In your interest.
Online Personal Finance Magazine
No beating about the bush.
Wherever direct cash transfer scheme based on Aadhaar was launched in the states that went for elections, Congress lost. Promises based on biometric Aadhaar are rooted in a make believe world to which Indian voters are allergic to, shows the recent assembly elections
It is noteworthy that in the four states where assembly elections took place, the biometric Aadhaar based direct benefits transfer (DBT) was being implemented in 154 assembly seats of Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, Indian National Congress, the champion of DBT could win only 17 seats. In Delhi where DBT scheme was taken up in 63 assembly constituencies with Rs103 crore in cash transfers, the party won only eight seats. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 31 seats and the Aam Admi Party (AAP) got 28 seats. The verdict is starkly against Aadhaar-based DBT. A report from DNA dated 16 December 2013 has underlined this. Instead of biometric Aadhaar-based DBT being a game changer for the Congress it has emerged as a regime changer.
The electoral verdict is evidence against the diagnosis and remedy of World Bank Group and its Indian votaries. The verdict indicates that political parties that support Aadhaar are bound to pay heavy electoral cost for their involvement and complicity in putting citizens to inconvenience through tried, tested and failed identification technologies of transnational companies.
In view of the order dated 26 November 2013, the new government in Delhi will have to file its affidavit in the Supreme Court in Writ Petition (Civil) No(s) 494 of 2012 because notices have been “issued to all the States and Union Territories through standing counsel.” In its interim order dated 23 September 2013, the court has directed, “In the meanwhile, no person should suffer for not getting the Aadhaar card in spite of the fact that an authority had issued a circular making it mandatory and when any person applies to get the Aadhaar card voluntarily…”
When Ministry of Petroleum sought the modification of this order, this order was reiterated on 26th November wherein the court said, “Interim order to continue, in the meantime.” The next date of hearing is on 28 January 2014.
An editorial in The Financial Express (December 30, 2013) sounds worried as to ‘Where has the DBT gone?’ It argues that since between June and December 2013, about 1.84 crore customers in 184 districts have been given Rs1,700 crore of LPG subsidy transfers using Aadhaar as platform it is disturbing that Rahul Gandhi is talking about reviving and modernising Food Corporation of India (FCI) and shops under the public distribution system (PDS). It is unconvincingly argued in the editorial that if instead of cash transfer modernisation of existing infrastructure is undertaken, it will not plug annual leakages in the social security expenditure to the tune of Rs3 lakh crore.
Despite the ongoing electoral debacle being faced by Congress, it has failed to see the writing on the wall. If Rahul Gandhi is talking about modernisation of existing infrastructures in place of evidently failed initiatives like Aadhaar and DBT, it seems to imply that his trust in the prescriptions of Nandan Nilekani is beginning to erode. Notwithstanding this, the recent advertisements of the Ministry of Petroleum reveals that unless he bulldozes his opinion down their throat, the government is not likely to give it a burial but by then it will is going to be too late.
In such a backdrop, AAP govt should introduce a resolution in the Delhi Assembly for abandoning 12 digit biometric Unique Identification (UID)/Aadhaar number in Delhi.
The new government in Delhi must scrap UID/Aadhaar related regressive legacy of Congress-led regime which made right to have citizens’ rights dependent on being biometrically profiled and not on constitutional guarantees and Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This has taken citizens to pre-Magna Carta days (1215 AD) or even earlier, to the days prior to the declaration of Cyrus, the Persian King (539 BC) that willed freedom for slaves. Should it not be resisted?
The democratic mandate in the assembly election is against UID/Aadhaar, which was made compulsory and caused hardship to residents of Delhi. Unmindful of the fact that people’s right to energy and to cooking fuel funded by government is being snatched away by linking it with Aadhaar. The right to life and livelihood is under tremendous threat because significantly large number of Indians has been moved away from fire wood and coal based cooking. Delhi, for instance, claims to be a 100% LPG state. That means right to life and livelihood can be snatched away with its link with Aadhaar. Thus, the threat of exclusion in absence of Aadhaar based on decrees and sanctions unleashes violence on the people. It made Aadhaar a pre-condition for every right of Delhi residents including right to marriage. This is unconstitutional and must be undone.
All parties must rigorously examine the ramifications of biometric information based identification of residents of India in the light of global experiences. UK, China, Australia, US and France have scrapped similar initiatives. US Supreme Court, Philippines’ Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights have ruled against the indiscriminate biometric profiling of citizens without warrant.
AAP ought to take note of the fact that endorsing Supreme Court’s order dated 23 September 2013 against Aadhaar, even Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on Finance in its most recent report dated 18 October 2013 has asked Government of India to issue instructions to state governments and to all other authorities that 12-digit biometric Unique Identification (UID)/Aadhaar number should not be made mandatory for any purpose. The Seventy Seventh Report of the 31-member Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on Finance reads, “Considering that in the absence of legislation, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is functioning without any legal basis, the Committee insisted the Government to address the various shortcomings/issues pointed out in their earlier report on 'National Identification Authority of India Bill 2010' and bring forth a fresh legislation.”
If AAP introduces this resolution, it will further establish its claim to represent the common man.
In the meanwhile, a resolution was passed by West Bengal Assembly on 2 December 2013 against biometric Aadhaar-related programs. AAP govt should introduce a resolution in the Delhi Assembly seeking scrapping of biometric Aadhaar, asking all the parties to support the resolution. It is evident... that from the resolution against the Aadhaar that all the parties other than Congress are opposed to the implementation of Aadhaar-based programs.
Notably, wherever DBT scheme based on Aadhaar was launched in the states that went for elections recently, Congress lost. Rahul Gandhi had turned Aadhaar as his key promise in UP and Amethi, but he and his party lost miserably in Uttar Pradesh election too. Promises based on biometric Aadhaar are like India Shining campaign of BJP-led government which is rooted in a make believe world to which Indian voters are allergic. Even Sanjay Gandhi faced the adverse consequences of forcing planning on human body. Aadhaar-linked programs make Indian citizens subjects of Big Data companies. It is akin to Sanjay Gandhi's forced family planning programs.
The abandonment of biometric Aadhaar number by AAP will demonstrate that its government will end the culture of spying on its citizens and children in myriad disguises. This will help citizens stand up against illegitimate advances of the state.
You may also want to read…
(Gopal Krishna is member of Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL), which is campaigning against surveillance technologies since 2010)