Latest from courts, parliament and the grassroots. Official rethink on the use of Aadhaar has started.
Latest from courts, parliament and the grassroots. Rejoice, you can now file taxes online without having to give Aadhaar! Vol. II of this update will follow soon.
This is a statement of solidarity within the civil society among some organisations that work towards promoting the rights to information and privacy.
The resolutions are endorsed by the National Campaign for the Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI), SaveOurPrivacy, IT for Change and Rethink Aadhaar.
Summer is seeping into the monsoon. Much has happened in the last months. For the poor, Aadhaar and hunger deaths remain connected. The Right to Food Campaign reported on continuing hunger deaths in Jharkhand. Many of those who died faced issues with rations related to Aadhaar. For the middle classes, many have faced difficulty in filing IT returns and difficulty with educational institutions. The proposed National Health Stack might affect us all. We continue waiting for the Supreme Court to deliver its judgment, we bring you some updates.
Pension Parishad is releasing this statement in the behest of Mr. Jitendra Singh's statement that aadhaar is not mandatory for senior government employees for pensions. by not extending the same courtesy, or option to the beneficiaries of the pension schemes of the NSAP smacks of discrimination, callousness, and cruelty with some of the most vulnerable citizens of India.
In 2016, some of us came together to formulate a response to the Aadhaar onslaught and attempted to organise resources to challenge Aadhaar. We also worked to raise awareness and developed resources to help others understand - and critique - the project. We thought we would be focused on both “welfare and privacy” - two worlds that did not seem particularly connected until the UID project attacked our rights in both spheres. Some of us loosely began calling for “Rethink Aadhaar” (or “no2UID”).
In January 2018, while releasing the AISHE 2017-18, HRD Minister Shri Prakash Javdekar said that 80,000 bogus teachers had been detected through use of Aadhaar. However, in response to an RTI application, the HRD ministry was unable to furnish any evidence to back the claim. In response to another RTI application, the HRD ministry stated that it had no information on whether any inquiry had been set up to probe into the matter & whether any disciplinary action was taken against those involved in this fraud.
Under the Aadhaar Act, “identity information” consists of Aadhaar number, biometric information and demographic information. “Biometric information”, as of now, consists of fingerprints, iris scan and photograph, but its scope can be expanded at UIDAI’s discretion. “Demographic information” refers to demographic details (name, date of birth, address etc.) collected at the time of Aadhaar enrolment. The term “personal information”, not used in the Aadhaar Act (except in Section 30) can be understood in more general terms as any information of a private nature.
On 22nd March, UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey made a presentation before the Supreme five-judge bench to convince them that all was well with Aadhaar. On slide 42, an extremely important piece of evidence showing the utter failure of Aadhaar Based Biometric Authentication ABBA for welfare was allowed to stand without being brought to notice of the learned judges: the percentage of authentication failures.
The Right to Food Campaign is deeply disappointed by the 13 March 2018 Supreme Court order which extends the deadline for Aadhaar linking of facilities such as bank accounts and SIM cards, but permits the continued imposition of Aadhaar on social services and entitlements such as the public distribution system (PDS), the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) and social security pensions. This order perpetuates a long-standing double standard, whereby the hardships experienced by privileged classes due to Aadhaar being made mandatory are being addressed while much greater hardships endured by poor people are ignored.