Will Nandan Nilekani be held accountable for violating service conduct rules and citizens’ rights? Part 35
Nandan Nilekani, who was Chairman of UIDAI till 13 March 2014 had joined Indian National Congress on 9 March 2014 thus violating the service rules for government servants

Tolerably early in life I discovered that one of the unpardonable sins in the eyes of most people is for a man to go about unlabelled.
 
-TH Huxeley, a British biologist and a prominent defender  of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution
 
Supreme Court, in its order dated 28 April 2014, directed that the case filed by Justice KS Puttaswamy (retd), Major General Sudhir Vombatkere (retd) and others, against Planning Commission’s Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which has been given the mandate for labeling Indian residents with a 12-digit biometric identifier number be listed for hearing “in the month of July 2014.” It remains to be seen whether the new government will  bury the biometric identification schemes even before court hears the matter in July.  
 
Meanwhile, a reply received under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has revealed that Nandan Nilekani, who was Chairman of UIDAI till 13 March 2014 had joined Indian National Congress on 9 March 2014. He sent his resignation on 13 March 2014 to the then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, which was accepted on 18 March 2014 by the “competent authority” with retrospective effect from 13 March 2014. 
 
Now that Narendra Modi has taken the oath of office secrecy as the new Prime Minister of India, it must be recalled that Nilekani held the official position in the rank of a cabinet minister but he did not take any oath of office or secrecy.   
 
It is noteworthy that Nilekani’s candidature was announced by the Congress party on 8 March 2014, a day prior to his officially joining the party at the Congress office. After signing the Congress membership form in the presence of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president G Parameshwar at the party office in Bangalore on 9th March, Nilekani said “people want change and I am for the change. The Congress has existed for 130 years and let me assure you that the Congress will be there for the next 100 years. For the next 40 days, my focus will be on Bangalore South and I am here to win.” 
 
On his blog Nilekni states, “I am now officially announced as the Lok Sabha candidate for Bengaluru South from the Congress party” on 9th March itself. Admittedly, Nilekani resigned as the Chairman of UIDAI, three days after joining Congress. 
 
Given the fact that Nilekani was a government servant when he joined a political party, it is evident that he violated Rule 5 that deals with “Taking part in politics and elections” of the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964 and Rule 5 of the All India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1968. 
 
This Rule provides: "No Government servant shall be a member of nor be otherwise associated with any political party or any organisation which takes part in politics nor shall he take part in, subscribe in aid of, or assist in any other manner, any political movement or activity.” 
 
It also provides that “No Government servant shall canvass or otherwise interfere with, or use his influence in connection with or take part in an election to any legislature or local authority.”
 
According to the Rules, "government servant" means any person appointed by the government to any civil service or post in connection with the affairs of the Union and includes a civilian in a Defence Service. A government servant, whose services are placed at the disposal of a company, corporation, organisation or a local authority by the government shall, for the purpose of these rules, be deemed to be a government servant serving under the government notwithstanding that his salary is drawn from sources other than the Consolidated Fund of India.
 
In the matter of violation of this Rule as has been the case in the matter of Nilekani joining a political party, it is for his/ her immediate superior to “forward them through the normal channels to the authority competent to remove or dismiss him from service.
Except where such authority requires guidance or clarification from a higher authority, it shall consider the report and pass appropriate orders. If it is proposed to impose any penalty the procedure prescribed in the CCS (CCA) Rules, should be followed.” [MHA OM No. 25/40/55-Ests. (A), dated 22.02.1956]
 
Now the question is how will Nilekani be penalized for having violated these Rules? Since these violations happened after the commencement of election schedule on 5th March, the violation of the Rules merit the attention of the Election Commission of India as well.
 
He filed his nomination for the Bengaluru South Lok Sabha constituency on 21 March 2014. On 17 May 2014 Nilekani wrote, “I want to thank the Congress Party, for their faith in me as a candidate. I joined the Congress on 9th March, and I was entirely new to electoral politics. Yet the Congress leaders were incredibly supportive, and the leaders were united in their efforts for this campaign” his blog
 
In his affidavit of Nilekani has made asset declaration but there is no mention of his bungalow in Conoor, Nilgiri hills, Tamil Nadu, which he admittedly owns and the same has been reported. This property which Nilekani bought once belonged to Sarah Stoney, mother of Alan Turing, British computer scientist. This asset was in the news ‘A House for Mr Nilekani’ as recently as in January 2014. It was reported by The Times of India. There are many reports about this house. In short, the property details, which is missing from Nilekani’s declaration is as under: Location: Walkers Road, Coonoor, Bunglow Name: The Gables.
 
Post elections, there is a need to examine the veracity of Nilekani’s affidavit dated 26 March 2014 and the violations of rules by Nilekani, the chairman of UIDAI, who became the a member of a political party and a candidate in the Lok Sabha elections.
 
Besides these violations, it is noteworthy that Karnataka Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had reportedly petitioned electoral authorities against Nilekani because of his name and picture figuring with advertisements of Aadhaar, when the Model Code of Conduct was in force.
 
With regard to the RTI application seeking copies of all file documents and correspondence relating to Nilekani and right up to the resignation, S Mukherjee, director for administration at Planning Commission and assisstant CPIO replied, “Kindly indicate, specifically the documents and correspondence that are required by you.” On the face of it, the RTI application filed by Qaneez Sukhrani, a urban affairs researcher is quite specific.  
 
In the meantime, the notification dated 30 July 2009 signed by TKA Nair, the then principal secretary to the Prime Minister, setting up the Prime Minister’s Council of UIDAI comprising of 12 members including A Raja, the Minister of Communications and Information Technology reveals that the Council has the mandate to “give advice to UIDAI on the programme, methodology and implementation to ensure coordination between Ministries/ Departments, Stakeholders and Partners” under Dr Manmohan Singh as its Chairman. 
 
This Council, which was “serviced by Director General of UIDAI”, comprised of Finance Minister, Home Minister, Law Minister and the Foreign Minister among others to “identify specific milestones for early completion of the project” was clearly the guiding force. Therefore, it is evident that the charade of turf war between Finance Ministry’s UIDAI for biometric Aadhaar and Home Ministry’s biometric National Population Register (NPR) to claim bipartisan support from the latter had an ulterior motive to entrap BJP for good
 
One of the first few tasks the new BJP-led government is going to be confronted with is to decide whether or not they subscribe to Congress’s ideology of labelling, branding, profiling and zeroing in on the present and future generations of every Indian citizen. 
 
In a book ‘The Problem of Party Government’ published in 1974, its author Prof Richard Rose writes, “Office-holding is a necessary but not a sufficient condition of governing.” He added, “Where life of party politics does not affect government policy, the accession of a new party to office is little more significant than the accession of a new monarch; the party reigns but does not rule.” It is hoped that with change in regime, pre-existing orders too will change.   
 
BJP has defeated Nilekani and his party, which he joined as the chief of Aadhaar implementing authority. Nilekani lost by 2.29 lakh votes but he came second with 4.05 lakh votes. It is noteworthy that he polled these many votes due to misuse of official machinery and the unprecedented support of almost all the commercial czars, who unsuccessfully attempted to manufacture consent in his favour. His Aadhaar project was supported by some key leaders of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) too.
 
Will the new regime be able to defeat Congress’s regressive ideology rooted in biometric determinism at the behest of foreign military and intelligence companies by abandoning both Aadhaar and NPR
Like this story? Get our top stories by email.

User

COMMENTS

Babubhai Vaghela

4 years ago

(1) Fit case for criminal case on criminal conspiracy on UID by Nandan Nilekani, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, P Chidambaram and Manmohan Singh as also Ajit Seth Cabinet Secretary to Govt of India. (2) Infosys should confiscate shares of Nandan Nilekani - Founder Director of Infosys.

nilesh prabhu

4 years ago

nandan nilekani's is a minor offence.

there is one Mylarappa who resigned from government of karnataka contested the assembly post bjp ticket, lost and went to court asking for reinstatement, won in court,later appointed as VC

How biometric IDs can stir 'the Pot' and lead to civil war? -Part 34

The democratic mandate, which the non-Congress parties are likely to get, is against a regime that surrendered the interests of Indians on the dictates of imperial powers the way many African countries and Asian countries like UAE and Pakistan have done

Like Ivory Coast, a civil war can happen in India too because of biometric and electronic identification. All the international agencies, which are involved in promotion of unique identification (UID) through Planning Commission, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Election Commission of India (EC), residential addresses and land titles in India were involved there as well. Likes of LK Advani, P Chidambram, Nandan Nilekani, Sam Pitroda and C Chandramouli have been advocating national identity cards as if “everyday forms of identity surveillance” is natural and rational.

How is it that when heads of states are put under round the clock surveillance by colonial and imperial powers it is deemed an assault on national sovereignty but when a national government undertakes the same over their masters, the citizens, it becomes natural and rational.

A communication titled ‘Biometrics Stir the Pot in the UAE’ dated 22 November 2003, sent by some unidentified US official from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Group Destinations Arab Israeli Collective, Secretary of State, US and Dubai, UAE and to undecipherable location named ‘RUCNFSC CFSC SA COLLECTIVE’ merits attention.  This communication was brought to light by Wikileaks. Its import can be appreciated only if its following text is read:

“The Public Affairs and Consular Section in Abu Dhabi hosted a Press Briefing on the fingerprinting of NIV applicants at the US Embassy. In addition, Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) and Consular Chief briefed the Director of Consular Affairs at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on the new Fingerprinting Procedures at the Embassy. Newspapers published accurate, informational stories and the Director of Consular Affairs expressed his understanding. Although one UAE official has refused to be fingerprinted saying he was being treated like a "Criminal," the UAE's majority Third-Country Nationals (TCN) are taking it all in stride, already subject to fingerprinting and retinal scans by the UAE and Emirate-level Governments.”NIV stands for Non-Immigrant Visas (NIV).

This reporting of UAE’s response to fingerprinting and retinal scans sounds like the reaction of different ministries of Government of India and Indian media, most of whom like their UAE’s counterparts did “accurate, informational stories.” But unlike the one official in UAE, who refused to be fingerprinted, in India, one did not learn about any civil servant who refused to enroll for biometric identification in the pronounced manner.
   
The communication further revealed that a foreign team installed fingerprinting collection devices on 23 October 2003 at the interview windows in conjunction with the consular section's routine computer upgrade schedule. After the installation, the consular section began collecting fingerprints from the required NIV applicants on 2 November 2003.
 
It is noteworthy that US embassy officials are reporting even the work of plumbers of fingerprint machines and installation of biometric devices to Secretary of State and their intelligence allies in Arab States, Israel to undecodable locations. Do Indian officials, senior political leaders and concerned citizens realize its import?

The Wikileaked communication informs that journalists and photographers from all UAE’s English and Arabic dailies were called for briefing them “about the new biometric collection procedures” so that public is informed about it. This communication informs: “journalists focused primarily on the appropriateness of fingerprinting and questioned whether or not the fingerprinting was focused on Arab and Muslim audiences. Vice Consul responded that this was not the case, and, as reassurance, showed journalists the stacks of old computers the Orkand team has just finished replacing with new Pentium IV systems. (Comment: we recommend other posts do the same if possible, as this seemed convincing to the journalists present.)”
 
It goes on report that following this briefing to media, on 6 November 2003, journalists published stories based on the information provided to them including “the implementation of fingerprinting solely based on routine maintenance schedules and mentioning Frankfurt, Brussels, San Salvador, and Guatemala City as the first Fingerprinting Posts.”
 
This shows how journalists are/ were taken for a ride because they were made to believe that it was just a routine case of replacing old equipments with new equipments. It appears that the same tactics has been replicated in India in the matter of Aadhaar, National Population Register (NPR) and other places where biometric identification is being made mandatory.

On 9 November 2003, there was a meeting with the Director of Consular Affairs at the UAE‘s MFA, where in the Director expressed “his understanding of the need to move towards biometrics to enhance the security of the United States. He briefly commented on the retinal scans in place at UAE ports of entry for certain categories of visitors to the UAE, in particular workers from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. He expressed satisfaction that fingerprinting did not apply to A- 1 and A-2 visa categories.”
 
It is clear yet again that the biometric devices are getting installed not because of any domestic compulsion of the Asian or African countries but because countries like US want it installed. This also demonstrates that those wielding diplomatic and official immunity do not hesitate to barter away their citizens’ rights if their temporary individual rights and privileges remain intact.
    
This cable from US embassy in UAE records that “public reaction to the initiation of fingerprinting of NIV applicants has been mixed. The UAE population is more disturbed by the prospect of fingerprinting than the UAE's majority TCN population. Consular staff have not received complaints from TCN applicants, who have their fingerprints taken for residence visas and IDs by federal and emirate-level governments. Certain TCNs are also subject to retinal scans at UAE airports.” The TCN population refers to Third-Country Nationals. A TCN is an employee who is not a citizen of the home or host countries.

It reads “Reaction by UAE nationals, on the other hand, remains mixed. The vast majority of UAE national student and tourist visa applicants have complied quietly and calmy when requested for their fingerprints. The prospect for turmoil with government officials and prominent UAE nationals, however, remains to be seen. One UAE senior university administrator official, the subject of a Class A Visa referral, refused to come to the embassy and told pas staff that he "would not be treated like a criminal." This reaction only stresses the continuing need to inform applicants that biometric capture capability not only enhances national border security to the benefit of US citizens and permanent residents, but increases the safety and security of visitors to the United States as well.” The communication reveals that promoters of biometric devices were expecting some “turmoil” but as things unfolded they were happy to witness unquestioned obedience of government officials and prominent UAE nationals like in India.
 
A secret cable, which was created on 17 December 2009 and Wikileaked on the 23 April  2011 revealed that like in UAE, the US’ State Department is deeply curious about UID, India's biometric data based identification program. It asked its embassy in India to provide information about the progress or status of the Indian biometric ID card's development and deployment and wished to know “India's strategic plan for utilizing biometric ID card technology in the military, law enforcement, and private sectors.”

It sought to know as to which government agencies will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of the national ID card biometric collection strategy, how do authorities plan to utilise the biometric ID card at India's borders, ports, and airports, which foreign countries and/or corporations are assisting in the development of the ID card, which biometric systems (i.e. fingerprints, facial recognition, iris scan, etc.) will be incorporated into the card, what prompted development of the ID card, which company is providing the biometric collection devices, storage, and matching database equipment, which organizations/agencies within India will have access to information gathered by the biometric ID card collection devices, what systems, databases, or portals will the named biometric ID card collection devices in India communicate with, will the ID card be accepted for passport applications, what types of anti-fraud measures do Indian authorities plan to incorporate in the issuance process and what security features are planned for the ID card, will the card be International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) compliant and will it use any encryption and any efforts to "spoof" or defeat biometric enrollment, such as fingerprint alteration.

The cable asked these questions but it prefaced it with few observations. It reads: “Washington analysts read with keen interest recent press reports about a proposed biometric national ID project in India …the project has been billed at recent trade conferences as the largest biometric enrollment ever proposed and is the biggest biometric  initiative anticipated in 2010.  Despite promised improvements, the cards would provide, analysts are concerned the program could present a vulnerable target for regional extremist groups -- such as Lashkar e-Tayyiba -- who could obtain fraudulent Indian ID cards during the large-scale  enrollment for use in travel or as breeder documents to apply for passports.”
 
This cable gives the impression that US agencies have been following the project from its incubation stage.

It underlined that with regard answers to the questions posed that “results of these requirements will be incorporated into a strategic assessment for senior US policymakers on the regional implications in South Asia of the biometric ID program.”
 
Another cable dated 4 September 2008 released by Wikileaks reveals that US Ambassador to India met with Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on 2 September 2008 wherein the name of would be chief of UID/ Aadhaar, Nandan Nileakni figured for a Sub-group of US-India CEO Forum for educational collaboration which was to provide a report after the elections. Notably, this cable from New Delhi was sent to Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Security Council, Secretary of Defense among others. Notably, Nileakni was one of the eight members of National Knowledge Commission (NKC) headed by Sam Pitroda who advocates identification and tagging of every object in India through his Public Information Infrastructure initiative.
 
US Embassy’s cable for the week of 29th June to 2 July 2009 notes that the UID “project is expected to cost about Rs1,500 billion ($31.5 billion), and technological challenges in creating tamper-proof smart cards capable of handling Indian conditions are expected. According to press reports, the GoI may exclude private companies from participating due to the large amount of confidential information involved in the program. The public sector company Bharat Electronics Ltd has already issued over 120,000 smart cards under a GoI pilot project to establish a multipurpose national identity card, and is likely to be one of the key players.” It is noteworthy that eventually Indian government did not exclude private companies.

With regard to the National Smart Card Identification System, the wikileaked cables reveal that “Joint Secretary (Telecom) JS Deepak told Econoffs that the first meeting between Additional Secretary of Department of Telecom Subodh Kumar, Nandan Nilekani, chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and founder of Infosys, and Indian telecom service providers was held on 24th September to discuss the roll-out of the unique identification (UID) program. Earlier this year, the GoI set up the UIDAI to implement a Unique Identification card project, which will own the database of residents along with their biometric information….Joint Secretary Deepak noted that despite the inherent challenges posed by the massive scale of this program, the introduction of UID will transform the way Indians do business in the areas of Government-to-Citizen interaction. He said the ID would be useful for a multitude of purposes, including elections, taxation, national security, and banking. Deepak, a former USAID employee responsible for global social programs, was enthusiastic about the UID's potential to greatly reduce 'leakage' in government subsidies and benefit payments, including the NREGA program, and for its ability to also transform provision of education and healthcare.” Econoffs refers to US Embassy’s Economic Office.This communication was sent from New Delhi as part of its report for week of 21st to 24 September 2009. It is noteworthy that Deepak’s credential as former employee of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has been mentioned. Earlier, Bolivia and Russia have expelled USAID from their countries. In Pakistan in protest against the drone strike there Pakistani Punjab government has refused to accept US aid.  Recently, Associated Press has revealed that USAID’s Chief Rajiv Shah who is reportedly considered a possible candidate for the post of US Ambassador to India supervised Cuban twitter like program- ‘ZunZuneo’-using front companies based in Cayman Islands and other places for cooking unrest there. Interestingly, the $1.6 million spent on it was channeled in the name of an unspecified project in Pakistan since 2009.

The role of Ministry of Telecom in conceptualizing or launching UID program under A Raja’s tenure as its minister merits examination.
 
While the background behind the operationalization of the biometric ID project reveals the opaque manner in which it took off, ramifications of launch of such projects demonstrates its true colours.

In the book, Paper Citizens, its author Kamal Sadiq records, “In Ivory Coast, a national identity card scheme was central to a national politics that slid into civil war” that began in 1999 splitting the country in two-a rebel-held north and a government-held south. In this country, national identity card scheme was introduced with the help of UN agencies to enable the exercise of franchise. A referendum in July 2000 barred presidential candidates in Ivory Coast from contesting unless both of their parents were Ivorian. This led to disqualification of Ivory Coast’s former Prime Minister, Alassane Ouattara from the 2000 presidential election because his citizenship certificate and national identity card was denied until 2002. This issue became a major factor in the civil war given the fact that ruling party and opposition party held diametrically opposite views on documentary citizenship.
 
The insistence of documentary citizenship based on national identity card has also given birth to the business of fake identity cards, identity thefts and imposters.
 
Dwelling on the situation in African countries like Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Zambia, in a 2001 paper “Disenfranchising the North through the National Identity Card scheme” Ibrahim Ado-Kurawa, general editor of Weekly PYRAMID – The Magazine said, “In most of the organized world identity cards have never been election requirements” and concluded, “The ID card is a much more benign form of genocide if it gets to pass.”

The distinguishing identity of citizens and non-citizens is getting blurred because of the idea of documentary citizenship based on biometric identification being deeply planted by US and EU based security agencies and companies. This leads to creation and naturalization of 24X7 continental and transboundary surveillance on human movement that opens the possibility wherein national ID card would be a ticket to the loss of much of personal freedom and intergenerational and intra generational rights.
   
Non-Congress government that is all set to take charge of the national affairs will have to take a pledge that they will not be subjecting citizens to biometric surveillance through the ongoing merger of aadhaar, NPR Voter ID card and the Electronic Voting Machines. The servility of the previous regime towards agencies like US National Security Agency (NSA) and their infantile reactions in the face of evidence that the entire union cabinet was under NSA's surveillance must be remembered as one of the dark chapters of Indian history. In their abject meekness Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) did not hide even an iota of information from the NSA but it is reluctant share its correspondence with Nilekani under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
   
The democratic mandate, which the non-Congress parties are going to get is against a regime that surrendered the interest of Indians on the dictates of imperial powers in the way many African countries and Asian countries like UAE and Pakistan have already done. The new government must demonstrate that structure of India’s electoral ecosystem will remain impregnable from Trojan horses of all ilk to root out the possibility of Ivory Coast like situation that gets created by colonial powers. The strategic engineering, which has set pot boiling must be cooled because as they say a spark neglected burns the house.

You may also want to read…

 

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
 

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

 

Like this story? Get our top stories by email.

User

Has Nilekani followed Pakistan’s NADRA in creating, enforcing Aadhaar? –Part 33

Is it just a coincidence that Tariq Malik of NADRA and Nandan Nilekani received awards at Milan ID World Congress for their similar work? Is Nilekani simply following the footprints of Malik in creating, enforcing biometric-based ID?

Electronics has become a fundamental political problem.
                                                                       -Dr Ernesto “Che” Guevara in 1962

tujhe zibah karne kee khushi, mujhe marne ka shauk,
(You are happy to kill, I am fond of dying)
meri bhee marzi wahi hai, jo mere saiyaad ki hai
(My desire is the same as that of my hunter)
                                                   -Jail Note Book of Shahid-e-Azam Bhagat Singh, 1929

jin ko tha zaban pe naaz (Those proud of their eloquence)
chup hain wo zaban daraaz (Their tongues are completely silent)
chain hai samaaj me (There is tranquility in society)
bemisaal fark hai (This is an unexampled difference)
kal me aur aaj me (Between yesterday and today)
apne kharch par hain qaid (imprisoned at their own expense)
log kaid tere raaj me (people under your rule)

                                                   -Habib Jalib, a revolutionary poet from Pakistan

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has exposed the reluctance of Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to share its correspondence including the letter of resignation of Nandan Nilekani from the post of chairman of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) under the Planning Commission. Nilekani is reported to have submitted his resignation to the Prime Minister on 13 March 2014. After the Right to Information (RTI) application in this regard was transferred by the PMO, the Commission in a letter dated 15 April 2014 responded saying that the RTI application "has been inadvertently transferred" to it and marked a copy of its reply to the Planning Commission.

It is apparent that PMO does not wish the resignation letter and the correspondence to be available in the public domain prior to the elections. It deliberately transferred the RTI application to the Election Commission as part of its delaying tactics and perhaps to save the Indian National Congress-led government from possible embarrassment.  

For instance, how is engagement with Pakistani Ministry of Interior’s National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA) and Election Commission of Pakistan with French corporate conglomerate, Safran Group in India’s national interest? Notably, UIDAI’s awarding of contract to Safran Group links it to Home Ministry’s Registrar General of Citizen Registration, Census and the Election Commission.

The core issue here is the sensitivity of the exchange of letters between key authorities in the sensitive matter of electronic and biometric identification of Indians through Aadhaar, National Population Register (NPR), electoral database and Census database.

In effect, all these databases will be governed by Information Technology (IT) Act.
Notably, in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, the Parliament passed eight Bills in 17 minutes without any debate on 23 December 2008. These Bills included the IT (Amendment) Act, 2008. Its absurdity came to light when the misuse of section 66 (A) and section 79 got widely reported. Subsequent amendments and rules have made the IT Act worse, which the new government will have to look into.    

If one looks for parallels in regard to emergence of biometric voter ID cards on India’s horizon, one finds that the Indian government is following the path paved by Government of Ghana, which conducted an election using biometric voter verification and registration systems in 2012. The Electoral Commission of Ghana had made a functional biometric verification machine a pre-condition for voting at all the polling stations. With this Ghana joined those countries, which use a biometric voters’ register for its election. These countries include Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya, Soloman Islands, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Biometric profiling is likely to be introduced in Bhutan too in the next parliamentary elections. It has been reported that biometric finger print scanners were used during the National Council Election in Bhutan’s two polling stations at Dewachen and Samtse High School in 2013.

Sierra Leone's National Electoral Commission (NEC) conducted the polls in November 2012 using biometric voter registration with the support of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Not surprisingly, Bangladesh Election Commission upgraded its biometric identification and voter registration system and consolidated over hundreds of different databases into a single database running on Oracle Exadata Database Machine X2-2. Was there a domestic demand for centralisation of the database?

Notably, NADRA developed and delivered Nigerian national identity card system for issuance of Smart ID cards to citizens.

In Nepal, the Election Commission introduced voter registration programme based biometric profiling and conducted its elections in November 2013. UNDP had provided strategic technical and operational assistance to the Election Commission in planning and conducting the election through its Electoral Support Project (ESP).  The European Union, UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), Denmark and Norway provided financial support to this project.

Coincidentally, the Election Commission of Pakistan is introducing a biometric system for the elections. NADRA has implemented the Multi-Biometric National Identity Card & Multi-Biometric e-Passport solutions for Pakistan, Passport Issuing System for Kenya, Bangladesh High Security Driver’s License, and Civil Registration Management System for Sudan.

Notably, NADRA has won Sri Lanka ID Card project involving data collection of all eligible citizens’ biometric, biographic and digitization and creating a National Persons Registry. It has developed Biometric Refugee Registration System for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and World Bank’s Poverty Score Card/System.

Besides this “NADRA has taken proactive initiative by developing electronic voting machine (EVM) solution proposed to be placed on all polling stations across the country.”
Do Indian voters need learn to subject themselves to biometric identification by transnational intelligence companies like Pakistan’s 86 million registered voters?

It may recalled that 23 April 2010, the World Bank had launched its eTransform Initiative by signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with France and South Korea besides transnational companies like L-1 Identity Solutions, IBM, Gemalto, Pfizer and others. It was launched in the presence of Ministers of Finance and Communications from many developing countries. The World Bank is currently funding 14 projects related to e-government and e-ID around the world. These project are unfolding under the influence of international finance and not because there was a domestic need for it.  

Let us ponder over few questions:-

Is it a coincident that the task of Tariq Malik of NADRA, Pakistan and those of Nandan Nilekani, C Chandramouli and VS Sampath appear similar?

Is it also a coincidence that Tariq Malik of NADRA and Nilekani were awarded in Milan, Italy based ID World Congress for their similar work? Nilekani is simply following the footprints of Malik.

Isn’t there a design behind persuading and compelling developing countries to biometrically profile their citizens?  

Is it too early to infer that international bankers, UN agencies and western military alliances wish to create profiles in their biometric and electronic database for coercive use of social control measures?  

Is it not true that uninformed citizens, parliamentarians and gullible government agencies are too eager to be profiled and tracked through an online database?

Would freedom fighters and framer of constitution of India have approved of mass surveillance by any national or transnational agency?

In the US, the budget for intelligence gathering in 2013 was $52.6 billion. Out of which $10.8 billion went to the National Security Agency (NSA). It is about $167 per person. Do Indians know the budget allocation for their intelligence? Why have they been kept in dark about it?

Aren’t allocations for UIDAI, NPR and National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) part of it?

Is it not clear that UN agencies, World Bank Group, transnational intelligence companies and military alliances are working in tandem to create the bio-electronic database of Indians as per their pre-determined design? Is this design structured to safeguard the interest of present and future generation of Indians?      

The next government in India has the task of examining these questions and making the budget allocation for intelligence agencies public and open to legislative scrutiny. If they don’t do it, how else would the new regime be deemed different from the old one and it must explain how national security of US, France and their allies is different from that India.

Even after 52 years while India continues to maintain secrecy about its acts of omission and commission in 1962 war with China. But by now it is clear that after the defeat it felt the need of a strong indigenous electronics base for security. The Department of Electronics was set on 26 June 1970 directly under the Prime Minister in the era in which New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO) was still being sought to contest one way flow of information by western media that distorted realities facing the world. It is germane to recollect the historical context in which world’s biggest electronic and biometric database of Indians is being created. Having failed in getting NWICO so far, unless the advocates of NWICO politically challenge the creation of one imperial online database in a robust manner, 21st century will unleash a new great game for takeover of national assets.     

Meanwhile, it appears to be too much to expect that the lame duck PMO will share its  correspondence with Nilekani who was mandated to create world biggest biometric database “as per approved strategy” along with Ministry of Home Affair (MHA)’s NPR before May 2016. PMO’s notoriety in misplacing sensitive files has given birth to understandable apprehensions in this regard. Hopefully, the new government will ensure that the PMO provides these relevant files.

The authoritarianism of electronic and biometric web is emerging as intrusive extensions of transnational powers due to complicity without any political scrutiny in the country.

You may also want to read…

 

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
 

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

 

 

Like this story? Get our top stories by email.

User

COMMENTS

Veebee India

2 years ago

The whole affair mass profiling is going to be implemented regardless of its consequences - people will react if mentioned that Holy Bible last book Revelations 13:17 just mentions it prophetically being the order of the day and satanic subjugation i. e. human system being systemetically hacked.

Veebee India

2 years ago

The whole affair mass profiling is going to be implemented regardless of its consequences - people will react if mentioned that Holy Bible last book Revelations 13:17 just mentions it prophetically being the order of the day and satanic subjugation i. e. human system being systemetically hacked.

Raja M Ali Saleem

5 years ago

I agree with the author's apprehensions about the usage of bio-metric data for surveillance purposes. Governments certainly use everything available to them for their own benefit. Moreover, when this data is available and stored, it is also not unthinkable that USA and other countries get access to this data, with or without approval of the Indian government. However, this potential of misuse of data has to be balanced against its benefits. For example, one of the major problems of many schemes that focus on poverty is that funds do not reach the target audiences. Due to the lack of data, middle men (and they are generally all men)manipulate the system and pocket majority of the funds, while the intended beneficiaries wait and die. Bio-metric data systems have been used for better targeting poor in other developing countries. Certainly, India needs to target its poverty-reduction programs better. Therefore, rather than posting conspiracy theories linking NADRA's Tariq Malik with Nandan, it would be better for the author to debate this issue and show how India can balance the advantages and disadvantages of bio-metric data collection.

Theresa Perkins

5 years ago

Tariq Malik is the brain behind NADRA's take off. A young IT Strategist, blue eyed boy and a confidant of charismatic Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto inspired by her dream, returned from USA and transformed her vision into reality by cutting the intermediaries (Pakistani Bureaucracy) short. He made innovative use of biometric and information technologies to empower women, rollout social security, financial inclusion programs and gave new meaning to cash disbursement mechanism in disasters. It is very obvious that Nadan was following his steps, as Malik became most popular tech evangelist in 2013.

REPLY

Sandeep

In Reply to Theresa Perkins 5 years ago

Just adding on to Tariq Malik's achievements at NADRA, that guy has designed an electronic voting system based on bio metrics that can make online voting possible and eliminate ghost and duplicate voter from the system and that's one of reason he was removed/forced resign by current Pak government. But author here is blindsided by hatred against UID/NPR that they don't mind using anything against UID and it's stakeholders...great going ML but people are also getting smarter

krishna

In Reply to Sandeep 5 years ago

Sandeep, kindly do provide a of improvements in Pakistan because biometric identification has been introduced in Pakistan. Drone attacks started happening prior to its implementation or after that?

In an interview, Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks informed Imran Khan about the grave act of omission and commission. Assange said, “…we discovered a cable in 2009 from the Islamabad Embassy. Prime minister Gilani and interior minister Malik went into the (US) embassy and offered to share National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) – and NADRA is the national data and registration agency database. The system is currently connected through passport data but the government of Pakistan is adding voice and facial recognition capability and has installed a pilot biometric system as the Chennai border crossing, where 30,000 to 35,000 people cross each day. This NADRA system is the voting record system for all voters in Pakistan. A front company was set up in the United Kingdom – International Identity Services, which was hired as the consultants for NADRA to squirrel out the NADRA data for all of Pakistan. What do you think about that? Is that a…? It seems to me that that is a theft of some national treasure of Pakistan, the entire Pakistani database registry of its people.” The interview is available here-http://worldtomorrow.wikileaks.org/episo....

Sandeep

In Reply to krishna 5 years ago

Krishna, just saw your message today only..

it's better you stick to your argument of comparing technocrats and don't go into political structure of countries. You're comparing Pakistan that has hardly seen one democratic/civilian exchange of power with a country(India) going for 16th time for such occasion...General election 2104. It was first time in Pakistan history that any civilian government completed full term and handed over power to 2nd elected party. It's miracle for them, ask any Pakistani..

Drone strike in Pakistan has nothing to do with biomertics of individual by NADRA.

For your Satisfaction here are some listed benefit of NADRA-
- One benefit you have yourself admitted about NADRA based voting record which eliminates the ghost/duplicate/ineligible voters from list
- During last 2011 general election it provided instant SMS based verification of individuals Vote registration so no missing names in voting list as happened in Mumbai in India
- It provided instant SMS based information about location of your polling booth

- going forward no more proxy voting once NADRA based voting mechanism is in place

- possibility of online voting in future

Krishna, channelize your energy for a better cause and embrace technology. Common man has nothing to fear from UID/NPR unless you're on a payroll of some aadhaar opposing so called NGO benefiting from ghost/fake/middlemen beneficiary in government system.

Don't act like Mulayam singh Yadav who said in 2007 assembly election he would ban computer from government system to give employment to people because computer was more efficient and killing the manual jobs.

Then same guy with his son Akhilesh comes to power in 2012 election on a promise to give tablet to mertic pass and laptop to +2 pass.


Every developed country has an unique identity system to track wrong doers and people stick to the laws because they have a fear of getting caught red handed if they commit anything wrong.


Just a current example of Sahara, sitting in jail for over 2 month claiming to have collected money from some 3 crore people. Had every beneficiary had a UID/NPR# before investing in any such scheme it would have been way too easy to identify each and every one and return back their money but now no one know how many of them are ghost or fake or proxy beneficiaries to hide black money

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

online financial advisory
Pathbreakers
Pathbreakers 1 & Pathbreakers 2 contain deep insights, unknown facts and captivating events in the life of 51 top achievers, in their own words.
online financia advisory
The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Online Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
financial magazines online
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
financial magazines in india
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Online Magazine)