Citizens' Issues
Two energy consultants held in oil ministry information leak case
The rooms that the accused had allegedly accessed in the middle of the night to steal official documents included rooms of joint secretary for refineries and joint secretary for exploration, besides rooms of some directors in the oil ministry
 
Investigation into the alleged leaking of classified documents from the Petroleum Ministry picked up pace Friday with the arrest of two more persons by Delhi Police. This takes the number of those held in the sensational case to seven.
 
“We have arrested Prayas Jain and Shantanu Saikia in this connection. Both of them are energy consultants who received stolen documents,” said a senior police official.
 
Saikia is a former journalist who runs a web portal on petroleum issues and has his office in Defence Colony in South Delhi. Jain runs his consultancy firm in Patel Nagar in Central Delhi.
 
Cracking down on a suspected case of corporate espionage, Delhi police on Thursday had arrested two officials from the Oil Ministry and three other middlemen in connection with alleged leaking of classified government documents to energy companies for money.
 
The Crime Branch sleuths arrested Asharam (58) and Ishwar Singh (56), who were employed as multi-tasking staff in the ministry, along with three of their alleged accomplices.
 
The other arrested persons include Lalta Prasad and Rakesh Kumar, brother and son of Asharam, who were previously employed as multi-tasking staff at Shastri Bhawan.
 
In the afternoon Friday, police took all the five arrested to the Petroleum Ministry. They were taken to the rooms of senior officials which they had allegedly accessed using duplicate keys.
 
The rooms, that they had allegedly accessed in the middle of the night to steal official documents, included rooms of joint secretary (Refineries) and joint secretary (Exploration), besides rooms of some directors.
 
The bunch of keys allegedly found in their possession was used to open the rooms of top ministry officials they are suspected to have accessed, police sources said.
 
The rooms they had allegedly accessed included that of Special Secretary, two joint secretaries and some directors dealing with sensitive issues like exploration policy, petroleum pricing and gas pricing.
 

 

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Nifty, Sensex may be headed down – Weekly closing report
Bank Nifty has already turned downwards and Nifty will be headed lower if its closes below 8,750
 
The S&P BSE Sensex closed the week that ended on 20th February at 29,231 (up 136 points or 0.47%), while the NSE’s CNX Nifty closed at 8,834 (up 28 points or 0.32%). In the previous week, we had mentioned that Nifty and Sensex may continue to head higher.
 
On Monday, after a gap up opening, Nifty moved higher to hit the intra-day high. However, by the end of the session, all of the intra-day gains were given up and it closed marginally higher. Nifty closed at 8,809 (up 4 points or 0.04%). The annual rate of inflation based on monthly wholesale price index stood at negative 0.39% in January 2015, compared with a reading of 0.11% for December 2014.
 
The stock market was closed on Tuesday for Mahashivratri. 
 
On Wednesday, the Nifty closed higher for the sixth consecutive session as the benchmark gained sudden upward momentum in the noon session. Nifty closed at 8,869 (up 60 points or 0.68%). Prime Minister Modi said his government did not want India to be the biggest importer of defence equipment in the world and vowed to double output of defence manufacturing in the country.
 
On Thursday, Nifty closed marginally higher at 8,895 (up 26 points or 0.30%). In a notification issued on Wednesday, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said, "Nominated banks are now permitted to import gold on consignment basis. All sale of gold domestically will, however, be against upfront payments. Banks are free to grant gold metal loans".
 
On Friday, Nifty broke seven days of consecutive upmove, closing at 8,834 (down 62 points or 0.69%). In the first round of coal auction the government has raised nearly Rs84,000 crore. The government said it will start the second tranche of auctions by 25th February.
 
Out of the 27 main sectors tracked by Moneylife, top five and the bottom five sectors for this week were:
 
 

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Retrieving Lost Aadhaar number: Impossible test for the poor
Once enrolled, a Kalawati cannot surrender or cancel her Aadhaar. To retrieve her lost Aadhaar letter or number, the poor lady would have to go through a gruelling process of providing enough details about herself to match 10 fields in the UIDAI database!
 
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the de-facto agency to turn every resident into a number, has admitted that retrieving a lost Aadhaar number is not without enormous pains for the holder, especially if she is from the poorer sections of the society. According to media reports, UIDAI has devised a new method, under which a person can put his biometrics and the system would then keep prompting for more demographic details till the server can zero down to 10 possible matches.
 
"During the entire process, none of the details of the Aadhaar holders will be shown to the person or the operator till the time an exact match has been found. This has been done keeping in mind the design of the Aadhaar project, where the system doesn’t reveal any information about the resident and only tries to authenticate the identity replying with a yes or no," a report from Business Standard says quoting an official from UIDAI.
 
On paper, this looks good, but would work for those who have knowledge of their own data that was filled in while registering for the unique identification (UID) number. Most of the poor people, who acquired the Aadhaar number, falling prey to UIDAI propaganda, would, however find it very difficult to retrieve their UID number, once it is lost.
 
According to Dr Anupam Saraph, who is a Professor, Future Designer, former governance and IT advisor to Goa’s former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, the process described by the official is an admission that UIDAI's biometrics is not sufficient to prove identity.
 
"The process described by the UIDAI spokesperson is an admission on part of the UIDAI that biometrics is not sufficient to prove identity. If it did, they should have been able to retrieve the unique ID for the person. There should have been no requirements for asking even a single question. It is strange that they do not trust anyone's eyes to compare the person with a photograph that their database should be having!" he said.
 
A government official told the newspaper that as a person can only enrol for Aadhaar once, there needed to be a mechanism to retrace the number in case the person has misplaced all possible links to it. “Enrolling again is not an option, as the system automatically rejects biometric details that have been registered once,” he said.
 
Dr Saraph, however, feels that there should a simple method to help the person to retrieve her lost Aadhaar number. He said, "The simplest way to replace a lost ID is to require an 'ID Lost Form' to be filled up and retrieve the person’s number based on demographic information. As a security measure, it (the letter containing Aadhaar number and other details) should not be handed over in person but be mailed through the postal service. As a measure of safety, duplicate numbers would need to be different as well as recognisable as duplicate and the original would need to be cancelled. A database of cancelled ID's would be available for query to those who rely on the ID."
 
Remember PV Narayanan from Kerala who enrolled and successfully received two Aadhaar numbers? According to a report in Matrubhoomi, a Kerala-based newspaper, PV Narayanan, a resident of Panatthadi panchayat received two Aadhaar numbers: 548780623023 and 356459270677. The names on both these letters issued by UIDAI were same, with slight different photos. Narayanan probably may have registered at two places or centres. But, surprisingly, his fingerprints apparently passed the so-called ‘robust’ de-duplication test of UIDAI. Since Aadhaar includes an iris scan, this too seems to have been missed. (http://www.moneylife.in/article/aadhaar-de-duplication-myth-busted-any-answers-mr-nilekani/34884.html)
 
Coming back to the retrieval of lost Aadhaar number or letter, all the claims of UIDAI are fine in the case of individuals. But what about those Aadhaar numbers or letters lost by the UIDAI or other government agencies themselves? And how about thousands of Aadhaar letters found in garbage and near railway tracks?
 
"How can information lost by the government be replaced without re-enrolment? How can they even tell whose information they lost? You may recall the Government of Maharashtra had lost lakhs of IDs two years ago," Dr Saraph said.
 
In March 2013, hundreds of Aadhaar letters duly signed and ready to be delivered to the concerned people have been found dumped in a heap of garbage at Shanti Nagar area in Nagpur. There have been reports of applicants being issued the Aadhaar numbers ‘twice’ over, lakhs of Aadhaar number letters being ‘misplaced’ and even being ‘issued to a dog, a chair and a tree!’
 
In addition, there is no scope for the Aadhaar number holder to cancel her registration. Replying to a Right to Information (RTI) query filed by CJ Karira, co-convenor of India Against Corruption (IAC), the UIDAI admitted that once allotted, one can never cancel the Aadhaar number. The Central Information Commission (CIC) in an order observed: “Two of the queries related to the procedure by which a UID number holder could surrender his UID number and card and get his data erased from the data base of the UIDAI. The CPIO informed the Appellant vide his letter dated 13th and 16 January 2014 that as on date, there was no such procedure adopted by the UIDAI to delete the UID number from the UID database."
 
So while there is no way the poor Kalawati can surrender her Aadhaar number, she has to go through an impossible process to retrieve her lost UID. 

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COMMENTS

CHILUKURI K R L RAO

2 years ago

I have seen people from rural background who have lost the enrolment receipt and have not received Aadhaar struggle to get it. It seems there is no easy procedure in such cases. There should some permanent points of service like e-Seva centres etc., which have a reasonable presence across the country, to take care of these issues.

REPLY

vishal

In Reply to CHILUKURI K R L RAO 2 years ago

It is better to decentralise this scheme from Government agencies. My wife took an auto and went & registered for a aadhar card. It was denied on the grounds of some technical mistake committed by the staff. It is more than a year. Still she is struggling to get a aadhar card.

Govind Agrawal

2 years ago

Nice article. I appreciate author for getting in to details, and doing it technically correct. But, believe me, Biometric Architecture behind UIDAI is reasonably strong, and planned thoroughly.

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