The government is planning a biometric database to authenticate work applications, work-site attendance and wage payments. After the Aadhaar implementation, Big Brother will not just be watching you; every move you make will be recorded and registered
We at Moneylife have been repeatedly pointing out that the Aadhaar (or UID) project that the government is rolling out across the country will be nothing but an intrusion into the privacy of citizens—be it the middle-class, the well-off or the masses.
Today, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told the nation that the government proposes to create a biometric database of all workers covered under its flagship Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) scheme and "use it to authenticate work applications, work-site attendance and wage payments."
He was making the announcement at a function held in New Delhi to mark five years of the launch of MNREGA. Mr Singh said, "We hope it will substantially reduce instances of discrimination in work allocation, delayed payments and bogus muster rolls."
We do wish this scheme to be a success. But if the monitoring of the database is tardy, or worse, if it is used to exploit our illiterate workforce, the consequences will be disastrous. To say the least.
Coming back to Aadhaar, the number of articles that we have carried on the UID project are too numerous to be detailed here. But we have been roundly condemned by a number of our citizens, who feel that the Aadhaar project is a great initiative from the Centre.
For example, consider the latest article that we had carried on the UID project: (How Aadhaar, or the UID project, can get you into deep trouble).
As the article pointed out, "Aadhaar, with its biometrics and the ability to facilitate convergence of information—bona fide or otherwise—has the potential to compromise privacy and put people in trouble."
Here's what a 'concerned' citizen (his handle is 'Chowdhury') had to say on the above article (this is just a part of the comment, reproduced verbatim, and not corrected for grammar): "Please let India towards a progressive and futuristic society, a step ahead of USA, China etc. Otherwise we are to stay back-same old India, nothing pioneering... Let India show others an example of e-Governance."
Well, India is showing us today an example of what sorry pass e-governance can bring us to, if not properly utilised. If you read between the lines, it is obvious that this so-called database announced today by the government will just be a way to keep tabs on workers.
And must we add, Aadhaar is a step in the wrong direction? Do you really want every move of yours to be recorded, registered and probably misused? Don't say we did not warn you.
We at Moneylife look forward to your comments.
JSW, Essar expected to increase prices too, as coking coal prices continue to climb on reduced supplies
State-owned Steel Authority of India (SAIL) has increased the prices of long and flat products by Rs1,000 to Rs3,000 a tonne, effective 1st February, a SAIL dealer in the Western region told Moneylife today.
"We have got intimation from the company (SAIL) that prices of both long and flat products have been hiked between Rs1,000 and 3,000, effective from the first of this month," the dealer said.
Long products, such as bars and rods, are used in the construction sector, while flat products are consumed by automotive and consumer durables businesses.
Last month SAIL increased the prices of long products by about Rs2,000 a tonne and that of flat products by around Rs1,500 a tonne. Other Indian steel majors also increased prices between 4% and 5% on account of rising prices of inputs like coking coal and iron ore.
Rising prices of coking coal is continuing to put pressure on steelmakers to increase prices of their products to maintain margins. Coking coal prices have surged in the international market since supplies have been disrupted due to floods in Queensland, Australia, which is one of the largest suppliers of the commodity.
India imports about 70% of its coking coal requirements, and nearly 85% of that is from Australia. Coking coal prices in the spot market have climbed to a high of $300 per tonne, compared to $210 per tonne in December.
JSW Steel and Essar Steel are expected to follow in SAIL's footsteps.
Opto Circuits’s Cardiac Science automated external defibrillators will protect Tyco facilities worldwide
The wholly-owned subsidiary of Opto Circuits (India) Ltd, Cardiac Science Corporation, a global leader in automated external defibrillator (AED) and diagnostic cardiac monitoring devices, has been awarded a contract to deploy Powerheart AEDs in all Tyco Flow Control facilities globally. Tyco Flow Control is a $3.4B division of Tyco International. The first phase of the rollout, planned for the first quarter of 2011, will equip Tyco's Australian, Pacific, and North and South American facilities.
"We wanted a fully automatic defibrillator that did not require the user to push a button for shock delivery and an AED that customises the energy level for each patient," said Ralf Schnörringer, director of Environmental Health and Safety for Tyco Flow Control. "Cardiac Science's ability to deliver a globally standardised product and AED program management throughout the world made them our first choice for the 'Save a Life' initiative at Tyco Flow Control."
On Wednesday, Opto Circuits India ended 0.56% down at Rs240 on the Bombay Stock Exchange, while the benchmark Sensex gained 0.38% to 18,090.62 points.