Nandan Nilekani is part of every committee and group that is making Aadhaar mandatory
Moneylife Digital Team 01 October 2013

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, " 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 ( )....

7 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
7 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.
1 decade 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
1 decade ago
Join Team NaNi.... NaNi for PM. Follow him on twitter @NNilekani.
Bhajan Lal Lohia
1 decade 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
1 decade 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
1 decade 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.
Replied to Gopalakrishnan T V comment 1 decade ago
you are absoultely right T.V
1 decade ago
Aadhar Nandan Nilekani is a Khangress Walla. As if we couldn't see this coming? !!!
1 decade 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.
Replied to ANIL KUMAR JALOTA comment 1 decade 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
Replied to ANIL KUMAR JALOTA comment 1 decade 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.
1 decade 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.
Bhajan Lal Lohia
Replied to Sunil comment 1 decade ago
Instead, Nadan will contest polls on Congress ticket.
We need to make sure that he is defeated.
Replied to Bhajan Lal Lohia comment 1 decade 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.
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