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Frontline Gist:Issue April 28, 2017

 6/30/2017  1308

 Frontline Gist: Issue

April 28, 2017

Aadhaar Invasion

The Centre’s obsession with making Aadhar mandatory in almost all aspects of a citizen’s life threatens to exclude a large number of people from constitutionally guaranteed benefits and services and undermine individual liberty.

Aadhaar Invasion:

(Related Articles: Aadhaar Invasion, by V.Venkatesan, page no. 4 & Database fortotalitarian state, by T.K. Rajalakshmi, page no. 10)

• Government has made mandatory for availing almost all services from PAN card to SIM card, from social welfare schemes to paying taxes.
• The SC ordered that Aadhaar should be restricted to six schemes namely PDS, subsidized LPG cylinder, MGNREGS, NSAP, PMJDY, EPFO and even in these schemes enrolment for aadhaar can only be voluntary
• The government introduced Aadhaar Bill as Money bill under Article 110 thus reducing power of Rajya Sabha.
• Aadhaar was initially conceived as a method by which there would be proper targeting of subsidies given by central government but the process became inefficient and tardy and collection of sensitive data by private outsourced companies has raised security issues
• Targeted delivery is usually an argument made in the name of making subsidies more efficient. But in the name of targeted delivery What is happening and what will happen is that large number of genuine people will be denied subsidies either through the malfunctioning of delivery systems or by simply getting left out
• The identification of people below poverty line is to be done by state governments and with insistence on Aadhaar it is the central government’s definition of who is entitled which will prevail thus derailing the objectives of various states
• Concerns of safety related to issues of cyber security
• The pressures of international finance are clearly there. The individual biometric data of 1.2 billion people is huge market for marketing companies and international capital
• The challenges to Aadhar Act raise serious issues, which are awaiting resolution by SC:
a) First is whether it is constitutionally permissible for state to make the discharge of its constitutional and statutory obligations conditional upon an individual parting with his or her core biometrics
b) The act is palpably arbitrary and illegal inasmuch as it creates an artificial impermissible classification between those entitled persons who have been parted with biometrics and those entitled persons who have not parted with biometrics
c) Constitutional limitations are such that government cannot engage in surveillance of citizens even when each of these citizen volunteers to be subject to surveillance
d) The government acts a trustee at every stage. The role of a trustee given the sensitive nature of information must be exercised by state or organs of state alone and cannot under any circumstance be delegated to private parties operating without any governmental supervision

Issues with UID and Biometric:

(Related Articles: Blundering along, dangerously, by Usha Ramanathan, page no. 12 & Huge concerns, by Purnima S. Tripathi, page no. 24)

• The aadhar project’s headlong push towards “total” enrolment of Indian citizens threatens the privacy of individuals on unprecedented scale
• The UID chugs along, regardless, fuelled by the avarice of private interests who seek to cash in on citizen data
• The section 57 of Aadhaar act 2016 permits “the use of Aadhaar number of establishing the identity of an individual for any purpose, whether by the state or anybody corporate or person”
• The launch and setting of UIDAI was done without discussing it with Parliament.
• In 2011, NPCI launched Aadhaar Payments Bridge and AEPS. The National and India in NPCI are misleading established in December 2008 and is a company registered under companies act as non profit
• The use of fingerprint authentication has proved to be a major hurdle for large section of people in accessing rations across country
• Connectivity problems and quality of POS devices add to the travails of the poor in a system that appears to be geared to deny what is their due
• The possibility of data being tampered with its real one if it takes into account the way data are collecting them i.e. these agencies were not screened and all sorts of companies with poorly trained staff have been involved in collecting biometric data without having any clue about data security or how information should be handled
• A lot of duplicity

Exclusion errors:

(Related Articles: Politics of exclusion, by T.K. Rajalakshmi, page no. 17)

• In a country rated very low in hunger index, struggle to achieve zero infant and maternal mortality rate and high rate of wasting and stunting in children in zero to five cohort
• The denial of subsidies to the needful whether pregnant and lactating mother or children availing facilities like mid may meal scheme
• Rise of identity and perpetuating stereotypes
• Aadhaar has been mandatory for admission into schools
• PDS claims and other undemocratic processes

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Mayank Dogra Making aadhar mandatory may enforce directive principles of state policy. Beneficiaries will be benefitted more as fake beneficiaries will be excluded, specially in PDS. Moreover, if this enforcement comes under DPSPs state is doing nothing unconstitutional as Article 31(c) says; Saving of laws giving effect to directive principles are excluded from article 13

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