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Archives for : Kractivism

Mumbai DP 2034: Examining Affordable Housing

Mumbai | 26th April: Thousands of housing of poor in Mumbai are under threat of eviction as much hyped feature-Affordable housing-of DP 2034 grab headlines. One of the main four features of new Development of Plan of Mumbai prepared by MCGM is housing. The Government intends to create affordable housing stock to address the problem of housing paucity for the poor in the city. However the definition of affordability is merely based on 2 parameters –size and cost. Whereas, affordability in real sense of the term needs to be defined in terms of cost, tenement size, livability, sustainability and adequacy.

Construction or redevelopment of new buildings is not the only means by which affordable housing can be attained. Rather up-gradation and retrofitting of slums are also a means of achieving affordable housing. It is very important to emphasize on these two means to achieve as both will ensure that the share of land for the poor in the city does not further shrink. This is of utmost importance when approximately 42% of the population lives in slums.

The houses currently available (both by MHADA and private sector) under the affordable housing segment out-prices not just the LIG and EWS but the MIG category too. The prevalent minimum price for housing under the affordable housing segment is such that it exclude a huge chunk of the population to take benefits of this feature of DP 2034. These exclusionary practices make the poorest of poor citizen of the city perpetually vulnerable to demolition of their self-built housing/hutments. For instance, a huge settlement of poor comprising of 600 household in Cheeta Camp near Trombay is scheduled to be demolished in the first week of May this year. All the residents of this settlement possess ration card which record their annual income less than Rs. 1 lakh. None of the housing in the present affordable housing segment is available either in Mumbai or MMR can be availed by persons belonging to this income category. In the foreseeable future therefore we see homelessness on the rise due to anticipated demolitions.

Our experience of past is that affordable housing is not the only solution to address the problem of housing. Housing built under affordable housing scheme, most of the time end up serving merely as an asset and not the housing solution. Housing cannot be looked in complete isolation, it is very much linked with livelihood. Given high value of in the city most of the affordable housing has been constructed in the fringes of MMR region which adds to the drudgery of travelling work place and daily affair adding increased health spending and high stress levels

Apart from this there is not much clarity on the accompanying infrastructure which is necessary to absorb the pressure due to increased FSI. The maximum FSI of 5 granted for commercial purposes and 4 for residential purposes will create huge burden on the already congested city. Increasing FSI for redevelopment of BDD chawls will again start re-congesting the island city. With no proper arrangements for infrastructures like parking, water facilities etc the quality of life is bound to deteriorate.

In the garb of creating affordable housing stock, Non Development Zones and salt pans are being converted to Special Development Zone to allow entry of real estate led exploitation of these eco-sensitive areas. While on the other hand, in the absence of a practical plan, the space for the poorest of the poor in the city still remain a question amidst claims for sabka sath sabka vikas.


Issued by:

Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan


Habitat and Livelihood Welfare Association

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Jharkhand -Operator’s Phone Number In Several #Aadhaar Cards, Gets Control Of All Data #WTFnews

Alarm bells ring for Aadhar Data security in Jharkhand for the second time, the first being the breach of MS Dhoni’s Aadhar data

Ranchi: Last year in March, Sakshi Dhoni, wife of former Team India, captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni had raised an alarm concerning the M S Dhoni’s confidential data listed in Aadhar being leaked. She had also complained regarding the same to Union Law and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. With the government giving an assurance that there would not be a repeat, it was believed that no Aadhar information would ever be leaked in Jharkhand.

But, within a year, this incident where a Common Service Center (CSC) operator, at Ganwah More, Ganwah block, Giridih has put his phone number in most of the Aadhar cards made through him, has exposed once again, as to how vulnerable the data listed in one’s Aadhar identity proof is.

The center used to operate from Ganwah Panchayat Building, has now been shutdown, with Aadhar now being made at banks. But till January 31, 2018 one Raju Kumar, had put one single phone number in every Aadhar card that was applied for through his centre. A little bit of investigation revealed that the number belongs to him. Several Aadhar cards and the enrollment slips have the same phone number—8969877638 listed in it.

Phone number listed in the Aadhar card has great significance as now one can only get rations, pensions and several other welfare scheme’s benefits authentification get done only after submitting OTP (One Time Password).

When eNewsroom contacted Raju on the number listed on the card, he received the call and explained that he had had his number listed as he wanted to help certain people who didn’t have any phone or mobile numbers to list. “If I would not have added my number, they would have not been able to get an Aadhar,” he told eNewsroom.

On being asked, if he was aware of the fact that his action of listing his own number was a punishable offence and that the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) can book him, or that the card owner would be dependent on him for life, Raju had no answer. However, his modus operandi exposes the fact that Aadhar credentials can easily be manipulated or accessed by anyone.

When contacted Shambhu Singh, General Manager, Technology SCS eGovernance Services, he told eNewsroom, “The person (Raju Kumar) has been removed from CSC center in March itself for some other reason.”

“However, we had no idea about this issue, and now when UIDAI will instruct us, then only we can take action against him,” he added.

This year in January, The Tribune newspaper had done a story, which had shown how by paying just Rs 500 anybody can get access to millions of personal Aadhar data.

Operator’s phone number in several Aadhar cards, gets control of all data

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Why do farmers in Gujarat seek right to die? Coercion and ‘illegal’ land acquisition

State government uses force to take possession of land it had acquired in 1997; farmers call it unlawful

                    After 20 years, the government started the process of taking possession of the land. Credit: Narendrasinh Gohil
 After 20 years, the government started the process of taking possession of the land. Credit: Narendrasinh Gohil

A total of 5,259 people, comprising farmers and their family members, in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat has sought right to die as they allege that the land they are cultivating is being forcibly taken away by the state government and Gujarat Power Corporation Limited (GPCL)—the state power utility. They have written letters to the President of India, the Prime Minister and the chief minister of Gujarat.

On April 1, 10 farmers, mainly from Ghogha taluka, were injured when police fired tear gas shells to disperse people who had gathered to resist GPCL’s attempt at taking possession of their lands for a lignite plant. More than 50 farmers were detained. Since April 8, Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) has been imposed in the area, and it will continue till May 16. This prohibits assembly of persons unlawful.

Background of the dispute

To understand the genesis of the problem, we have to travel back to 1997 when the state power utility acquired about 2,000 hectares (4,942 acre or 12,354 bigha) of land from over 5,000 farmers. For one bigha, farmers were given a compensation of Rs 40,000. While the paperwork was completed and farmers were given their compensation, the possession of lands remained with the farmers for more than 20 years. It is only recently that GPCL started the process of taking possession of the land.

This is where the problem started.


Between 1997 and 2018,

Between 1997 and 2018, one important development took place: the passing of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, which superseded the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. According to the Section 101 (Return of unutilised land) of the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015, if land acquired under the Act remains unutilised for five years (or any period specified at the time of setting up the project)  from taking possession, it must be returned to the original owners or a land bank. Similarly, as per Section 24(2), land acquisition proceedings initiated under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 lapse where the award has been made five years or more prior to the commencement of 2013 Act and possession of the land is not taken or compensation has not been paid.

“The new law clearly says that a company cannot take possession of a land which it had acquired more than five years ago. We are not against giving our lands, but for that to happen legally, the government has to initiate a fresh process of acquisition. They cannot just beat us and snatch lands, because, according to law, the land now belongs to us,” says Narendrasinh Gohil, a local farmer leader and member of Gujarat Khedut Samaj, a farmers’ rights body in the state.

“The land, whose value was Rs 40,000 in 1997, has now increased to Rs 21 lakh. We demand a fair compensation if have to part with our land,” Gohil asserts.

Talking to Down To Earth, M A Gandhi, the collector of Bhavnagar district, says, “The demand of the farmers is unlawful. They should be grateful to the government that it allowed them to use their land for so many years. Procedural delays led to the unutilisation of land for so long, and the government has been magnanimous enough to allow them to cultivate on their lands all this while. We could have easily fenced off the area made it out of bounds for them. But we did not. Now they are asking a huge sum of money, but why are they not considering the fact that they continued cultivation in the land for free for two decades.”

With the government unwilling to apply the latest Act, the farmers from 12 affected villages in one of the most backward regions in the state seek “icchha mrityu” (right to die) because they have no other livelihood options other than cultivation.


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32 years after Chernobyl, next up, a Chernobyl on ice?

32 years ago, the world’s largest civil nuclear accident contaminated large swaths of Europe.

This generation may no longer remember that for a few months spinach and other green vegetables had to be destroyed in countries like the Netherlands and Germany, that cows all over Europe needed to be kept in stables and milk taken out of consumption — and that for more than two decades, reindeer in Lapland, sheep in the English Lake District and wild boar in the German Schwarzwald had to be slaughtered because of  high radioactive contamination.

In the countries that took the biggest hit — Belarus, Ukraine and Russia — hundreds of square kilometres are still too polluted for people to return, and several million people in a wider circle continue to have to accept radioactive contamination as a daily risk. At the site of the catastrophe, the international community only last year sufficiently covered the exploded reactor to enable the start of clean-up work — which requires technology we do not yet have. Since the 26th of April, 1986, we know from direct experience that there are severe risks attached to nuclear power.

#Vaw #Womenrights " data-image-description="<p>by <a href="">Maryam Namazie</a></p> <p><img alt="amina" src="" /></p> <p>Today is <a href="">our day to defend our Amina</a>. The 19 year old Tunisian <a class="zem_slink" title="FEMEN" href="" target="_blank" rel="homepage">FEMEN</a> activist whose only “crime” was to post a topless photo of herself saying: “my body belongs to me, and is not the source of anyone’s honour” and “fuck your morals”.</p> <p>Whilst she has done nothing wrong, she has been effectively detained incommunicado by her family with the help of the police, and the latest reports say she has been drugged and beaten.</p> <p>Amina says though that she has no regrets.</p> <p>Our beloved Amina, this is for you…</p> <p>Actions taken and statements made today in support of Amina will be posted here on a regular basis. You can also post any acts in the comments section below or on FEMEN’s Facebook page.</p> <ul> <li>There are actions today in Berlin, Bonn, Bremen, Brussels, Frankfurt, Gothenburg, Kiev, London, Malmo, Milan, Montreal, Paris, <a class="zem_slink" title="Rio de Janeiro" href=",-43.1963888889&amp;spn=0.1,0.1&amp;q=-22.9083333333,-43.1963888889 (Rio%20de%20Janeiro)&amp;t=h" target="_blank" rel="geolocation">Rio De Janeiro</a>, <a class="zem_slink" title="San Francisco" href=",-122.416666667&amp;spn=0.1,0.1&amp;q=37.7833333333,-122.416666667 (San%20Francisco)&amp;t=h" target="_blank" rel="geolocation">San Francisco</a>, Stockholm, Vancouver, Warsaw and more to mark 4 April, the <a class="zem_slink" title="International observance" href="" target="_blank" rel="wikipedia">International Day</a> to Defend Amina. (<a href="">See time and place here</a>.) Many actions have already taken place in the run-up to this day. You can see some of them <a href="">here</a> or <a href="">here</a>.</li> <li>107,000 people have signed the <a href="">petition </a>in support of Amina; let’s make it 150,000 today!</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Jaya Gopal, International Coordinator, wrote the “International Committee to Protect Freethinkers stands in support of the Tunisian Amina for her courage and act of protest against the oppressive misogynistic ethos and archaic laws across the globe. We condemn the <a class="zem_slink" title="Ulama" href="" target="_blank" rel="wikipedia">Islamic cleric</a> Adel Almi for his Fatwa calling for flogging and stoning Amina to death. The cleric deserves immediate prosecution.”</li> </ul> <ul> <ul> <li>Elisabeth van der Steenhoven, Director of WO=MEN Dutch Gender Platform (the largest network in Netherlands on women’rights internationally) sent  a message saying they support Amina.</li> <li>Algerian sociologist Merieme Helie Lucas is at a conference in <a class="zem_slink" title="New Delhi" href=",77.2088888889&amp;spn=0.1,0.1&amp;q=28.6138888889,77.2088888889 (New%20Delhi)&amp;t=h" target="_blank" rel="geolocation">New Delhi</a> today speaking on women using nudity against the <a class="zem_slink" title="Islamism" href="" target="_blank" rel="wikipedia">Muslim Right</a> as a new form of resistance by women and youth. She will stress the need for solidarity with Amina.</li> <li>Swapna, Convener, writes “Let the world understand that Woman is a Human who has her own body and mind and that she should be respected and loved. The Tunisian Amina is right in posting a topless photo of herself bearing the slogan: ” MY BODY BELONGS TO ME AND IS NOT THE SOURCE OF ANYONE’S HONOR”. Her message is a human protest against a misogynistic inhuman social system. The Islamist cleric Adel Almi’s call for flogging and stoning Amina to death reflects such a system and ethos. Our Scientific Students Federation (SSF) unequivocally stands in defense of Amina.</li> <li>Ligue du Droit International des Femmes, Association créée par <a class="zem_slink" title="Simone de Beauvoir" href="" target="_blank" rel="wikipedia">Simone de Beauvoir</a>, Regards de Femmes and Femmes Solidaires, Maison des Ensembles submitted this protest<a href="">COMMUNIQUE</a> to the Tunisian embassy today in support of Amina; <a class="zem_slink" title="Anne-Marie Lizin" href="" target="_blank" rel="homepage">Anne Marie Lizin</a>, honorary president of <a class="zem_slink" title="Senate (Belgium)" href=",4.36472222222&amp;spn=0.01,0.01&amp;q=50.8466666667,4.36472222222 (Senate%20%28Belgium%29)&amp;t=h" target="_blank" rel="geolocation">Belgian senate</a> submitted the same letter to the Tunisian embassy in Belgium.</li> <li>Zari Asli and Lily M prepared this postcard for distribution at rallies and future events.<a href="">POstcard_FRONT</a>  <a href="">POstcard_back_other_places</a>.</li> <li>Yesterday, Tunisian Merieme and FEMEN burnt an Islamic flag in front of a mosque in Paris to symbolise women’s fight against Islamism:</li> </ul> </ul> <p><a href=""><img alt="IsnRmFk4fG" src="" width="412" height="274" /></a></p> <h6 class="zemanta-related-title" style="font-size:1em;">Related articles</h6> <ul class="zemanta-article-ul"> <li class="zemanta-article-ul-li"><a href="" target="_blank">Topless Tunisian Femen Protester Amina Tyler ‘Is Home &amp; Well’, Says Lawyer</a> (</li> <li class="zemanta-article-ul-li"><a href="" target="_blank">‘Stone her to death’: Tunisian preacher demands protester, 19, is executed for posting topless pictures on Facebook</a> (</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> " data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" class="wp-image-16172 size-large" title="No to Floating Nuclear Power Station in St. Petersburg © Nicolai Gontar / Greenpeace" src="" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" srcset=" 1024w, 300w, 768w, 510w, 1200w" alt="No to Floating Nuclear Power Station in St. Petersburg © Nicolai Gontar / Greenpeace" width="1024" height="683" />

No to Floating Nuclear Power Station in St. Petersburg © Nicolai Gontar / Greenpeace

A floating nuclear plant? Seriously?

In the coming weeks, Russian nuclear moloch Rosatom plans to move the world’s first designated floating nuclear power plant, the ‘Akademik Lomonosov’, from St. Petersburg through the Baltic Sea and around Norway to Murmansk. In Murmansk, it will be loaded with nuclear fuel and tested at a few kilometres distance from nearly 300-thousand inhabitants.

Originally, Rosatom planned to load fuel and test the ‘Akademik Lomonosov’ in the very centre of St. Petersburg, 2.3 kilometres from the famous St. Isaac Cathedral.

What could possibly go wrong?

This caused a plaintive whine from the Russian nuclear regulator, Rostechnadzor, but because of a hole in Russian nuclear law, inspectors still don’t have full access or a mandate to criticise the Lomonosov. Only a petition by twelve-thousand St.Petersburg citizens, questions in the city’s legislative assembly and major concerns from Baltic Sea countries about transporting two reactors filled with irradiated fuel, without its own propulsion, along their rocky coasts, caused Rosatom to use some common sense and shift loading plans to a less densely populated area.

Once loaded with fuel and tested, the ‘Akademik Lomonosov’ will be towed next year 5000 kilometres along the — because of climate change, now ice-free — Northern Sea Route to the tiny port of Pevek in the far North-Eastern region of Chukotka. There, it will provide the 5000 strong population and its port and coal mines with 70 MW of electricity.

#JusticeKatju</a> (</li> <li class="zemanta-article-ul-li"><a href="" target="_blank">Narendra Modi in your Gujarat – Booze is cheaper than water !</a> (</li> <li class="zemanta-article-ul-li"><a href="" target="_blank">Gujarat and the Politics of Vendetta – Haren Pandya and Narendra Modi</a> (</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> " data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" class="wp-image-16175 size-large" title=" © Denis Lopatin / Greenpeace" src="" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" srcset=" 1024w, 300w, 768w, 447w" alt=" © Denis Lopatin / Greenpeace" width="1024" height="779" />

© Denis Lopatin / Greenpeace

The ‘Akademik Lomonosov’ is to be the first of a fleet of floating nuclear power stations to be stationed in the Russian Arctic. Rosatom recently received the mandate to manage all shipping and development along the Northern Sea Route. These floating nuclear plants need to deliver the energy to dig for more climate-destroying fossil fuels.

And from there, dystopian science-fiction knows no borders. In 1995, Rosatom engineers proposed floating nuclear power stations for electricity production and desalination in other parts of the world as well. Think remote islands in Indonesia and the Philippines.

If this development is not stopped, the next nuclear catastrophe could well be a Chernobyl on ice or a Chernobyl on-the-rocks. Share this blog to show the world you know that this is a bad idea.

Jan Haverkamp is the expert consultant on nuclear energy for Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe.

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How can you mandate Aadhaar-mobile linking without our order? SC asks govt #FacePalm

The lawyer referred to control being enjoyed by UIDAI over entities, private, government which seek Aadhaar authentication for providing services

The Supreme Court on Wednesday raised questions over the government’s decision ordering mandatory seeding of mobile numbers with Aadhaar and said its earlier order on mandatory authentication of the users was used as a “tool”.

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, hearing a clutch of petitions challenging Aadhaar and its enabling 2016 law, said its order on a PIL filed by ‘Lokniti Foundation’ had said that mobile users needed to be verified in the interest of national security.

“In fact, there was no such direction from the Supreme Court, but you took it and used it as a toll to make Aadhaar mandatory for mobile users,” the bench, also comprising Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, said.

Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), said the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) notification talked about re-verification of mobile numbers by using e-KYC process and the Telegraph Act gave “exclusive power to central government to decide license conditions” of service providers.

“How can you (DoT) impose condition on service recipients for seeding Aadhaar with mobile phones,” the bench said, adding that license agreements were between the government and the service providers.

Dwivedi said the direction to seed mobile with Aadhaar was taken in pursuance of TRAI’s recommendation. Besides, the government was entitled and had legitimate state interest to ensure that a sim card is given to only those who applied, he said, seeking to allay apprehensions that the State would will surveil the people 24×7.

“My submission is that the government had a legal basis to link Aadhaar with SIM by virtue of section 4 of the Telegraph Act and also, the measure is reasonable in the interest of national security,” the lawyer stressed.

Dwivedi, at the outset, alleged that the Aadhaar scheme was being unfairly targeted as nobody was questioning the banks and the telecom firms on collection of information.

The banks and telecom companies have much “bigger data base” about the citizens, he said, adding, “For example, Vodafone has much bigger data base of information even without Aadhaar. The Aadhaar data is immaterial for them.”

“Appreciate the fact as to how much information a bank possesses about its customers. Every transaction as to what I purchase by using cards, where and when, all this information is with banks. Aadhaar does not tell all this. This information are already there and is being used for commercial purposes,” he said, adding that a person starts getting numerous calls before their car insurance expire.

He said people are being “scared” about Aadhaar but “nobody questions the telecom companies, banks…. Their single target is Aadhaar”.

Dwivedi informed the bench about an app, available on Playstore and said it has so many personal information about a person. He gave details, procured by using the app, about him, his family members to the bench.

The bench was pleasantly surprised. Dwivedi said it has details regarding how much he charged from the Jammu and Kashmir government for appearing in a case.

The lawyer referred to the control being enjoyed by the UIDAI over entities, private and government which seek Aadhaar authentication for providing services and benefits to citizens.

These entities cannot track any individual by using these information and moreover, they themselves have enough information with them, he said, adding that Aadhaar cannot lead to surveillance as apprehended by the petitioners.

“Vodafone can do targeted advertising using the data which is already happening without Aadhaar. Vodafone has far more demographic data about an individual than UIDAI has,” Dwivedi said, adding that at the most, such details can lead to formation of a directory and targeted advertisements is happening already.

and process tremendous data on a daily basis. UIDAI does not have that kind of algorithm,” he said and urged the court to save the Aadhaar law and suggest measures, if any, to make it work.

He referred to a list of entities and said most of them required one-time authentication and hence there was no question that State will surveil the people 24×7. He also referred to inbuilt security features in the law and system of Aadhaar authentication.

Dwivedi concluded his arguments on behalf of UIDAI saying that CIDR was safe, data was encrypted and was held offline and above all, the Aadhaar scheme was safer than smart cards as there was no chance of data breach.

Lawyer Gopal Shankarnarayan, who started his submissions, said the right to identity was an “absolute fundamental right” and Aadhaar provided a kind of proof of identification to all Indians.

Source0 Buisness Standard

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Open Challenge by UIDAI counsel Rakesh Dwivedi to hack his personal data from the #Aadhaar database

Stranger dug up intimate data on me, wife, kids, siblings: UIDAI counsel

Dhananjay Mahapatra


  • UIDAI’s counsel Rakesh Dwivedi made a startling disclosure on Wednesday that secretive websites were amassing data on individuals
  • Dwivedi told SC that an anonymous person dug out his personal details using the website Pastebin
  • The senior advocate had thrown an open challenge to petitioners to hack his personal data from Aadhaar database

NEW DELHI: Allaying the Supreme Court’s apprehensions about possible privacy violations through Aadhaar, UIDAI’s counsel Rakesh Dwivedi made a startling disclosure on Wednesday that secretive foreign websites were amassing a huge amount of intimate data on individuals, but were unable to hack the Aadhaardatabase.

Arguing before a bench of CJI Dipak Misra and Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan on April 17, the senior advocate had thrown an open challenge to the petitioners to hack his personal data from the Aadhaar database while claiming that it was stored in the safest manner possible with no connection to the internet. The petitioners have alleged that Aadhaar data was prone to misuse and posed a threat to citizens’ privacy.

On Wednesday, Dwivedi, assisted by advocate Sansriti Pathak, told the SC that an anonymous person took up the challenge and dug out his personal details “using the website Pastebin”. He handed over two pages listing 77 counts of personal information about him, his wife, daughters and son, brothers and sister.

The details included the legal fee he had charged the Akhilesh Singh Yadav government, his family members’ voter ID card numbers, that he played Ranji Trophy in 1972 when his father was an SC judge, as also the name and nationality of the woman his son intends to marry.

However, the data sheet did not contain any information he had given for Aadhaar, not even the Aadhaar numbers of his family members.

The anonymous sender of the private details about Dwivedi and his family also left him a message, “A humble response to the open challenge by Rakesh Dwivedi in the Supreme Court on April 17, 2018. This is a little bit I know of you with a few searches on Google (didn’t check your Facebook profile, which sure will have a lot more ‘private’ information, or any other website that requires a log in).”

If the court had peppered the Centre and the Unique Identification Authority of India(UIDAI) for two weeks with questions relating to possible privacy violations because of Aadhaar, it was Dwivedi’s turn on the day he concluded his arguments to make the five judges sit back and take note.

“Petitioners have made a mountain out of a molehill by constantly harping on privacy violations. Have a look at these sheets of paper listing most private information about me and my family collated by a person by merely searching on Google, which has ‘big data’ and software to analyse it.

Aadhaar does not have processing or analysing software to make the data unsafe. On the other hand, it provides punishment to any one sharing data. The Aadhaar system is unconnected to the internet and hence immune from hacking. It does not violate right to privacy,” he said.

“The architecture and design of Aadhaar is such that it can neither be used for surveillance purposes nor its data can be analysed for commercial exploitation. The data available with the requesting agencies, where authentication takes place, could at best be used to prepare a directory of individuals. All these demographic data is anyway in public domain,” Dwivedi said.

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CPI (ML) demands Independent Enquiry Into Gadchiroli ‘Encounter’  

Implement Supreme Court Guidelines,
Ensure FIR and Independent Enquiry Into Gadchiroli ‘Encounter’


On 22nd and 23rd April, 2018 at Tadgaon, Gadchiroli, at least 37 people were gunned down in what a combined force of CRPF and a C-60 commando force of the Gadchiroli police called an ‘encounter’ with Maoists.

There are however several circumstances raising questions about the authenticity of the ‘encounter.’ In the first place, according to news reports, the number of casualties is much larger than the number of arms recovered – this raises the question if many or most of those killed were in fact unarmed non-combatants. Secondly, even the official version admits that the Maoists had been surrounded while resting in a village where they had come to attend a marriage party. Moreover, not a single police or CRPF personnel has been seriously injured or killed in the episode. This further raises questions about whether the firing by the CRPF and Gadchiroli Police was in fact a proportionate response in self-defence against an armed Maoist attack – i.e a genuine encounter – or in fact a one-sided massacre. The fact that the CRPF and Police force used barrel grenade launchers (UBGLs) intended to cause maximum casualties, further indicates that the killings might not in fact be an encounter at all.

The Supreme Court of India, in the PUCL vs State of Maharashtra verdict of September 2014, had observed that killings in police ‘encounters’ affects the credibility of the rule of law and the criminal justice system. The Supreme Court had then issued 16 Guidelines as the standard procedure for an independent and credible investigation into every single ‘encounter’. These guidelines mandated that the police must record any ‘tip-off’ regarding criminal movements in a case diary in some form, even if crucial details are not revealed; an FIR must be registered in the case of every encounter killing and forwarded to the Court under Section 157 CrPC; an independent investigation must be conducted by the CID or police team of another police station under the supervision of a senior officer. These guidelines also laid down detailed parameters that must be followed in any such enquiry, and also mandated that information regarding every single encounter is sent without delay to the NHRC or concerned SHRC. While the Supreme Court guidelines warn against gallantry awards or rewards to any officer until the authenticity of the ‘encounter’ is established in a court of law, this is violated often. Sections of the media have already begun valorizing and circulating a video of CRPF jawans dancing in celebration of the Gadchiroli killings. Such conduct by the CRPF violate all norms of professional and ethical behaviour mandated for armed forces of the State, and its celebration by sections of the media also violates the norms expected of responsible journalism.

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court itself as well as High Courts do not show enough diligence in ensuring that these guidelines are implemented in the case of every alleged encounter. The spate of so-called ‘encounters’ by the Uttar Pradesh Government; the killing of the SIMI members in Bhopal in an alleged ‘encounter’ – all smack of being fake encounters; and members of the UP Police force have even been recorded demanding bribes through threats of ‘encounter’ killings – and yet no action is taken.

We demand that the guidelines set down by the Supreme Court be strictly followed in the case of the Gadhchiroli killings – an FIR must be registered and an independent and timely Court-monitored investigation guaranteed. We also demand that the State forces desist from the ongoing harassment and victimization of the local adivasi population in the name of raids.

 –          Central Committee, CPI(ML) Liberation

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India – #Aadhaar in welfare is pain without gain

There are no benefits from Aadhaar that cannot be achieved through other technologies. Beneficiaries of welfare should be ‘freed’ from its clutches first as they have suffered its tyranny the worst and longest

The technology is unreliable: high rates of biometric failure; bugs reported by hackers; data-security and -protection issues and worse have been in the news regularly since 2017
The technology is unreliable: high rates of biometric failure; bugs reported by hackers; data-security and -protection issues and worse have been in the news regularly since 2017(AFP)

It has become impossible to have an intelligent discussion with the government on Aadhaar.

The charge sheet against Aadhaar is endless.

The rule of law appears to not apply: after the Supreme Court issued interim orders in 2015 restraining the use of Aadhaar to a handful of schemes, these orders were violated routinely — and with impunity. Again, if your data is compromised, you have no right to initiate direct legal action; it must be through the UIDAI.

The parliamentary process has been undermined: when worries mounted about the lack of a legal framework regulating the Aadhaar project, the government passed the Aadhaar Act as a Money Bill to bypass the Rajya Sabha, where it lacks majority. The informed legal consensus on this is that the Aadhaar Act does not qualify as a Money Bill.

The technology is unreliable: high rates of biometric failure; bugs reported by hackers; data-security and -protection issues and worse have been in the news regularly since 2017. When these reports come in, the government’s response has bordered on the ridiculous: e.g., citing the thickness of the brick walls of the data centre that apparently ‘protect’ digital information.

The government’s response has also been inconsistent, even contradictory. When the Aadhaar Act was violated by public and private implementation agencies (e.g., by publicly displaying Aadhaar numbers), media whistleblowers and reporters responsible were rewarded with legal action. Meanwhile, the government also claimed there was nothing wrong with displaying Aadhaar numbers!

The government (almost) deliberately misinterprets the charge or ducks the real issue. For instance, the UIDAI CEO argued that the Aadhaar numbers did not ‘leak’ from UIDAI servers but from the Indane website or the Jharkhand government website. For the person whose data has been compromised, it hardly matters whether the thief came in through the door or a window.

Banal, even dangerous, analogies are drawn to justify Aadhaar: e.g., proliferation in the use of the Social Security Number (SSN) in the US. This line of argument conveniently ignores the data breaches (most recently, the massive Equifax SSN data breach in 2017) and its consequences for ordinary citizens or how hard it has been to hold companies like Equifax accountable. Instead of learning from others’ mistakes, we are goaded on to repeat them.

Denial is the other response of the government. For months, the government has denied that there is any problem with the use of Aadhaar in delivering welfare benefits (such as PDS rations and pensions). Even today, it is only because the Supreme Court judges have understood the scale of the exclusion problem that the government has begun to grudgingly accept it in court (only).

An important message that has yet to sink in is that Aadhaar in welfare is pain without gain. At least two studies on the use of Aadhaar for PDS supplies in Jharkhand suggest this. Technology failures (lack of Internet connectivity or failed biometrics) result in inconvenience (repeated trips) and exclusion (denial of food rations). If things work smoothly, people are left exactly where they were before the introduction of this technology. Both studies find little evidence of ‘duplicates’ or ‘ghosts’, a problem Aadhaar could potentially solve.

The government submits that welfare cannot be administered efficiently without Aadhaar. It claims Aadhaar plays a constructive role in guaranteeing the Right to Life. It relies on discredited World Bank estimates to project savings through Aadhaar. The reality is that when names are struck off pension or ration lists because they could not or did not link Aadhaar, the reduction in expenditure from ‘exclusion’ is passed off as ‘savings’.

Those who recommend the use of alternative technologies (e.g., smart cards) are projected as stooges of companies. Meanwhile, former UIDAI functionaries are building businesses using the Aadhaar platform and have pleaded with the Supreme Court to save Aadhaar.

The writing is on the wall: there is no point throwing good money after bad. There are no benefits from Aadhaar that cannot be achieved through other technologies. Beneficiaries of welfare should be freed from its clutches first as they have suffered its tyranny the worst and longest. If Aadhaar stays at all, it should be voluntary with a simple opt-out, which should be guaranteed when exercised.

Reetika Khera is associate professor (economics) at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi

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BJP MPs/MLAs Have Most Declared Police Complaints of Hate Speech Against Them

IndiaSpend Team,


Mumbai: As many as 58 members of parliament (MPs) and members of legislative assembly (MLAs) have declared that police complaints of hate speech have been filed against them, according to a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms and National Election Watch, released on April 25, 2018.


Based on an analysis of self-sworn affidavits submitted by electoral candidates prior to the last election they contested, the report found that MPs and MLAs belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have reported the most (27, or 47% of all) cases of hate speech filed against them, followed by MPs/MLAs from the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), with six each.


The maximum number of MPs/MLAs who have self-declared cases of hate-speech filed against them are from Uttar Pradesh (UP, 15), Telangana (13) and poll-bound Karnataka and Maharashtra (five each).


As many as 15 sitting MPs in the Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament) have declared hate-speech cases against them–10 from the BJP, and one each from the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), TRS, AIMIM, Pattali Makkal Katchi and Shiv Sena.


No MP from the Rajya Sabha (upper house of parliament) has declared cases against themselves, the report said.


Among the current members of legislative assemblies (state legislatures), 43 have declared cases against themselves, of whom 17 are from the BJP; five each are from the TRS and AIMIM; three from the Telugu Desam Party; two each from the Indian National Congress, All India Trinamool Congress, Janata Dal (United) and Shiv Sena; one each from Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party; and two are independent MLAs.


Two leaders of political parties–Asaduddin Owaisi of the AIMIM and Badruddin Ajmal of the AIUDF–have declared cases.


Uma Bharti, the serving Union Cabinet Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation, has declared cases related to hate speech against her.


As many as 198 candidates with declared cases related to hate speech have contested elections for parliament or state assemblies in the last five years

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Andhra Pradesh – Uranium mining contaminating soil, water in Tummalapalle


The white deposit at the far end, villagers say, are are salts deposited after evaporation of water which flows out of the pipe from the Uranium Corporation of India Limited plant at Tummalapalle, near Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh

Department of Atomic Energy, which comes under PM Modi, has been under fire at uranium-rich Tummalapalle in Andhra Pradesh, as villagers complain of soil and water contamination with radioactive waste

There could be a storm brewing in the Department of Atomic Energy, headed by none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Uranium Corporation of India Limited, which comes under the DoAE, has been under fire at uranium-rich Tummalapalle, near Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh. The villagers complain that UCIL’s project here is not only contaminating the soil and water in the region with the radioactive waste, it is also refusing to acknowledge the problem.

The quality of water and soil in Tummalapalle and the three villages surrounding it has deteriorated and presence of extremely high levels of heavy and trace metals such as uranium, barium, cobalt, lead, chromium and zinc has been detected.

Additionally, the ground water table in the area has fallen considerably.“Ever since UCIL started mining, the groundwater table receded due to mine water discharge. Before mining began, ground water was available at a depth of between 200 and 300 feet. Now, it has gone down to 1,000 feet and lower. Farmers were growing bananas using drip irrigation and were making about ₹2 lakh per acre per year. Now, with heavy groundwater contamination, the banana plants are drying up and not yielding bananas. Farmers’ incomes have completely dried up,” said K Babu Rao, retired chief scientist of the Indian Institute Chemical Technology.

Uranium ore in Kadapa is alkaline, unlike that at the Jadugudamine in Jharkhand, and is not suitable for acid leaching to extract uranium. “So, an alkali leaching process has been adopted. The technology for alkali leaching was developed at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre on pilot scale. It was scaled up to process 3,000 tonnes of ore per day. UCIL spent several years streamlining the process as per their annual reports,” explained Rao, who asserts that the main source of groundwater pollution is the tailings pond.

The tailing pond’s design, construction and operation have an important role in preventing seepage of pollutants into the groundwater.“

They have been dumping lots of chemicals, mainly sodium salts in the tailings pond (an earth-fill embankment used to dump mining by-products). As UCIL violated the conditions for the construction of tailings pond, chemicals percolated through the sediments and reached the groundwater table,” alleged EAS Sarma, former Power Secretary with the Government of India.

A farmer with his banana plantation near the tailings pond first noticed drying of plants and took the water and soil samples for analysis to a regional agriculture department laboratory. The laboratory categorised the water as unsuitable for irrigation because of high salt content. This happened in May 2017. Later, the problem spread to neighbouring villages. The protesting farmers took the matter to the YSR Congress Party MP Avinash Reddy, who took the matter to CK Asnani, chairman and managing director of UCIL.

“He came down in the last week of Feb 2018 and promised to pay compensation after BARC studied the problem. Farmers demanded a firm date and he gave March 9, 2018. But the meeting never took place. Meanwhile, the MP got into the thick of the Andhra Pradesh special package movement,” remarked Rao.

As can be seen in the lead photo above, there is a white deposit at the far end. These are salts deposited after evaporation of the water, say villagers. In the picture on the left below, the tailings pipe that discharges the slurry tailings at the top edge of the hillock can be seen. The liquid flows down the slope of the hillock. “It is a very bad engineering practice,” points out Rao. The picture on the right below is of salts accumulating in farmlands. As can be seen, the banana plants are dying without bearing fruit.

The Groundwater Analysis report where the increased levels of salts and uranium in the soil can be seen

Earlier this year, in February, five farmers from the region sent water samples from their farm for testing to the Centre for Materials for Electronics Technology (C-MET).The results showed that uranium levels had increased up to 308.5 ppb or micrograms per litre, when the United Nations-certified limit for India is 30.Another major concern is also the increased sodium (salt) content in groundwater that is detrimental to agriculture. The levels of calcium and magnesium in the water are also on the rise. Calcium and magnesium contents are a measure of hardness of water.

The picture below is of a person affected by skin diseases which are becoming common in the region due to the increased level of Uranium and salts in the water and soil.

The people affected by skin diseases which are becoming common in the region due to the excessive levels of Uranium and salts in the soil and water

“The processing plant was commissioned in 2012 and in five years, groundwater has become contaminated. By the end of the life of the plant, that is another 25 years, what will be the condition if UCIL refuses to rectify the situation? Levels of other metals will also keep increasing due to leaching of tailings,” says a visibly worried Rao.

Ironically, prior to construction of the plant, the environmental clearance letter issued by the Ministry of Environment on February 21, 2007, included a condition:“The tailings pond shall be lined to prevent ground water contamination and overflow shall be collected, treated and recycled in the ore processing plant and mine for industrial use.”

Subsequently, the Consent for Establishment (CFE) issued on June 22, 2007, by Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) set the following conditions:“The thickened tailings Disposal (TTD) area shall be lined with Bentonite with minimum 500 mm layer with 250 micron of polyethylene layer with adequate protective layer of clay or sand of 250 mm.The pond shall be provided with a holding pond to collect drainage from deposit and also rainfall precipitation. The water from holding pond shall be pumped for treatment. There will no water escape from the pond.”

The notice advertised by UCIL in the local papers claiming that UCIL had not contaminated the water and soil in the areas near to the plant at Tummalapalle, near Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh

Things reached a flash point earlier in April when UCIL officials and Andhra Pradesh Police personnel misbehaved and detained scientist K Babu Rao and activists of the Human Rights Forum, who were on their way to meet the villagers who have been protesting and complaining about UCIL dumping chemical waste at a hillock nearby. After the complaints, UCIL and BARC authorities consented to ‘meet’ the villagers to ‘create awareness’ and to address their queries. Since much of the terminology used by UCIL is technical, the villagers approached activists for an effective interaction. Rao was only allowed to participate in the meeting with the scientists from UCIL and BARC after the villagers raised a hue and cry and EAS Sarma, the former power secretary,wrote a letter to the Kadapa collector and Nripendra Misra, the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister.

“At the meeting, no one from UCIL spoke. BARC scientist Dr RM Tripathi, who acted as their spokesperson, denied any pollution arising out of UCIL’s activities. However, he admitted that the CMET analysis is correct,” pointed out Rao. Despite agreeing with the CMET findings, when Rao asked him why UCIL had issued a notification in the newspaper stating that the results of the analysis were erratic, he refused to entertain the question. Instead, Rao says that Tripathi wanted him to agree to the accumulating waste at the plant to be pumped to the tailings pond.

Towards the end of the meeting, Rao said, the General Manager of the plant, SR Pranesh, tried to justify not complying with the CFE issued by APPCB, stating that the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board had stricter norms for the tailings pond while APPCB had not specified the permeability of lining.

Attempts to reach UCIL chairman cum managing director CK Asnani and Ajay Ghade, executive director of UCIL (Operations and Projects, South), proved to be futile. An email was sent to their grievances department with the questions. There was no response when this issue went to print.

Courtesy: National Herald

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