rs161 along with its ‘Buy’ recommendation.

 

Nomura’s sensitivity analysis shows that Hindustan Zinc FY15F EPS would change by Rs0.70/share for every $100/tonne change in zinc prices and Rs0.20/share for $100/t change in lead prices. The analysis is shown in the table below:

 

User

LIC Housing Finance reports robust 4QFY13 numbers

Net Interest Margin expansion for LIC Housing Finance was driven by improvement in both—cost of funds and yield on assets, says Nomura Equity Research


LIC Housing Finance (LICHF) reported robust 4QFY13 numbers, driven by expansion in NIM (net interest margin) and lower than expected provisions. Net profit of Rs320 crore was largely driven by 10.4% beat in NII (net interest income) as NIM expanded 36 bps (basis points) sequentially to 2.45%. Asset quality improved during the quarter with GNPLs (gross non-performing loans) declining 12.5% sequentially to Rs470 crore.  Loans were up 23.4% year-on-year with disbursals growth of 28.62% year-on-year. These observations were made by Nomura Equity Research in its Quick Note on LICHF.


NIM expansion was driven by improvement in both—cost of funds and yield on assets. Yield improved by 3bps quarter-on-quarter to 10.78%, while cost of funds declined by 27bps to 9.4% quarter-on-quarter. Consequently, spreads improved from 1.07% in 3Q13 to 1.38% in 4QFY13, point out Nomura Equity Research analysts.

 

Loan growth of 23.4% year-on-year was higher than Nomura’s expectation of 21.4% year-on-year; with disbursal growth of 16.7% year-on-year (disbursal growth in the retail segment was at 18.8% year-on-year). Sanctions grew 30.2% year-on-year. Loan growth was largely driven by continued traction in retail loans that grew 25.5% year-on-year (sequential increase of 7.5%); however, the higher yielding developer/ project loans declined 5.5% quarter-on-quarter (decline of 16.3% year-on-year). The developer/ project loans as a proportion of total loans declined further to 3.4% from 3.9% in the previous quarter.

 

Operating expenses and employee costs were marginally higher than Nomura’s expectations, with a cost-income ratio of 18.6% (down 113bps year-on-year). The brokerage further computes the total CAR (capital adequacy ratio) as standing at 15.8%, with a tier-1 ratio of 10.7%.

 

The key ratios of LICHF are given below:


According to Nomura, the key issues to watch in LICHF management’s discussion on Monday (29 April 2013) include the following: further colour on delinquencies, plans for the project loan book, FY14 loan growth guidance, plans for fresh capital issuance and trajectory for margins.

 

LICHF currently trades at 1.6x of Nomura’s FY14F ABV of Rs157 and 7.8x of Nomura’s FY14F EPS of Rs31.8. Nomura’s target price of Rs295 implies multiples of 1.9x of Nomura’s FY14F ABV and 9.3x of Nomura’s FY13F EPS.

User

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)