Public Interest   Exclusive
Unfolding of Aadhaar scam: Guaranteed revenue flow for MNCs by Modi govt? –Part2

The earnestness with which the Modi government has guaranteed revenue flow for transnational automatic biometric data based identification companies from US and France is quite intriguing. Yashwant Sinha, SS Ahluwalia and Ananth Kumar, the vocal critics of Aadhaar from BJP appear to be tongue-tied on the issue

 

The Central Information Commission (CIC)’s interim order dated 26 July 2013 had asked Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to provide “written submissions, justifying non-disclosure of the information sought by the appellant under the provisions of Section 8 (1) (d) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act”. The UIDAI failed to do so on 10 September 2013, and instead agreed to share the copy of the contract agreements. It is manifestly insincere on the part of UIDAI to unsettle what was already settled matter as per its own letter of 10 September 2013 and the final order of CIC dated 21 October 2013.

 

The irony of UIDAI’s reasoning becomes quite stark when one pays heed to Clause 15.1 of the contract agreement with Accenture Services Pvt Ltd. It reads: "By virtue of this Contract, Accenture Services Pvt Ltd/ Team of Accenture Services Pvt Ltd may have access to personal information of the Purchaser and/or a third party or any resident of India, any other person covered within the ambit of any legislation as may be applicable." The purchaser has been defined and stated as the President of India through UIDAI.

 

The clause 15.3 reads: "The Data shall be retained by Accenture Services Pvt Ltd not more than a period of 7 years as per Retention Policy of Government of India or any other policy that UIDAI may adopt in future."

 

The contract agreement with L1 Identity Solutions Operating Company at clause 15.1 also reads: "By virtue of this Contract, L1 Identity Solutions Operating Company/ Team of L1 Identity Solutions Operating Company may have access to personal information of the Purchaser and/or a third party or any resident of India, any other person covered within the ambit of any legislation as may be applicable."

 

The clause 15.3 of this agreement also reads: "The Data shall be retained by L1 Identity Solutions Operating Company not more than a period of 7 years as per Retention Policy of Government of India or any other policy that UIDAI may adopt in future." The purchaser is President of India through UIDAI.

 

In his record of the hearing dated 3 September 2014, Sharat Sabharwal, Information Commissioner, CIC wrote: “Having considered the records and submissions by both the parties, the Registry is directed to examine the matter concerning compliance with the order dated 21 October 2013 within two weeks of the issuance of this order.”

 

The matter pertained to UIDAI’s contracts with two foreign companies L1 and Accenture. Notably, L1 was a Delaware, US-based Corporation when the contract was signed. L-1 has since been bought over by French corporate conglomerate, Safran Group after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) was convinced that there are no unresolved national security concerns with respect to the transaction. L-1 Identity Solutions announced agreement to be acquired by Safran on 20 September 2010.

 

Sagem Morpho, a unit of Safran already had a contract with UIDAI. As to Accenture Services Pvt Ltd, it is a "Biometric Solution Provider", a subsidiary of Dublin, Ireland based Accenture plc, a US company. Till 1 January 2001 it was known as Andersen Consulting. Both the contract agreements have been signed in the name of the President of India. While L1 was a US corporation, its Indian subsidiary had a registered office at 2, Frontline Grandeur, 14, Walton Road, Bangalore. Now that it has become a French company, it is not clear whether its Bangalore address is intact or not.

 

Vijay Bhalla, Deputy Registrar, CIC wrote a letter on behalf of Sharat Sabharwal, Information Commissioner, CIC to Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) & Deputy Director, UIDAI wrote, “As regards the remaining information concerning Technical Bid and Commercial Bid, it was observed that your decision (conveyed to the Appellant Mathew Thomas by letter No. F-12013/096/2012/RTI-UIDAI dated 20.12.2013) to deny this information to the Appellant after following the third party information procedure laid down in Section 11 (1) of the RTI Act was in conformity with the decision of High Court of Delhi in BSNL vs Chander Sekar; LPA N. 900/2010; date of decision 23 March 2012; Commission’s Full Bench decision dated 20 May 2013 in Kuljit Singh and Anr. vs. PFCL; and Commission’s decision dated 1 September 2014 in Ajay Chadha vs Charak Palika Hospital, NDMC; date of decision 1 September 2014; Appeal No. CIC/DS/A/2013/001664-YA and CC/DS/A/2013/001684-YA. Moreover, the Appellant has not established any larger public interest warranting the disclosure of information in question. Therefore, there shall be no disclosure with regard to the information concerning Technical Bid and, Commercial Bid as it falls under the exemption category of Section 8 (1) (d) of the RTI Act.”

 

Under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Public Information Officer (PIO) cannot deny information citing commercial confidence for agreements between a public authority and private party. While giving its judgement in this regard, the CIC said “The claim of 'commercial confidence' in denying access to agreements between private parties and the masters of the public authorities—citizens—runs counter to the principles of the RTI. “Any agreement entered into by the government is an agreement deemed to have been entered into on behalf of the and in the interest of ‘We the people’. Hence, if any citizen wants to know the contents of such an agreement he is in the position of a principal asking his agent to disclose to him the terms of the agreement entered into by the agent on behalf of the principal. No agent can refuse to disclose any such information to his principal,” the CIC said in its order dated 27 July 2009.

 

The Commission was of the view that “The objectives of the RTI Act would be defeated if public authorities claim exemption based on a claim that ‘terms and condition were much more favourable to the government’, and therefore these must be kept away from the Public. In fact, public feels that quite often the contrary is the case,” the Commission noted. The CIC observed, “Any so called imaginary moral or reciprocal obligation cannot be permitted to subvert a solemn constitutional and legal obligation” and directed the PIO to provide copy of the agreement.

 

Now the issue is should UIDAI comply with the letter of CIC’s Deputy Registrar or the order of Sushma Singh, Information Commissioner at the CIC? The latter gave her final order saying, “In the view of the above, the Commission hereby directs the respondent (UIDAI) to provide a copy of the two contracts to the appellant within two weeks from the receipt of the order.” It is quite clear that the letter of Deputy Registrar, CIC is pandering to the defeated argument of UIDAI but come what may this letter cannot override the final order of Information Commissioner, CIC. The Deputy Registrar supposedly acting on behalf Sharat Sabharwal, the Information Commissioner, has failed to consider public interest and is indulgent towards UIDAI’s reluctance to share complete information in violation of CIC’s order.

 

The earnestness with which the Narendra Modi government has guaranteed revenue flow for transnational automatic biometric data based identification companies from US and France is quite intriguing. Likes of Yashwant Sinha, SS Ahluwalia and Ananth Kumar, the vocal critics of Aadhaar from BJP appear to have become tongue tied on the issue.

 

The Supreme Court’s inertia in the face of violation of its order in the Aadhaar matter is equally baffling. The most astounding is the deafening and complicit silence of the non-Congress opposition parties.

 

Incidentally, states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, which are ruled by vocal opposition parties tops the priority of the new government for Aadhaar enrolment but their leaders’ political and legal imagination is yet to come to terms with the ramifications of UIDAI’s Centralized Identities Data Repository (CIDR) and Home Ministry’s National Population Register (NPR), which is one and the same. It appears that India has become a Parliamentary democracy without opposition.

 

Like the previous regime, this regime too has failed to take the Parliament, States and citizens into confidence on the justification for storage of personal sensitive information of residents of India by foreign companies in US and France for eternity. It is a case of mankind’s biggest data robbery in broad day light.

 

It will be interesting to see if there is any legislator either from the ruling party or from the opposition party who can defend the indefensible act of transferring the personal data of India’s civilian and defence population including future legislators, judges, Prime Ministers and Presidents besides intelligence officials to these countries with impunity in parliament’s winter session which commences from 24th November.

 

Read first part here


(Gopal Krishna is member of Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL), which is campaigning against surveillance technologies since 2010)

 

You may also want to read…

 

Aadhaar blunders: Now, Home Ministry too is worried

 

Is Narendra Modi right in going back to Aadhaar?

 

Why biometric identification of citizens must be resisted? Part I

Biometric identification is modern day enslavement -Part II

Biometric profiling, including DNA, is dehumanising -Part III

Marketing and advertising blitzkrieg of biometric techies and supporters -Part IV

History of technologies reveals it is their owners who are true beneficiaries -Part V

UID's promise of service delivery to poor hides IT, biometrics industry profits –Part VI
Technologies and technology companies are beyond regulation? -Part VII

Surveillance through biometrics-based Aadhaar –Part VIII

Narendra Modi biometrically profiled. What about Congress leaders?-Part IX

Aadhaar: Why opposition ruled states are playing partner for biometric UID? -Part X

Is Nandan Nilekani acting as an agent of non-state actors? –Part XI

Aadhaar and UPA govt's obsession for private sector benefits–Part XII

CIA-funded MongoDB partners with UIDAI to handle Aadhaar data –Part XIII

Are Indians being used as guinea pigs of biometric technology companies? -Part XIV

Aadhaar: Is the biometric data of human body immortal and ageless? Part XV

Aadhaar: The propaganda of transnational vested interests –Part XVI

Aadhaar: Pakistan handed over, India giving database on a platter– Part XVII

Engineered row in US-India relations, an attention diversion tactics of big brothers?—Part XVIII

Aadhaar: UIDAI and the ‘fifth column’ of Napoleon—Part XIX

Aadhaar: Turning citizens into subjects through social control technology companies –PartXX

Why Kejriwal govt in Delhi should abandon biometric Aadhaar?—Part XXI

Aadhaar for LPG: Oil companies, Ministry of Petroleum & UIDAI disobeying Supreme Court order–Part XXII

Why Vasundhara Raje should immediately withdraw circulars making Aadhaar mandatory -Part XXIII

How Congress has been proven wrong on biometric Aadhaar and NPR -Part XXIV

Aadhaar, NPR, UN resolution and deafening silence of political parties –Part XXV

Is Congress converging UID numbers of EVMs and Indian voters? –Part XXVI

Is our political class trapped by economic hit men from database empires? -Part XXVII

Aadhaar & database risks: Will India evaporate to become nobody in our life time? –Part XXIX

How BJP’s Yashwant Sinha is wrong about ‘biometric’ National Population Register –Part XXX

Aadhaar: The lies of Nilekani and Congress over biometric profiling –Part XXXI

Why the PMO is hiding behind Election Commission on Nilekani’s resignation? -Part XXXII

Who allowed merger of voter database with the illegal Aadhaar? Part XXXIII

Has Nilekani followed Pakistan’s NADRA in creating, enforcing Aadhaar? –Part XXXIV

How biometric IDs can stir 'the Pot' and lead to civil war? -Part XXXV

Will Nandan Nilekani be held accountable for violating service conduct rules and citizens’ rights? Part XXXVI

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    COMMENTS

    Mahesh S Bhatt

    5 years ago

    USA has dirty state sponsored program where smart cities shall track your property details/personal violations of traffic/behavourial traits monitored by internet of things which Cisco is promoting.

    Recnetly Mark Zuckerberg publicly stated that US state government writes malware programs to hack details from Facebook.

    We are heading for dangerous public/private citizens privacy intrusions by state Aadhar is product of Nandan Nilekani who lost his elections but IIT geeks lose larger perspective in being extra focussed by technology addiction.Government joins the circus & public suffers.

    Here we are unable to give health care /food/security/education but state wants more taxes with poor security nets.
    Mahesh

    Mahesh S Bhatt

    5 years ago

    USA has dirty state sponsored program where smart cities shall track your property details/personal violations of traffic/behavourial traits monitored by internet of things which Cisco is promoting.

    Recnetly Mark Zuckerberg publicly stated that US state government writes malware programs to hack details from Facebook.

    We are heading for dangerous public/private citizens privacy intrusions by state Aadhar is product of Nandan Nilekani who lost his elections but IIT geeks lose larger perspective in being extra focussed by technology addiction.Government joins the circus & public suffers.

    Here we are unable to give health care /food/security/education but state wants more taxes with poor security nets.
    Mahesh

    Akhil Kodali

    5 years ago

    Is there any link to Sam Pitroda in all this?

    Dhanaji Kenjle

    5 years ago

    Over the last 6 months Modi is on the National Stage and his various speeches full of "sagacious thoughts" reminds one of "Leaders like Nehru" who knew that the Indian Populace was simple, naive and wanted heroes to worship. This is in our genes. Last two decades a Hero could not be found. Now we have a "56 inch chest" hero, who can do no wrong. The lapses which have been pointed out in the Aadhar Scam(?) lead one to believe that the BJP wants to stay around in power only for 5 years and no more.
    Dhanaji Kenjle

    Unfolding Aadhaar Scam: Important pages missing from UIDAI contracts - Part1

    After refusing to share contract documents for years, the UIDAI finally provided it under the RTI Act, with important pages missing

     

    In the matter of Right to Information (RTI) application, on 14 October 2014, Vijay Bhalla, Deputy Registrar, Central Information Commission (CIC) wrote a letter on behalf of Sharat Sabharwal, Information Commissioner, CIC to Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) & Deputy Director, UIDAI. The letter states, “I am directed to convey that you should, within two weeks of the receipt of this order, provide to the Appellant the limited information i.e. financial quotation/ price by the third party firms in the subject tender as disclosure of it would not inflict any harm to the competitive position of third party firms at this stage when the contracts have already expired.”  

    The RTI application was filed seeking a complete copy of the contract UIDAI signed with L1 Identity Solutions for Biometric Technology, on 24 August 2010 and a copy of the contract UIDAI signed with Accenture for Biometric Technology, on 1 September 2010.


    Responding to this letter, Subrata Das, the CPIO & Deputy Director, UIDAI wrote to the RTI Appellant on 22 October 2014 in compliance with the CIC decision on the second Appeal hearing dated 30 September 2014.

    UIDAI’s letter reads, “The requisite letter in compliance with the CIC decision is as under:  
    (i) financial quotation/ price quoted by Accenture Services Pvt Ltd is Rs2.75 (inclusive of taxes) as a unit price for Enrollment Allotted Transaction for De-duplication Services


    (ii) financial quotation/price quoted by L1 Identity Solutions Operating Company Pvt Ltd is Rs2.75 (inclusive of taxes) as a unit price for Enrollment Allotted Transaction for De-duplication Services

    This reply implies that for each of the 100 crore Indian residents targeted for Aadhaar enrolment, the taxpayer through the central government will have to incur the cost of Rs2.75 to the companies in question. This is significant because this is not a one-time cost but each time de-duplication of Aadhaar number is done, the cost will be incurred.

     

    Besides other gnawing concerns about an assault on human rights, national security, economy and sovereignty, this is yet another case of foreign companies withholding transfer of technology from developing countries.

    It is also relevant to recall that two US based corporations, HP and IBM, had challenged UIDAI's tender processes. They had objected to their technical disqualification. The Rs2,000 crore contract for UIDAI's tender for managed service provider was won by Wipro Technologies. The Economics Times had reported on how the UIDAI tender process was unfair.”


    Notably, the 'Strategic Vision on the UIDAI Project' document that was prepared and submitted to the processes committee of the Planning Commission (set up in July 2006) by Wipro Ltd (consultant for the design phase and programme management phase of the pilot UIDAI project).


    It is noteworthy that the decision of Sharat Sabharwal, Information Commissioner, CIC and the letter of UIDAI furnishing "Limited Financial Information" is contrary to the original order of Sushma Singh, the Information Commissioner, CIC dated 21 October 2013. Mr Sabharwal’s order appears indulgent towards the UIDAI and the foreign companies in question.

    The sequence of events in this regard is quite germane for understanding the issues at hand. The Biometric Service Providers, namely, Satyam Computer Services/Sagem Morpho, L1 Identity Solutions and Accenture Services had responded to UIDAI’s Expression of Interest (EoI) and submitted their tenders for accepting the projects on the basis of fulfilling the following clauses:


    a) The prime respondent should have an office in India in the form of a Registered Office.


    b) If the prime respondent does not have a Registered Office, then it should have a Branch office, Representative Office, Sales Office, or an office of its subsidiary company in India for the purpose of submission of the expression of interest response.


    c) If the prime respondent is unable to meet the stated conditions, it shall submit a declaration/confirmation stating that it shall have Registered Office in India for the purposes of signing contracts with the UIDAI.          

    But in its letter dated 21 July 2011, the UIDAI stated that “There is no means to verify whether the said companies/ organizations are of US origin or not. As per our contractual terms and conditions, only the companies registered in India can bid.” If that is indeed the case then the UIDAI will have no means to verify whether Sagem Morpho and later L1 are of French origin or not.

    Subsequent RTI applications forced UIDAI to share contract agreements with these companies, which clearly stated their countries of origin. This establishes that the UIDAI did have the means of verifying the foreign origin of the companies in question. It indulged in misrepresentation of facts with impunity.       

    If the letter of 14 October 2014, Vijay Bhalla, Deputy Registrar, CIC is read with the interim order of Sushma Singh, Information Commissioner, CIC dated 26 July 2013, it become abundantly clear that UIDAI had raised the issue of Third Party’s trade secret and propriety information and the same was responded to by the author in writing. The order reads: “The appellant’s representative filed written submissions before the Commission, which inter-alia states that denial of information is not in public interest.

     

    The people of India have a right to know the details of the contracts issued by an Authority set up under an order of the Executive and the Authority claiming to act on behalf of the Government of India, entering into contracts with private firms, both foreign and Indian. Since the contracts are paid from Government funds and the project for which the contracts have been given pertained to the collection and processing of personal information of every person residing in India, including the citizens, the people have a right to the said information.”

    In her order, she asked the UIDAI to provide “written submissions, justifying non-disclosure of the information sought by the appellant under the provisions of Section 8 (1) (d) of the RTI Act.” The matter was scheduled for hearing on 10 September 2013.

    On 10 September 2013, UIDAI failed to provide the “written submissions, justifying non-disclosure of the information sought by the appellant under the provisions of Section 8 (1) (d) of the RTI Act”. UIDAI realized that it does not have any defence under the said RTI Act for denial of information. It submitted a letter (No. F.2013/096/2012-RTI-UIDAI) dated 10 September 2013 to Sushma Singh, Information Commissioner, CIC.          

    On 10 September 2013, the author attended the hearing at the Central Information Commission (CIC). Shirish Kumar, Assistant Director General (ADG), Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and Shalic Das, ADG, UIDAI, were also present during the hearing, wherein the CIC sought an explanation from the UIDAI about their refusal to share a copy of all contracts given to biometric technology companies, namely, L1 Identity Solutions and Accenture. To which the UIDAI “submitted before the Commission that the copy of the said contracts can now be provided as the contracts have now expired.”


    The UIDAI gave a written submission to the CIC (No.F12013/096/2012-RTI-UIDAI) stating that "contractual obligation with respect to BSP's (Biometric Solution Provider) contracts had expired. Therefore, UIDAI has no objection in sharing the following contract details :-


    a) Copy of contract of UIDAI with L1 Identity Solutions for Biometric Technology; and b) Copy of contract of UIDAI with Accenture for Biometric Technology".


    Taking this submission into account, Sushma Singh, Information Commissioner, CIC gave her final order saying, “In view of the above, the Commission hereby directs the respondent (UIDAI) to provide a copy of the two contracts to the appellant within two weeks from the receipt of the order.” This order demolished the reasoning behind the claim of UIDAI for denial of contract agreements of these foreign companies. UIDAI had stated that “The information relating to the referred contracts cannot be disclosed as per clause 8.1 (d) of RTI Act, 2005” in its letter dated 7 May 2012.  


    Following the hearing, the author met Shirish Kumar, ADG, UIDAI at their office in Jeevan Bharti Building, New Delhi who gave me copies of the contract of UIDAI with L1 Identity Solutions for Biometric Technology and Accenture for Biometric Technology.


    After examining the contract agreement with regard to the Accenture for Biometric Technology, the author noticed that the first 237 pages of the contract agreement were in order but after that there is a one pager titled Annexure J Technical Bid Technical Bid as submitted by Accenture Services Pvt Ltd but the Technical Bid document is missing.

     

    After that there is a one pager titled Annexure K Commercial Bid Commercial Bid as submitted by Accenture Services Pvt Ltd but the Commercial Bid document is missing.


    With regard to the L1 Identity Solutions for Biometric Technology, the author noticed that the first 236 pages were in order, but a one pager titled “Annexure I Non-Disclosure Agreement as submitted by L1 Identity Solutions Operating Company Pvt Ltd” is missing. After that there is a one pager titled Annexure J Technical Bid as submitted by L1 Identity Solutions Operating Company Pvt Ltd., which is missing. After that there is a one pager titled Annexure K Commercial Bid as submitted by L1 Identity Solutions Operating Company Pvt Ltd., which is missing.    


    This compelled the author to write to Shirish Kumar, ADG, UIDAI about the “Missing Pages from the contract agreement of UIDAI and foreign biometric technology companies, CIC Case No. CIC/SS/A/2012/003157,” asking him to share the missing papers. It was/is evident that although the CIC asked the UIDAI to share a copy of the contracts, it chose to violate this order and shared truncated and selected parts of the contact agreement.


    Shirish Kumar responded on 20 December 2013 claiming, “There are no missing pages in the two contracts…Some of the pages in the above contracts have only references of Annexures. The annexures J&L w.r.t Accenture Service Pvt Ltd mentioned Technical Bid and Commercial Bid. The annexures I, J, & K wrt to L-1 Identity Solutions Operating Pvt Ltd mentioned-non disclosure Agreement, Technical Bid and Commercial Bids.” The very next paragraph of his letter revealed the inconsistency of his claim.


    He further stated, “As per Confidentiality Disclosure statement, the document contains confidential information of the above firms and they have requested not to disclose the information outside UIDAI or be used for purposes other than the evaluation of their business capabilities. Secondly, this being third party information, the firms were requested for their comments, wherein they had declined to share their documents with any applicant.”


    Tomorrow: Guaranteed revenue flow for MNCs by Modi govt? –Part2


    (Gopal Krishna is member of Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL), which is campaigning against surveillance technologies since 2010)

     

    You may also want to read…


    Aadhaar blunders: Now, Home Ministry too is worried

     

    Is Narendra Modi right in going back to Aadhaar?

     

    Why biometric identification of citizens must be resisted? Part I


    Biometric identification is modern day enslavement -Part II


    Biometric profiling, including DNA, is dehumanising -Part III

     

    Marketing and advertising blitzkrieg of biometric techies and supporters -Part IV


    History of technologies reveals it is their owners who are true beneficiaries -Part V


    UID's promise of service delivery to poor hides IT, biometrics industry profits –Part VI


    Technologies and technology companies are beyond regulation? -Part VII


    Surveillance through biometrics-based Aadhaar –Part VIII


    Narendra Modi biometrically profiled. What about Congress leaders?-Part IX


    Aadhaar: Why opposition ruled states are playing partner for biometric UID? -Part X


    Is Nandan Nilekani acting as an agent of non-state actors? –Part XI


    Aadhaar and UPA govt's obsession for private sector benefits–Part XII


    CIA-funded MongoDB partners with UIDAI to handle Aadhaar data –Part XIII


    Are Indians being used as guinea pigs of biometric technology companies? -Part XIV


    Aadhaar: Is the biometric data of human body immortal and ageless? Part XV


    Aadhaar: The propaganda of transnational vested interests –Part XVI


    Aadhaar: Pakistan handed over, India giving database on a platter– Part XVII


    Engineered row in US-India relations, an attention diversion tactics of big brothers?—Part XVIII


    Aadhaar: UIDAI and the ‘fifth column’ of Napoleon—Part XIX


    Aadhaar: Turning citizens into subjects through social control technology companies –PartXX


    Why Kejriwal govt in Delhi should abandon biometric Aadhaar?—Part XXI


    Aadhaar for LPG: Oil companies, Ministry of Petroleum & UIDAI disobeying Supreme Court order–Part XXII


    Why Vasundhara Raje should immediately withdraw circulars making Aadhaar mandatory -Part XXIII


    How Congress has been proven wrong on biometric Aadhaar and NPR -Part XXIV


    Aadhaar, NPR, UN resolution and deafening silence of political parties –Part XXV


    Is Congress converging UID numbers of EVMs and Indian voters? –Part XXVI


    Is our political class trapped by economic hit men from database empires? -Part XXVII


    Aadhaar & database risks: Will India evaporate to become nobody in our life time? –Part XXIX


    How BJP’s Yashwant Sinha is wrong about ‘biometric’ National Population Register –Part XXX


    Aadhaar: The lies of Nilekani and Congress over biometric profiling –Part XXXI


    Why the PMO is hiding behind Election Commission on Nilekani’s resignation? -Part XXXII


    Who allowed merger of voter database with the illegal Aadhaar? Part XXXIII


    Has Nilekani followed Pakistan’s NADRA in creating, enforcing Aadhaar? –Part XXXIV


    How biometric IDs can stir 'the Pot' and lead to civil war? -Part XXXV


    Will Nandan Nilekani be held accountable for violating service conduct rules and citizens’ rights? Part XXXVI

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    COMMENTS

    mediavigil

    4 years ago

    By its order dated 13th August, 2015 Election Commission has issued order for the stoppage of seeding of aadhaar with Voter ID & electoral database in compliance with Supreme Court's orders dated 11th August, 2015

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

    5 years ago

    What exactly you wants show to public from this article? In fact, in 2009 two IIM professors wrote an article on input subsidy in agriculture. They suggested to the government to continue the same policy of giving to the industry. Then I submitted my counter on this. I sent a copy to PM saying that the subsidy must be given to farmers directly as large part of it is misused like in the case of PDS gas & kersene. Later in 2010 budget FM informed the parliament that they are going to give subsidy amount directly to consumer. On this few MPs from AP met PM and requested him not to give to farmers but give it to retailers. Again I wrote to PM saying retailers are main culprits. Later I receive a letter from the ministry of Chemicals saying that they are implementing as suggested and also said they appointed a committee to formulate modalities to transfer the subsidy to consumer.

    In AP & Telangana, TDP & TRS promised public they waive the agriculture loans, etc running in to more than a lakh crores in their election manifesto. With this they got power and looking for real estate to mint few lakh crores. Neither election commission took any action nor the court. What about this Sir!!!

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

    Aadhaar blunders: Now, Home Ministry too is worried
    The Ministry has said that uniqueness of identity is not a necessary condition to ensure authenticity of identity or genuineness of other entries or records of Aadhaar number. It has also raised concerns on involvement of foreign vendors of UIDAI
     
    The union ministry of home affairs (MHA) has raises several concerns on using Aadhaar, the so-called unique number (UID) promoted by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), and being forced down by successive governments. Especially, the MHA, while commenting on Department of Telecom (DoT)'s proposal to use Aadhaar for online verification has said, the supporting data in the UID may not be authentic or genuine.

    "Aadhaar is strong on ensuring unique identity. However, uniqueness of identity is not a necessary condition to ensure authenticity of identity or genuineness of other entries or records of Aadhaar number," the MHA said.

    The ministry has written to the DoT sharing its view on accepting Aadhaar as valid proof of address for e-know your customers (KYC) programme. The DoT is working on proof of concept (e-KYC) to use Aadhaar number for online verification of people seeking mobile connections along with existing process of customer verification.

    The Home Ministry has raised concerns over supporting documents submitted by people as proof of identity and proof of address for getting Aadhaar number.

    However, it looks like, similar to previous government, the incumbent National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime is gung-ho about forcing Aadhaar on Indian citizens.
     
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Finance Ministry as well as Reserve Bank of India (RBI) are either not aware about the serious concerns related with Aadhaar or simply turning a blind eye. In fact, all banks were mandated to open crores of bank accounts by accepting Aadhaar as 'all-in-one' KYC document.
     
    Moneylife Columnist Dr Anupam Saraph, who designed and implemented identity schemes for government and private organisations, had clearly mentioned in his article that even if Aadhaar numbers were proof of identity, which it is not, its use to make money transfers make financial transfers un-auditable, propagate money laundering and financial fraud. There is no justification for introducing an unverified and un-audited number to allow payments and settlements. (Read: How Aadhaar linkage can destroy banks
     
    "When the Aadhaar number is merely a 12-digit number assigned to demographic and biometric data submitted by private parties; it cannot be a proof of identity, address or even existence. There has been no verification or audit of the Aadhaar database and therefore it is very conceivable that, as was the case of Satyam, huge number of non-existent persons is assigned an Aadhaar number. There is no basis to regard any bank accounts linked to an Aadhaar number as belonging to genuine or even existing individuals," Dr Saraph has said.
     
    In addition, the union government is asking its employees to use biometric attendance system, based on Aadhaar. It must be noted, that several organisations, including government and private use fingerprint-based biometric attendance system for a small group of employees. Many private companies prefer using card swiping or online login for recording attendance. Therefore linking UIDAI and Aadhaar to employee attendance is beyond explanation. Why would the government force employees to use Aadhaar-based attendance system?
     
    In addition, there are two issues involved in the biometric attendance system that is being implemented to show online if the employee is present for the day or not. One is installation of biometric terminals and second network connectivity. Both are being purchased from taxpayers’ money. Moreover, this attendance system is time consuming as it takes more than a minute to record the attendance of one employee. So, the more employee in an organisation, more terminals would be needed to be purchased at taxpayers’ expense. Even if the online attendance system shows a particular employee's presence in the office, there is no guarantee that he would be on his seat during all the time. So how will it benefit the common citizen? 
     
    Coming back to the UID and concerns raised by MHA, Aadhaar can be also issued to foreign nationals staying in the country. This also has been questioned by the Home Ministry as nationals of neighbouring country may attempt to use it to procure Indian identity documents for infiltrating their agents. 
     
    The Home Ministry has said that unlike Aadhaar, other acceptable proof of address documents such as passport, driving licence do not have the status of universality and therefore "even higher levels of error in these documents may not translate into comparable volume of security concerns".
     
    It said that Intelligence Bureau is neither aware of back-end systems, e-processing and e-auditing existing in Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which issues Aadhaar, nor knows how data is transmitted between units of UIDAI and how data are stored. 
     
    The Home Ministry has also raised a concern on involvement of foreign vendors by UIDAI for storing data and has suggested audit of data security. 
     
    Moneylife has been raising this and several other concerns since long. (Read: UIDAI's not-so-'clean' partners and their tainted executives). UIDAI had selected three consortia - Accenture, Mahindra Satyam-Morpho and L1 Identity Solutions - to implement the core biometric identification system for the Aadhaar programme. According to an IT expert, L-1 and NADRA, the Pakistan unique identity agency, appear to have been created on the same business model. "Staffed strongly by persons with intelligence (quasi-military) links, the major goals of both agencies are to do business with their respective governments, and they succeed to the extent that they have virtually no competition. And this is the company UIDAI has welcomed into India," the expert had said.
     
    According to sources, the introducer system provision, under which people not having supporting documents as ID and address proof can also get Aadhaar number if he is introduced by a person owning a Aadhaar number, has been questioned by the Home Ministry.
     
    The Supreme Court of India has several pending public interest litigations (PILs) on Aadhaar linkages and it would prudent to have a special court to issue a stay on all Aadhaar linkages till the cases are heard and at the same time hear the PILs expeditiously given the extent of financial ruin that Aadhaar can bring to India.
     
    As far as the issuing of IDs to residents or citizens of any country is concerned, here is what Mark Lerner, from the Constitutional Alliance and author of the book 'Your Body is Your ID', had said...
     
    "Sarcasm alert - the final titbit of information comes from the International Biometrics Agency. For all of you that keep talking about a New World Order or a One World Government, please stop such ridiculous rumours. Julian Ashbourn speaking as the Chairman of the International Biometrics Agency set our minds to rest when he said the following: 
     
    "What information do governments share? With whom is my data shared, and why? All of these questions need to be addressed by an agency with global powers. An agency with global powers? Perhaps I am naive, but I always believed we live in a sovereign country. You may have heard of our country, The United States of China. No, that is not right, The United States of Britain. I will get it right; the United States of France. This country thing is really getting hard to remember. We have the surveillance cameras like Britain; we use facial recognition like China to identify dissidents and we sell L-1 to a French company. Thank goodness for my granddaughter, she just reminded me of what Congress and others have forgotten, this is the United States of America," Mr Lerner said. (Read original posting from Mr Lerner here ).
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    COMMENTS

    Joseph Korah

    5 years ago

    Unfortunately we have come across several cases of individuals being issued more than one Aadhar Card. This shows that the system is not foolproof and hence cannot be relied upon. Unless we can ensure that we have a foolproof system in place there is bound to be problems at a later stage.

    LALIT SHAH

    5 years ago

    Some multinational MLM have huge purchasing power.Thay have infuance on any Government thay can buy morality of any SARKAR SHRI BY HUKE OR CUKE.MOST MLM MULTINATIONAL HAVE MADE HUGE MONEY FROM INDIA LIKE COCA COLA PEPSICO OTHER FOODS COMPANY HAVE MADE BILLIONS OF THAN THERE SEED CAPITAL

    PRAKASH D N

    5 years ago

    Recently I had gone to register my name for getting Aadhar Card. The application duly filled up along with copies of documents prescribed were submiited. I had taken the original documents anticipating that the people who are verifying it may call for the same. I am surprised to see that neither they asked for the original nor they scrutinized the copies. It is mere ensuring that the rule is complied in letter but not in spirit. The xerox copies / introduction through another Aadhar Card holder runs the risk of issuing bogus Aadhar Cards, as Xerox copies could be manipulated. There is a need to make the system fool proof so that the citizens need not have too many cards.

    MHA should ensure that the identity of the card holder is established and and there is no duplication.

    Instead of meeting the qualitative targets, the Govt. should ensure quality of data so that Aadhar becomes an all purpose identity -cum-address proof anywhere in the country.

    D N. PRAKASH

    Mukesh kamath

    5 years ago

    Home ministry kya janta ka accurate address le ke achar dalegi... kahin na kahin sad rahe honge log.

    Minoo Mody

    5 years ago

    I REGARD YOUR JOURNAL AS ONE OF THE FEW WHICH EXPRESSES ORIGINAL VIEW POINTS ON A VARIETY OF SUBJECTS. I AM, THEREFORE, TRULY DISAPPOINTED AT THE SUSTAINED CAMPAIGN YOU HAVE CARRIED OUT AGAINST AADHAAR. I THINK IT IS A UNIQUE ACHIEVEMENT TO COVER MORE THEN HALF OF THE COUNTRY'S POPULATION IN SUCH A SHORT TIME FRAME. ONE OF THE FEW ACHIEVEMENTS OF GOI IN RECENT YEARS. YOU ARE SUCCUMBING TO INTERNAL JEALOUSIES AGAINST NANDAN NILEKANI, WHO HAS DONE AN ENORMOUS ADMINISTRATIVE BREAK THROUGH. IF THERE ARE DEFICIENCIES THEY NEED TO BE ADDRESSED. BUT THERE IS NO NEED TO BRING DOWN THE WHOLE EDIFICE.

    REPLY

    MDT

    In Reply to Minoo Mody 5 years ago

    Thanks for your comment.
    Moneylife is just a medium that brings out facts, sans any personal feelings as you mentioned. In addition, would you also measure the Supreme Court, the Parliament and High Court on the same scale, who time and again had given verdicts, opinion against Aadhaar? Remember, the Parliament still has not passed any law to authorize UIDAI to collect biometrics of Indian citizens. But then Aadhaar is meant for residents (!) only, as per UIDAI!

    MAHENDRA

    5 years ago

    Any Big Scheme of UPA People will find Haphazard designs of Blunder games.

    No transparency but Loot+Popularity is central Backbone as People realize and Note..

    Narendra Doshi

    5 years ago

    Dear MDT,
    Wish you success soon in this too long a fight?
    Why does logic not go in minds of even a few relevant authorities?
    It has mostly been a one sided battle.
    Good luck.

    SuchindranathAiyerS

    5 years ago

    I remember, too well, a news report that alleged that the entire data had been sold for use to a French company:

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