Nandan Nilekani is part of every committee and group that is making Aadhaar mandatory

In a strange case of conflict of interests, Nandan Nilekani, the IT czar, is either heading or part of a committee or group that is turning the 'voluntary' UID number or Aadhaar of residents as mandatory for citizens to access several services and benefits from the government

The Supreme Court has ruled that the unique identification (UID) number or Aadhaar is not mandatory to avail essential services from the government. What is strange is all those ministries and departments that are making Aadhaar ‘mandatory’ are doing so on recommendations from a committee or group associated with Nandan Nilekani, the chief of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). This is pure conflict of interests as the UIDAI itself is maintaining that Aadhaar is 'voluntary' while its chairman is making sure that it is made mandatory to avail a number of services or benefits from the government.

 

Gopal Krishna, member of Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL), has sent a letter to prime minister Manmohan Singh, defense minister AK Antony who is also the head of the Group of Ministers (GoM) which oversees the issue of resident identity cards under scheme of National Population Register (NPR). Mr Krishna has also sent it to Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of Planning Commission as well as special invitee on the Cabinet Committee on UIDAI-related issues and who is also on the GoM on the issue of resident identity cards under NPR scheme, and Dr C Chandramouli, Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India.

 

He said, "I submit that the Supreme Court has revealed that although the attached enrolment form of Aadhaar/unique identification (UID) number promises on top of the form that it is free and voluntary, several central ministries and uninformed state governments attempted to make it mandatory, in a manifest case of breach of citizen's trust."

 

According to Mr Krishna, the Strategy Overview document of the UIDAI says that "enrolment will not be mandated" adding, "This will not, however, preclude governments or registrars from mandating enrolment". "It must be noted that Mr Nilekani headed several committees whose recommendations made Aadhaar mandatory," he said.

 

Here is the list of Committees and groups compiled by Mr Krishna, which decided to make Aadhaar mandatory and are linked with Mr Nilekani...

 

1) He is head of Technology Advisory Group on Unique Projects (TAGUP) that proposes "private company with public purpose" and with "profit making as the motive but not profit maximising".

 

2) He is head of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which is functioning without legislative approval either at the centre or in the states and has signed contracts with companies that work with Intelligence agencies.

 

3) He is head of Committee on Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) technology for use on National Highways that proposes Radio Frequency Identification (RFID).

 

4) He is head of Inter-ministerial task force to streamline the subsidy distribution mechanism

 

5) He is head of Government of India's IT Task Force for Power Sector

 

6) He is member of National Knowledge Commission

 

7) He is member of Review Committee of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission

 

8) He is member of National Advisory Group on e-Governance

 

9) He is member of Subcommittee of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) that dealt with issues related to insider trading

 

10) He is member of Reserve Bank of India's Advisory Group on corporate governance

 

11) He is member of Prime Minister's National Council on Skill Development

 

12) He is member of Prime Minister headed National Committee on Direct Cash Transfers

 

13) He is an invitee to the Cabinet Committee on UID related matters

 

14) He is an invitee to Group of Ministers (GoM) regarding Issue of Resident Identity Cards under NPR Scheme

 

15) He is a member of the board of governors of the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER)

 

16) He is the president of NCAER

 

17) He is chairman, Empowered Group, IT Infrastructure for Goods and Services Tax (GST)

 

"The list is not exhaustive. Mr Nilekani has many more identities as a shareholder and as a former head of a corporation," says Mr Krishna.

 

Further, according to Mr Krishna, the 'rift between Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Planning Commissions’, the UIDAI on UID and NPR was motivated and meant to take legislatures, citizens, states and media for a ride.

 

Mr Krishna said, "...it was reported on 6 October 2011 that Gujarat chief minister, Narendra Modi wrote to the prime minister questioning the need for National Population Register (NPR) by Registrar General of India and Census Commissioner. Gujarat then stopped collection of biometric data for creation of the NPR."

 

In his letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Modi raised objections over both the UIDAI, which is creating UID/Aadhaar number and Registrar General of India, which is creating the NPR, collecting biometric data.

 

In his letter Mr Modi wrote, “…there is no mention of capturing biometrics in the Citizenship Act or Citizenship Rules, 2009”. In the absence of any provision in the Citizenship Act, 1955, or rules for capturing biometrics, it is difficult to appreciate how the capture of biometrics is a statutory requirement. Photography and biometrics is only mentioned in the Manual of Instructions for filling up the NPR household schedule and even in that there is no mention of capturing the iris”.

 

After Gujarat stopped collection of biometric data, the then Union Minister of Home Affairs, P Chidambaram sent a letter to Mr Modi in August 2011, pointing out that creation of the NPR was a “statutory requirement” under the Citizenship Act, 1955, and “once initialised, (it) has to be necessarily completed”. The MHA had also requested the chief minister to instruct state government officers to cooperate in creation of the NPR. This was when the entire media, citizens and the political class was hoodwinked into believing that there was a rift between Mr Nilekani’s UIDAI under Planning Commission and Dr C Chandramouli’s NPR under MHA when Mr Chidambaram headed it, said Mr Krishna.

 

Mr Krishna says, "It appears that Mr Modi chose to side with UIDAI in an apparent rebuff to Mr Chidambaram. Mr Modi kicked off UID/Aadhaar project in Gujarat on 1 May 2012 by giving his biometric information and enrolled under the UIDAI project. Strangely, Mr Modi did not object to his biometric identification under UID as he did with regard to NPR. Mr Modi did so despite the fact that Yashwant Sinha (BJP leader) headed Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance that rejected the UID project and the UID Bill in its report to the Parliament on 13 December 2012. However, it may be noted that one sentence of its report appears to endorse biometric NPR. Is it a case of Mr Sinha was trying to side with Mr Chidambaram? It appears that Mr Modi has been taken for ride with regard to the UID/Aadhaar and Mr Sinha with regard to NPR as they failed to see through the strategy. Now Mr Chidambaram is wearing the hat of minister of finance. This is how both Mr Modi and Mr Sinha were outwitted by Mr Chidambaram."    

 

"I submit that Mr Nilekani met the then deputy chief minister of Bihar, Sushil Kumar Modi at Bihar Bhawan in New Delhi in August 2011 to ensure a centralized IT infrastructure for GST across the states through GST Network, a National Information Utility, a private company with public purpose having profit making as the motive but not profit maximising. This is meant to take away the sovereign function of tax collection from the state," Mr Krishna said in his letter.

 

Here is the letter sent by Mr Krishna (http://www.toxicswatch.org/2013/09/following-following-supreme-courts.html )....

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    COMMENTS

    Karthik

    3 years ago

    It is noteworthy that Election Commission’s website carries a power point presentation that concludes by stating ‘Makes us UID ready’. It has come to light that Union Home Ministry has sought a proposal from the Election Commission of India and the Unique Identification Authorityof India - apna csc, will ensure that UID-Aadhaar does not duplicate the data that is collected and used by the Election Commission.
    Quraishi as Chief Election Commissioner (CEC)
    revealed to a newspaper that, “With the UID project already completing the biometric process under its umbrella, by scanning fingerprints and retina scan, we have approached the Centre to merge the Election ID cards with UID.” He added, “We will have the unique identification numbers provided by the UID printed on the election IDs…With over 750 million people registered with the EC, we have the largest data base to help the UID project.”
    It may be noted that the Shri Nilekani had approached the Election Commission for accessing their data base and voters list for preparing the UIDdatabase

    Dinesh

    3 years ago

    It appears that Shri Modi chose to side with UIDAI in an apparent rebuff to Shri Chidambaram. Shri Modi kicked off UID/Adhaar project in Gujarat on May 1, 2012 by giving his biometric information for his Aadhaar/UID number and enrolled under the UIDAI project. Strangely, Modi did not object to his biometric identification under UID as he did with regard to NPR. Modi did so despite the fact that Shri Yashwant Sinha headed Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance has rejected the UID project and the find uid Bill in its report to the Parliament on December 13,2012. However, it may be noted that one sentence of its report appears to endorse biometric NPR. Is it a case of Shri Sinha was trying to side with Shri Chidambaram? It appears that Shri Modi has been taken for ride with regard to the UID/Aadhaar and Shri Sinha with regard to NPRas they failed to see through the strategy. Now Shri Chidambaram is wearing the hat of Union Minister of Finance. This is how both Shri Modi and Shri Sinha were outwitted by Shri Chidambaram.

    CA PRADEEP AGARWAL

    7 years ago

    Govt acts only in distress, but Here the saying is that he should not head the Committee, but can be part of the Committee, expressing his point of view.

    Mukesh kamath

    7 years ago

    Join Team NaNi.... NaNi for PM. Follow him on twitter @NNilekani.

    Bhajan Lal Lohia

    7 years ago

    Nandan is only a technologist, with little or no idea about real life. He can only create technology (though, I doubt even that, since the authentication systems are not yet operational and name, photo, address can still not be authenticated).

    He doesn't know anything about the administration, laws, people or policies.

    AND, aadhar is for residents of India, (so illegal bangladeshis, pakistanis etc. have acquired aadhar) but is actually being used as a citizenship number.

    Giving Nandan the ropes of running the country's administration (which, in reality, is a vote bank creation scheme, without any semblance to anything to improve quality of life of an Indian) using aadhar is suicidal.

    Unfortunately, like all other mistakes of Manmohan, Indians have to bear this loss of thousands of crores of a unsuitable scheme.

    P b Sarma

    7 years ago

    Administrative check is much less than required in our country.That is why many Pakistanis or bangladeshis enter India ,settle down,get ration cards,voter Identity cards etc.On this basis now they get Andhra cards.Some political parties are encouraging this practice instead of weeding out unauthorised people purely on vote bank politics.
    Secondly due to lack of proper check,foreigners come and stay here without valid passport or visa.Terrorists enter and get all types of identity cards like voter I'd,driving licence etc.Many of them indulge in illegal activities like smuggling ,drug trafficking and other terror related activities.The politicians are not bothered since they get benefitted directly or indirectly and they got proper security at the cost of general population at large.

    Gopalakrishnan T V

    7 years ago

    The insistence of Aadhar to have access to various services though not obligatory as per the SC orders,the message has neither reached at various points of Service nor understood the objective of the concept at various levels. Since Mr Nandan Neilkani is associated with various Committees, it becomes easy for him to make Adhar a compulsory requirement to avail of various facilities. The ground reality is that the issue of Aadhar and its insistence has become a money spinning machine for various machineries operating at ground levels. Village officers, notary public etc are making a lot of money in the name of Aadhar exploiting the ignorance of the masses and taking advantage of the confusion on the need for Aadhar to avail of Gas connection, opening of bank accounts, and other KYC requirements where ever to be met.The objective of AAdhar is no doubt laudable, but it should not be made an avenue to raise revenue illegally at various points. The insistence of AAdhar for people who move from place to place for occupational reasons or for domestic reasons is really an irritant and such people though technically eligible for all the facilities offered by the Govt and its agencies should not be deprived of these in the absence of AAdhar card. 70 % of the population are more or less permanently settled and the issue of Aadhar Card should not be a problem and it should not involve any corrupt practices.

    REPLY

    MOHAN

    In Reply to Gopalakrishnan T V 7 years ago

    you are absoultely right T.V

    SuchindranathAiyerS

    7 years ago

    Aadhar Nandan Nilekani is a Khangress Walla. As if we couldn't see this coming? !!!

    ANIL KUMAR JALOTA

    7 years ago

    There is nothing wrong with AADHAR provided there is proper scrutiny at the time of issuing it and it has the backing of the law on the lines of SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER in USA. Every legal citizen of the country need to have some proof of its nationality. The problem is identifying those who have entered into India illegally.

    REPLY

    Seshamani

    In Reply to ANIL KUMAR JALOTA 7 years ago

    You have mentioned in your message all the problems of Aadhar. Proof of Nationality is from the Voter Card, then there is a National Population Register (NPR) which predates the Aadhar. It is difficult to understand why at all the Aadhar is intruduced, except for Mr Nandan Nilenkeni's persuasive style of marketing and other information that the Aadhar agglomerates and therein lies the real danger. In no other country does one have a single point for ALL data of a person to get accumulated and thus make it easy for fraud to take place. Another major thing in this Aadhar registration is the intention to use it for commercial benefit by those who hold the data (Government) and finally the fact that such a critical type of data is held by forsign companies in some cases, who have taken contracts from the UIDAI - something that I cannot understand at all - as if Indian companies cannot do this work!

    Mumbai One

    In Reply to ANIL KUMAR JALOTA 7 years ago

    Two points people are not well informed..
    1. Aadhaar is not for Indian CITIZENS. It is for all RESIDENTS.(You can anytime check Govandi, Cheeta Camp area in Mumbai to see how many Bangladeshi have Aadhaar)
    2. SSN in the US does not capture biometrics. Its just a number. The SSN card is still not suitable for primary identification as it has no photograph, no physical description and no birth date. All it does is confirm that a particular number has been issued to a particular name.

    Sunil

    7 years ago

    Quite amazing and brazen . Mr. Nilekani probably was / is probably a tool to machinations of politicians. I do hope that Nilekani wakes up to what he is doing.

    REPLY

    Bhajan Lal Lohia

    In Reply to Sunil 7 years ago

    Instead, Nadan will contest polls on Congress ticket.
    We need to make sure that he is defeated.

    dvn

    In Reply to Bhajan Lal Lohia 7 years ago

    Yes, he has made lot of money in this niradhar card and now wants to make more money by entering politicas in corrupt congress ticket.

    Aadhaar: SC Infuses a Dose of Reality

    Will UID now be open to a debate on privacy and security issues?

    The Supreme Court’s stay order of 23rd September on the implementation of Aadhaar has provided much needed relief to people who were being forced to avail of this biometric identity due to backdoor government mandates for access to essential facilities and services such as gas cylinders, registration of birth, property and marriages, salaries in municipal schools and even admission to schools. It has also triggered a discussion on this expensive and dangerous experiment with people’s biometric identifiers (iris scan and fingerprints), under the guise of delivering economic benefits to poor people who do not have an identity. The stay order given by Justices Dr BS Chauhan and SA Bobde in connection with a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Justice KS Puttaswamy (retd) has caused jubilation among privacy activists. Several other petitions filed in the Chennai and Mumbai High Courts have also been transferred to the Supreme Court for hearing. Fortunately, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) does not seem to be in a mood to challenge the Supreme Court order.

    The immediate impact of the judgement is to create greater awareness among India’s largely indifferent middle-class to the dangers of identity theft or worse. Privacy activists have pointed out that, all over the world, there is recognition that centralised databases, especially those linked to a person’s biometrics, leave a person vulnerable to identity theft. Worse, the UIDAI, which was rejected by a parliamentary standing committee and has not been approved by parliament, has no provisions for providing recourse to any person whose unique identity number, or Aadhaar, has been misused. In fact, it does not even provide for cancellation of an Aadhaar, once it has been issued, or offer even the most basic assurance about how safely this sensitive data is being stored, or the precautions being taken to prevent its misuse. Finally, Aadhaar was being freely issued to illegal immigrants which the SC expressed concerns about.

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    COMMENTS

    Prithvi Karnati

    7 years ago

    Still LPG dealers are asking Aadhar number otherwise we will not get subsidy.

    Deepak

    7 years ago

    Crazy! If we can have out bank account, demat account and mutual funds stored online in a computer network, what is wrong in storing Aadhaar identity? Identity theft cannot take place as for identification, a person has to be physically present and his actual biometrics (fingerprints and iris) have to be matched with the records in the Aadhaar database. Merely stealing the Aadhaar records is not useful unlike stealing a bank account/password. Aadhaar is not being freely issued to illegal immigrants, their identity and address proof is required in the form of existing acceptable documents for the same or through an introducer. If they have succeeded in getting these documents such as passport, ration card, etc. there is already breach of the system which does not increase in gravity by registering them for Aadhaar. Besides, Aadhaar will positively identity the existing people at least, so that further inflitrator will not have an Aadhaar card and can be identified, unlike the present system where there is no check and continuous infiltration. Thus, opposition to Aadhaar is more political and due to fear of illegal financial transactions being tracked.

    REPLY

    R Varadarajan

    In Reply to Deepak 7 years ago

    Absolutely. These are just politics. The country today faces the greatest challenge where there is none in the political arena who would like to put the country and its development above himself and his party !!!

    joaquim P de sousa

    In Reply to Deepak 7 years ago

    Mr Deepak you have gone overboard in your defence of Nilekhani's panacea . Apparently you are not aware of what is happening on the ground. Contrary to your assertion,there is no check or filtering being caried out and the Aadhar cards are prepared by outsourced company employees based on Xerox of Birth cert and Ration cards. Both can and are faked extensively in Eldorado states such as Goa. One can imagine the state in the Bimaru states. The outsourced employees are contract labour , without accountability. Therefore do not expect any accountability .Question also arises if India is responsible to finance and fund illegal immigrants, because , as the Hon SC also feared the Aadhar has become a joke .

    Deepak

    In Reply to joaquim P de sousa 7 years ago

    You are missing the point. These migrants already have ration cards and are using all services. Aadhaar at least will give a database with positive identification which presently does not exist, which can be rechecked/validated at a later stage. It can also be used as a cut-off where no new people can be enrolled without tough scrutiny so as to prevent future infiltration which in the present system goes unchecked.

    Sucheta Dalal

    In Reply to Deepak 7 years ago

    we can only urge you to make the effort to read all our articles on UID and why it is not as simple as you seem to imagine.

    Deepak

    In Reply to Sucheta Dalal 7 years ago

    While you do have a point in some issues, the fact remains that Aadhaar will bring immense benefits within a short period which far outweigh the demerits especially in a country like India where there is rampant corruption, no tracking of financial transactions and rampant use of black money, lack of credible proof of identity for many people, lack of access to banking, etc. While it could be misused, the existing systems are far more open to misuse due to lack of positive identification of a person from records used to prove identity, no centralised database of identity, transactions and facilities availed, lack of inter-connectivity between various systems, etc. Aadhaar will force people to be much more honest than they presently are. There can always be revalidation of the Aadhaar database as far as citizenship goes and cancellation if a person is found not to be a citizen. The primary need at the initial stage is to have a national database with positive identification and then to link it to various facilities and services. The existing system can be open to the same misuse and abuse as Aadhaar. Aadhaar is like any other no. issued like a bank account no., PF account no., driving licence no., ration card no., passport no., etc. except that it is mean to be one database at national level and covering all citizens. Checks and balances need to be introduced but discarding it will not benefit the country but rather it will greatly lose.

    RBI asks banks to bear the cost of deploying e-KYC of Aadhaar

    In yet another example of burdening bank customers, RBI has asked banks to deploy infrastructure at own cost for using UIDAI’s Aadhaar biometric authentication for KYC

    Although the Supreme Court has ruled that Aadhaar number from Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is not necessary for essential services, several government agencies are enforcing it on helpless citizens. Going a step further the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is asking banks to bear the cost for deploying electronic-know your customer (e-KYC) launched by UIDAI.

     

    In a circular issued on 2 September 2013, the central bank has asked banks to accept on-line Aadhaar authentication as an ‘Officially Valid Document’ under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.

     

    "In this connection, it is advised that while using e-KYC service of UIDAI, the individual user has to authorize the UIDAI, by explicit consent, to release her or his identity/address through biometric authentication to the bank branches/business correspondents (BCs). The UIDAI then transfers the data of the individual comprising name, age, gender, and photograph of the individual, electronically to the bank/BCs, which may be accepted as valid process for KYC verification," the notification says.

     

    RBI has also 'directed' banks to have proper infrastructure in place to enable biometric authentication for e-KYC.

     

    Here is the operational procedure that banks are required to follow for e-KYC exercise...

     

    The e-KYC service of the UIDAI is to be leveraged by banks through a secured network. Any bank willing to use the UIDAI e-KYC service is required to sign an agreement with the UIDAI. The process flow to be followed is as follows:
     

    1. Sign KYC User Agency (KUA) agreement with UIDAI to enable the bank to specifically access e-KYC service.
     

    2. Banks to deploy hardware and software for deployment of e-KYC service across various delivery channels. These should be Standardisation Testing and Quality Certification (STQC) Institute, Department of Electronics & Information Technology, Government of India certified biometric scanners at bank branches/ micro ATMs/ BC points as per UIDAI standards. The current list of certified biometric scanners is given in the link below:
     

    3. Develop a software application to enable use of e-KYC across various Customer Service Points (CSP) (including bank branch, BCs etc.) as per UIDAI defined Application Programming Interface (API) protocols. For this purpose banks will have to develop their own software under the broad guidelines of UIDAI. Therefore, the software may differ from bank to bank.
     

    4. Define a procedure for obtaining customer authorization to UIDAI for sharing e-KYC data with the bank. This authorization can be in physical (by way of a written explicit consent authorising UIDAI to share his/her Aadhaar data with the bank/BC for the purpose of opening bank account) /electronic form as defined by UIDAI from time to time.
     

    5. Sample process flow would be as follows:

    1. Customer walks into CSP of a bank with his/her 12-digit Aadhaar number and explicit consent and requests to open a bank account with Aadhaar based e-KYC.
       
    2. Bank representative manning the CSP enters the number into bank’s e-KYC application software.
       
    3. The customer inputs his/her biometrics via a UIDAI compliant biometric reader (e.g. fingerprints on a biometric reader).
       
    4. The software application captures the Aadhaar number along with biometric data, encrypts this data and sends it to UIDAI’s Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR).
       
    5. The Aadhaar KYC service authenticates customer data. If the Aadhaar number does not match with the biometrics, UIDAI server responds with an error with various reason codes depending on type of error (as defined by UIDAI).
       
    6. If the Aadhaar number matches with the biometrics, UIDAI responds with digitally signed and encrypted demographic information [Name, year/date of birth, Gender, Address, Phone and email (if available)] and photograph. This information is captured by bank’s e-KYC application and processed as needed.
       
    7. Bank’s servers auto populate the demographic data and photograph in relevant fields. It also records the full audit trail of e-KYC viz. source of information, digital signatures, reference number, original request generation number, machine ID for device used to generate the request, date and time stamp with full trail of message routing, UIDAI encryption date and time stamp, bank’s decryption date and time stamp, etc.
       
    8. The photograph and demographics of the customer can be seen on the screen of computer at bank branches or on a hand held device of BCs for reference.

          i    The customer can open bank account subject to satisfying other account opening 
                requirements.

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    COMMENTS

    Ramesh Iyer

    7 years ago

    Many Banks don't accept the Aadhar Card as a proof of Address, though they accept it as a Proof of ID. Wonder why this strange practice.

    Also, most Banks don't accept Aadhar Card / Letter as proof of ID or address for Demat a/c operations.

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