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Aadhaar app Vs other cards: How it will change the game for e-payments

 

Merchants to get commission each time you use the mobile-based application

Nandan Nilekani's recipe for a start-up government

A woman gets her fingerprints scanned for Aadhaar card

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is working with banks and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to ensure that merchants who use its mobile-based application for digital transactions earn commission up to one per cent of the transaction value.


With suggesting it is on path to get this in place in a couple of months, the Enabled Payment System (AEPS), could give debit cards and e-wallets a run for their money. In contrast to what is advocating, all other forms of digital payments require merchants to pay a fee or commission for the use of technology.


“The Aadhaar-based system is being used for PDS (public distribution system) in Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat. We are also in discussions with Haryana. We are enrolling banks so that they start accepting Aadhaar-based payments. Two banks have already agreed. The process of integrating merchants with banks will be completed in the next few weeks” said Ajay Bhushan Pandey, chief executive officer, UIDAI.

Once implemented, this model envisages doing away with all charges that are associated with a typical point-of-sale (PoS) machine. Under the system, would enlist merchants as business correspondents. These merchants would use their phones linked to biometric devices for the transactions.

These require a customer to key in their number and verify their fingerprint on the biometric reader connected to the phone.

To enable a wide acceptability, the government has pushed for linking all savings to numbers against a stiff deadline.

Whenever a customer transacts with a merchant through AEPS, the merchant would receive the same incentive that business correspondents employed by banks do, has said.

Different banks provide different incentives to business correspondents on the basis of their performance. For instance, the Vidharbha Konkan Gramin Bank, a regional rural bank (RRB) provides Rs 10 for every new account opened by a business correspondent. If someone deposits money through PoS terminals, the correspondent gets 0.5 per cent of the money. For mobilising a term deposit, the correspondent gets 0.25 per cent of the amount. Similarly, various incentives, as a proportion of the transaction amount, are given to correspondents.

“Merchants will now be doing the job of a business correspondent. So what was being paid as incentives to the correspondent would be extended to merchants,” said Pandey.

Over time, he suggested, this would reduce the need for banking correspondents as more and more merchants use the app on their phones for transactions. The app itself has been tested by a couple of banks and is being finalised, Pandey said.

The business model would mean the banking system taking on the burden of incentivising the spread of Aadhaar-based payments through mobile phones.

In contrast, at the moment, they earn from other digital transactions. But Pandey said was convincing banks that the commission must be seen in the light of existing commission structures for correspondents and the cost of cash transactions.

A look at the fee structure of PoS machines used to carry out card transactions indicates a substantial cost for the merchant. A third-party PoS provider has multiple layers of charges. These machines are not sold but often given on rent by banks and third-party vendors. Some banks charge the merchants a monthly rental of Rs 400 for a portable PoS machine for two years.

Some banks also recover something called a “commitment charge”. These charges can be a burden on smaller merchants with low volumes of sales. Merchants with a lower sale volume have to pay a higher commitment charge. Competition between different vendors and banks has been bringing down these costs, though, over time.

Banks such as the State Bank of India (SBI) and its public-sector peers offer machines on more lenient terms than third-party vendors. SBI, for instance, says that it doesn’t take a one-time installation charge from any merchant.

The final layer of the cost of using a PoS machine is the merchant discount rate (MDR). This is the charge that banks collect from merchants whenever a card is swiped on the machine. Banks usually charge a lower rate if their own debit cards are used on their PoS machines.

Before January 1, the charges were 0.75 per cent for transactions of value up to Rs 2,000. For transactions above Rs 2,000, a rate of one per cent of the transaction value was recovered from the merchant. Foreign cards attracted double the rate while credit card transactions were charged at 1.5 per cent. This was either borne by the merchant or passed on to the customer.

After demonetisation, RBI introduced an additional layer of MDR through a notification issued on December 16, 2016. Between January 1 and March 31 this year, MDR for transactions up to Rs 1,000 is to be 0.25 per cent. All others would continue to be charged as before. The rate has been capped at one per cent. Clearly, the multiple charges add up to a significant amount for a merchant who has little option but to either bear the cost or to pass it on to their customers.

RBI data show that PoS transactions through debit cards touched Rs 31,600 crore in November 2016. In November 2015, this figure stood at Rs 14,800 crore. Banks quite clearly stand to make a killing through these multiple layers of charges.

Mobile wallets, too, are known to charge as high as four per cent for certain types of transactions. Mobile wallet transactions were Rs 3,300 crore in November 2016 as compared to Rs 1,900 crore in November 2015.

That’s where the Aadhaar-linked payment system could be a major disruptor.

At the moment the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) charges one per cent on every financial transaction through AEPS from the bank.

The bank passes this on to the merchant. It’s unclear if these charges would be set off too.

Pandey told Business Standard that a favourable decision could come soon. If it does, it would completely turn the digital transactions ecosystem on its head.

The change of the business model for digital transactions would require many banks to come on board. NPCI data show that of the 46 public-sector banks and private banks in India, 44 are classified as “member banks” of AEPS.

Graphic
 http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/aadhaar-app-vs-other-cards-how-it-will-change-the-game-for-e-payments-117011701594_1.html

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In India, even cows to queue up for Aadhaar-like cards #WTFnews

Reportedly, these tags are tamper-proof and cannot be easily opened

Cow aadhaar

Cow aadhaar
Not just citizens, but in India will also be given the 12-digit unique identity. In an innovative move, the government of India has initiated a drive to tag AADHAAR-like identification numbers to so that they are vaccinated on time and scientific intervention is made available.


According to a report published in The Economics Times, the animal husbandry department has assigned technicians to affix a tag with a 12-digit unique identification number inside the ear of cows.


Continuing with the digital drive enthusiasm, the government intends to reach out to almost 88 million and buffaloes this year. For this, Rs 148 crore has been set aside, officials say.


So, how is the government milking the Aadhaar idea on cattle?


The Economics Times reports, nearly one lakh technicians have been armed with 50,000 tablets. Their mission is to affix a polyurethane tag on the ears of the with a tag applicator.


The yellow-colored tag is fixed in the centre of the ear lobe. These tags cost Rs 8 apiece and are light weighted.


Once the tag is fixed, the technician will use a tablet to update the number in an online database. He/she will also provide the owner with an ‘animal health card’ recording the UID number, owner’s details, status of periodic deworming and vaccinations of the animal as well as breeding details. This will help track the along with all relevant details.


Reportedly, these tags are tamper-proof and cannot be easily opened.


The government has fixed targets for all states to completed the task within 2017. For instance, in Uttar Pradesh, 14 lakh have to have the tags every month while Madhya Pradesh has to tag 7.5 lakh per month. State governments will be provided funds for undertaking the programme. At present, just around 0.8 to 1 million are tagged are India, reports Business Standard.


Is it safe and will it cause inconvenience to the cattle


The tag is made from thermoplastic polyurethane elastomer. According to a report published in Medicaldevice by Prakash Vizzeswarapu, commercial development manager, NAFTA TPU Resins, Bayer Material Science, thermoplastic polyurethane elastomers are now being increasingly used for medical applications due to the material’s desirable chemical properties, excellent mechanical characteristics and biocompatibility.


And no, it does not cause discomfort to the as the tag weighs just eight grams.

What good will these tags do?


India has nearly 41 million buffaloes and 47 million indigenous and cross-bred that produce milk. UP has the highest population (16 million) in the country, followed by Madhya Pradesh (9 million), Rajasthan (8.4 million), Gujarat (6.2 million) and Andhra Pradesh (5.4 million).


According to Business Today, Indian milk economy is worth Rs 5 lakh crore, growing at a CAGR of 15-16 per cent, out of which the organised milk economy is worth Rs 80,000 crore. Hence, by tagging the cattle, the government aims to ensure that scientific intervention is made available for better breeding and assist in augmenting milk yields. The government wants to double the country’s milk production by 2020.

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India’s Digital ID Rollout Collides With Rickety Reality #Aadhaar #UID

Gnarled hands, shoddy internet can complicate access to massive registry

 
India‘s government is giving a unique ID to each of its 1.2 billion citizens, creating the world’s largest biometric data set. But the rollout has hit snags. Jagvati Khandelwal, shown here, says she hasn’t been able to log on to the ID registry with her fingerprints, depriving her of subsidized food at the New Delhi supplier where she shops.

NEW DELHI—India’s new digital identification system, years in the making and now being put into widespread use, has yet to deliver the new era of modern efficiency it promised for shop owner Om Prakash and customer Daya Chand.

At first, it drove both men up a tree.

The system, which relies on fingerprints and eye scans to eventually provide IDs to all 1.25 billion Indians, is also expected to improve the distribution of state food and fuel rations and eventually facilitate daily needs such as banking and buying train tickets.

But Mr. Prakash couldn’t confirm his customers’ identities until he dragged them to a Java plum tree in a corner of his village near New Delhi’s international airport. That was the only place to get the phone signal needed to tap into the government database.

Panna Singh, who breaks stones for a living, shows his hands gnarled by manual work, after a scanner failed to match his fingerprints with the Aadhaar database at a village in Rajasthan in December.

Panna Singh, who breaks stones for a living, shows his hands gnarled by manual work, after a scanner failed to match his fingerprints with the Aadhaar database at a village in Rajasthan in December. PHOTO: GABRIELE PARUSSINI/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

“I hopped on a chair and put my finger in the machine,” said Mr. Chand, a 60-year-old taxi driver. Getting his state food ration “used to be much easier,” he said.

In a system so vast, even small glitches can leave millions of people empty-handed.

The government began building the system, called Aadhaar, or “foundation,” with great fanfare in 2009, led by a team of pioneering technology entrepreneurs. Since then, almost 90% of India’s population has been enrolled in what is now the world’s largest biometric data set.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who set aside early skepticism about the Aadhaar project after taking power in 2014, is betting that it can help India address critical problems such as poverty and corruption, while also saving money for the government.

But the technology is colliding with the rickety reality of India, where many people live off the grid or have fingerprints compromised by manual labor or age.

Panna Singh, a 55-year-old day laborer in the northwestern state of Rajasthan who breaks stones used to build walls, says the machine recognized his scuffed-up fingerprints only a couple of times.

“I’ve come twice today,” he said at a ration shop in the village of Devdungri. “That’s a full day of work, gone.”

Iris scans are meant to resolve situations where fingerprints don’t work, but shops don’t yet have iris scanners.

Hanja Devi, 80 years old, used a fingerprint reader at a ration shop in Rajasthan. But she couldn’t log in with her fingerprints and left with an empty kerosene container.

Hanja Devi, 80 years old, used a fingerprint reader at a ration shop in Rajasthan. But she couldn’t log in with her fingerprints and left with an empty kerosene container. PHOTO: GABRIELE PARUSSINI/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Ajay Bhushan Pandey, chief executive of the government agency that oversees Aadhaar, said kinks will be ironed out as the system is used, as is the case with software rollouts. It works 92% of the time, and that will rise to 95%, he said.

“On the scale of what [Aadhaar] has achieved, the rollout has been remarkably smooth,” said Nandan Nilekani, the Infosys co-founder who spearheaded the project. “I don’t see any issues that are disproportionate to the size of project.”

An Aadhaar ID is intended to be a great convenience, replacing the multitude of paperwork required by banks, merchants and government agencies. The benefits are only just beginning, backers say, as the biometric IDs are linked to programs and services.

But in rural areas, home to hundreds of millions of impoverished Indians dependent on subsidies, the impact of technical disruptions has already been evident.

After walking for two hours across rough underbrush in Rajasthan to get kerosene for the month, Hanja Devi left empty-handed because the machine couldn’t match her fingerprint with her Aadhaar number.

A visitor uses his thumbprint to try a system to withdraw money from his bank account using his Aadhaar identification card at an event promoting digital payment in Amritsar, India last week.

A visitor uses his thumbprint to try a system to withdraw money from his bank account using his Aadhaar identification card at an event promoting digital payment in Amritsar, India last week. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGE

“It’s always so difficult” using the system, said Ms. Devi, who lives with her husband and a nephew on 1,500 rupees ($22) a month.

Ranjit Singh, who operates the shop, said five of the 37 customers before Ms. Devi also left the shop empty-handed, a failure rate of over 15%.

A shop manager in a neighboring village said identification had failed for a similar portion of his 500 customers.

SHIFT TO DIGITAL

India has issued Aadhaar to a much of its population, and transactions that use the biometric ID are rising fast

  • 1.1 billion Aadhaar cards issued as of Jan. 1
  • 86.1% of India’s 1.25 billion people have cards
  • 99.5% of Indians older than 18 had Aadhaar as of November
  • 15 million transactions a day use Aadhaar, up from 3 million a day this time last year
  • 4 billion authentication transactions have taken place since the program started

Any biometric recognition system of Aadhaar’s size is bound to show duplicates, meaning some people’s biometric identifiers will match someone else’s when they try to enroll.The new system hasn’t eliminated attempts at fraud. In August, police in Rajasthan accused two shop managers of linking their fingerprints to a multitude of cards and stealing for months the rations of dozens of clients.

Hans Varghese Mathews, a mathematician at the Bangalore-based Center for Internet and Society, used the results of a test run by Aadhaar officials on a sample of 84 million people to extrapolate the figure for India’s total population. The error level is less than 1%, but in the world’s second-most populous country, the snag would still affect about 11 million people, he said.

Government officials disputed the calculation, saying the number of duplicates would be much smaller—and that it would take only seven analysts to manage the error caseload.

As for trouble connecting to the registry, better infrastructure, including steadier internet connections, will eventually also help, Mr. Pandey said.

For now, Mr. Prakash has found a way to cope without climbing trees. After scouring the village, he set up a shack in a spot with enough bandwidth for his fingerprint scanner to work. It is hardly efficient. He issues receipts in the morning at the shack, then goes back to his shop to hand out the grains. Customers have to line up twice, sometimes for hours.

Mr. Prakash has applied to the government to operate without biometric identification, but his request was turned down, he said. “They said: ‘You have to keep trying.’ ”

Write to Gabriele Parussini at gabriele

http://www.wsj.com/articles/snags-multiply-in-indias-digital-id-rollout-1484237128

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UID/Aadhaar Enabled Bio-metric Attendance System (AEBAS) violates Supreme Court’s orders

Seeding of UID/Aadhaar not permitted by both the Court’s order and the Aadhaar Act 2016

It is in breach of promise made in the UID/Aadhaar Number Enrolment Form  

Some 639 organizations registered over 1.88 lakh employees, over 5000 active devices in contempt of Supreme Court’s Constitution Bench order on the subject of 12-digit biometric Unique Identification (UID)/Aadhaar Number. This has been revealed by a government document titled “Aadhaar: Dynamics of Digital Identity”. The Court reiterated its order on September 14, 2016 after the passage of The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 underlining the fact that the order is the fact that the last order of the Supreme Court is the law of the land.

The Court’s three judge bench expressed concern about collection of biometric data by private and foreign agencies on January 5, 2017. In case any Indian resident or agency is facing problems due to any order which are making biometric Unique Identification (UID)/Aadhaar Number compulsory, one can use the order to save oneself from illegitimate, illegal and unconstitutional instructions or circulars.

The UID/Aadhaar Enrolment continues to make a promise to Indian residents that “Aadhaar Enrolment is free and voluntary.” It is available athttps://uidai.gov.in/images/uid_download/enrolment_form.pdf. Besides Supreme Court, Punjab and Haryana High Court’s observation in a written order compelled central government to withdraw its circular making UID/Aadhaar mandatory.

In a blatant disregard of Court’s directions, Ministry of Finance, Government of India has communicated a Common Strategy to be adopted by Banks to achieve the targets under Aadhaar Seeding in mission mode. Department  of  Financial  Services  (DFS),  Ministry  of  Finance,  Government  of  India vide letter  F.No.  21(23)/2014-FI (MISSION) dated 13.07.2016 has fixed the timelines for achieving 100% Aadhaar seeding of all the accounts and common strategies to be adopted by all the banks have also been communicated. Government  of  India  has  informed  that  Aadhaar  will  be  used  as  identifier  for  all  centrally funded  scholarship  schemes  and  the  amount  will  be  directly  transferred  to  aadhaar  linked bank  account.  Hence, schools  have  also been directed  to  collect  aadhaar mandate  and send the  same  to  concerned  bank  branches. All the banks are requested seed the aadhaar received from schools on priority basis. Such violation of Court’s order is recorded in the minutes of State Level Bankers’ Committee, Puducherry convened by Indian Bank, a Public Sector, Government of India Undertaking. The minutes are available at http://www.indianbank.in/slbc/SLBC19082016agenda.pdf

The existing legal provisions as per Court’s order and the Aadhaar Act 2016 do not provide for seeding of UID/Aadhaar with any scheme or project.

It is instructive to observe that Election Commission of India is the only agency that has complied with the Supreme Court’s orders in letter and spirit. There is a compelling logic for the Court to consider passing an order to follow the order of the Election Commission as a template should. The Commission revised its order dated February 27, 2015 on August 13, 2015. Its revised order reads: “All further activities relating to collection/feeding/seeding of Aadhaar Number being undertaken currently under NERPAP shall be suspended with immediate effect till further directions from the Commission. In other words, henceforth no more collection of Aadhaar Numbers from electors or feeding/seeding of collected Aadhaar data shall be done by any election authority or officials connected with the NERPAP.”  NERPAP stands for National Electoral Rolls Purification & Authentication Programme. The revised order is available athttp://eci.nic.in/eci_main1/Current/NERPAP-AADHAAR_14082015.pdf

The list of notifications and circulars issued by the UIDAI (https://www.uidai.gov.in/beta/legal-framework/acts/notifications.html andhttps://www.uidai.gov.in/beta/legal-framework/acts/circulars.html) indicate that there were no steps taken to strictly follow all the earlier orders passed by this Court commencing from September 23, 2013.

The application programming interfaces (API) Aadhaar authentication usage from (https://uidai.gov.in/images/FrontPageUpdates/aadhaar_authentication_api_1_6.pdf), copy of the web page http://jeemain.nic.in/webinfo/Public/Home.aspx and the UIDAI press release of 29.11.2016 indicates they have directed regional centres to enrol Joint Entrance Examination aspirants on priority. This is discriminatory and vindicates the apprehensions expressed by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in its submission before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance that had examined and trashed the Aadhaar Bill 2010.

The Aadhaar authentication description (https://uidai.gov.in/images/authentication/d2_authentication_framework_v1.pdf page 4) ignores modification of its authentication framework and consequently the forms/circulars/likes/API so as to not compulsorily require the Aadhaar number. A copy of the UIDAI events webpage https://www.uidai.gov.in/beta/media-center/aadhaar-in-news/events-workshops.html that indicates that the UIDAI is running Sensitization Workshop on Aadhaar Seeding and Authentication Services every fortnight. A circular K-11022/188/2015-UIDAI(Auth-II) that also indicates that the UIDAI has not restricted its activities to those permitted by the Court.

The UIDAI webpage for its advertisements (https://www.uidai.gov.in/beta/media-center/media/advertisement.html) that clearly ignores indicates that it has ignored the requirement to give wide publicity in the electronic and print media including radio and television networks that it is not mandatory for a citizen to obtain an UID/Aadhaar Number.

The Aadhaar authentication description (https://uidai.gov.in/images/authentication/d2_authentication_framework_v1.pdf page 4) that has ignored modification of its authentication processes and APIs so that Aadhaar identification cannot be insisted upon by the various authorities. The URL athttps://www.uidai.gov.in/beta/authentication/aadhaar-financial-inclusion/aadhaar-seeding.html shows UIDAI has undertaken multiple activities to ensure Aadhaar seeding in facilitated in various scheme databases.

The Introduction to Aadhaar Authentication from its Authentication API (https://uidai.gov.in/images/FrontPageUpdates/aadhaar_authentication_api_1_6.pdfpage 3) show that ignores any modification of its authentication API or KYC frameworks so that the production of an UID/Aadhaar Number will not be condition for obtaining any benefits otherwise due to a citizen.

The operation model overview for the Aadhaar authentication (https://www.uidai.gov.in/beta/authentication/authentication/operation-model.html) that continues to ignore altering its authentication and KYC services to ensure that the Aadhaar card Scheme remains purely voluntary and it cannot be made mandatory.

The API Aadhaar authentication usage from  (https://uidai.gov.in/images/FrontPageUpdates/aadhaar_authentication_api_1_6.pdf) that have not been modified to restrict the access of the authentication and KYC services. A copy of the list of live Authenticated User Agencies (AUA), Authentication Service Agencies (ASA), e-KYC User Agencies (KUA) indicates that hundreds of private parties have been allowed by the UIDAI to access the Aadhaar number and associated data thus not restricting the use of the Aadhaar number. UIDAI web page https://www.uidai.gov.in/beta/authentication/aadhaar-financial-inclusion/aadhaar-as-financial-address.html shows that UID/Aadhaar Number is being promoted as a financial address. The UIDAI web page https://www.uidai.gov.in/beta/authentication/aadhaar-financial-inclusion/aadhaar-authentication-for-financial-transactions.html promotes Aadhaar authentication for financial transactions to promote electronic payments.

A Press Note titled 10 crore Aadhaars linked to Bank Accounts issued by the UIDAI indicates that they have not restricted the use of the UID/Aadhaar Number. One spreadsheet on the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)’s website highlights that the UIDAI has been providing authentication and KYC services to the National Payments Corporation of India, a non government company for various banking services including:

  1. APBS Credit (Disbursement based on UIDAI No.) including ACH Debit, ACH  Credit, NACH Credit and NACH Debit.
  2. CTS Cheque Clearing

iii.                IMPS

  1. RuPay Card usage at (POS)
  2. RuPay Card usage at (eCom)
  3. AEPS (Inter Bank) Txn over Micro ATM (e.g. Cash withdrawal/ Cash Deposit)

vii.              AEPS (Inter Bank) Txn over Micro ATM (e.g. Balance inquiry/ Mini statement etc.) including AEPS (Intra Bank) UIDAI Authentication over Micro ATM, eKYC Verification (Successful Txn) and Demographic Queries(Authenticated UID)

viii.            Account No. Verification Service under ACH including Old Account Confirmation (OAC) service under ACH, Customer NACH (Earlier ECS) Mandate Processed, Aadhar Mapper Enabled Services (AMES), Aadhar Status Verification Services, Aadhaar OverDraft Verification Service (AOVS), Aadhaar Seeding Queries

The operation model overview for the Aadhaar authentication (https://www.uidai.gov.in/beta/authentication/authentication/operation-model.html) indicates that there is no provision to verify the written consent of any person to share biometric information.

It may be noted that UID/Aadhaar Number and related schemes are presently under challenge before the Supreme Court of India vide a batch of petitions led by W.P (C) 494/2012 and the Court after hearing the parties has passed a series of interim orders starting the 23rd September 2013 and the last of which was passed on 15.10.2015 which, inter alia, states as follows.

“4.We impress upon the Union of India that it shall strictly follow all the earlier orders passed by this Court commencing from 23.09.2013.

  1. We will also make it clear that the Aadhaar card Scheme is purely voluntary and it cannot be made mandatory till the matter is finally decided by this Court one way or the other.”

It is noteworthy that in the related case the Supreme Court in SLP (CRl) 2524/2014, Unique Identification Authority of India Vs CBI passed an order dated 24.3.2014 which reads as follows:
“More so, no person shall be deprived of any service for want of Aadhaar number in case he/she is otherwise eligible/entitled. All the authorities are directed to modify their forms/circulars/likes so as to not compulsorily require the Aadhaar number in order to meet the requirement of the interim order passed by this Court forthwith. Tag and list the matter with main mater i.e. WP (C) No. 494/2012.”

It is eminently clear that all the orders of Supreme Court are still in force as per Court’s order of October 15, 2015 and they will remain in force till the time Court itself does not waive them. The Court’s order makes it clear that UID/Aadhaar Number remains voluntary.

It must be noted that whenever circulars and letters of central and state government agencies been challenged and contested they have consistently withdrawn their circulars and letters. University Grants Commission (UGC), Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India has “clarified that any student who have applied or wishing to apply for scholarship/fellowship shall not be denied benefit thereof due to non availability of Aadhaar No./Card.”  The revised PUBLIC  NOTICE dated September 14, 2016 is available  at http://www.ugc.ac.in/pdfnews/7057426_UGC-Clarification-reg-AADHAAR-14.09.2016.pdf

It must also be noted that responding to the direction issued to the Union of India and Union Territory of Chandigarh by Punjab and Haryana High Court in the matter of Civil Writ Petition 569 of 2013 filed in the High Court against Union of India and others, the Executive Order for making Unique Identification (UID)/Aadhaar has been withdrawn. In its order the bench of Justice A K Sikri, Chief Justice and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain dated February 19, 2013 had not noted that the petition “raises a pure question of law.” Since the Executive Order was withdrawn, the case too was disposed of March 2, 2013 with a two page order. The Court had observed, “In this writ petition filed as PIL, the petitioner has challenged the vires of notification issued by Union of India for making it compulsory to have UID Cards.”

 

In view of the Court’s orders, the relevant facts regarding UID/Aadhaar Number are as under:

1.          UID/Aadhaar cannot be made compulsory because of orders of Supreme Court even after ‘coming into force’ of Aadhaar Act, 2016

2.         Passage of the Act by Parliament does not automatically imply that any agency can make UID/Aadhaar compulsory disregarding Court’s orders.

3.         Even after notification of ‘coming into force’ of Aadhaar Act, 2016, UID/Aadhaar, it cannot be made compulsory unless Supreme Court waives its order on request from the Union of India.

Therefore, no one can be asked to produce UID/Aadhaar Number for Government subsidies/Scholarships/Fellowships and for Attendance. Given the fact that the order of Court dated September 14, 2016 was passed after the enactment of Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, it becomes crystal clear that Court’s order is the law which is in force.

This revised order of the Election Commission is a model order. It demonstrates how to comply with Court’s order in letter and spirit. All the 639 organisations who are implementing Aadhaar related schemes and systems are under a legal obligation to issue similar orders.

It is unbecoming of a government to be proven repeatedly wrong in the highest court of law. It signals illegitimate advances of the State which does not wish to be limited by Constitution of India. Supreme Court’s September 2016 order refers to the order of the Chief Justice of India headed 5-Judge Constitution Bench dated October 15, 2015 that keeps UID/Aadhaar Number voluntary since September 2013.
For Details: Gopal Krishna, Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL), Mb: 9818089660, 8227816731. CFCL has been campaigning against surveillance technologies since 2010. CFCL had appeared before the Parliamentary Standing on Finance that examined and trashed the Aadhaar Bill, 2010.

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Usha Ramanathan- #Aadhaar is an attempt to turn everyone into a customer #mustshare

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Questioning the “Phenomenal Success” of Aadhaar-linked Direct Benefit Transfers for LPG

 

The Aadhaar-linked Direct Benefit Transfer scheme for reducing leakages in Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) subsidies has been widely advertised as a phenomenal success and has been used to promote Aadhaar and DBT in other spheres by prominent government officials. However, analyses of various studies and data shows that the government’s tall claims of savings cannot be confirmed and leaves much to be questioned.

I am grateful to George Siddharth, Prabhat Barnwal and Kieran Clarke for taking time to discuss their research and answer my various questions. I would also like to thank Jean Drèze, Reetika Khera, Sanjay Reddy, Stephan Klasen, R Ramakumar, Soham Sahoo and Pooja Balasubramanian for commenting on a draft version of this article.

 

Since the 1991 reforms, one of the major objectives of the government’s economic policy has been to rationalise and reduce the expenditure on subsidies. According to the Economic Survey 2015–16, the Indian government spent 4.2% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on subsidies, which it intends to reduce to 1%. This is being done by eliminating certain subsidies, reducing the scope and extent of some, targeting to a narrower population and reducing leakages through better administration. Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), or the transfer of subsidies directly to the beneficiary bank accounts, along with using Aadhaar/Unique ID as the identification proof, has been promoted as the silver bullet to reduce leakages in subsidy administration.

 

The Aadhaar-linked DBT scheme for reducing leakages in liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) subsidies is the first full-scale cash transfer programme via DBT. The flagship program has been widely advertised as a phenomenal success and has been used to promote Aadhaar and DBT in other spheres by various prominent members of the government (Panagariya 2016).

 

However, the limited evidence of potential savings in LPG does not match these tall claims and leaves several questions unanswered about the extent and mechanism of savings through DBT. Even if reduction in leakages in LPG subsidies turns out to be substantial, the government should be especially careful about extrapolating this impact to other subsidy programmes like the Public Distribution System (PDS) and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). The context and use of DBT differ significantly across different programs for the “success” to carry over.

 

LPG usage is mostly urban, is centrally administered by a few companies through  a fully computerised list of beneficiaries and does not need biometric verification; which makes it more conducive for DBT. On the other hand, PDS and MGNREGA are more rural-based, managed through multiple agencies with only partial computerisation of user lists and need repeated biometric verification, making the use of DBT far more challenging. The Economic Survey 2015-16 acknowledges some of these issues, but the government has begun the process of extending DBT to kerosene subsidy and PDS without due diligence.

 

In recent months there has been a vigorous debate on the impact of DBT for LPG (George and Subramanian 2016). The debate is a welcome step, but most analyses have left critical questions unanswered, and the widely quoted estimates of savings do not stand to scrutiny. The estimates of the potential impact vary: from an estimated 24% reduction in subsidies by the Economic Survey to that of less than 3% according to the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).

 

A recent audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) of the PAHAL–Direct Benefits Transfer for LPG (DBTL) scheme concludes that more than 90% of decline in subsidies can be accounted for by the fall of crude prices and only ₹1,763 crore out of the total reduction of ₹23,316 crore was due to reduced offtake of cylinders by consumers. To be certain about the level of impact and “phenomenal success” of DBTL and to extend it to other spheres, more research and analysis is needed, along with a transparency in data and methods used.

 

Evaluating Aadhaar-linked LPG

 

Over the last few years, subsidies on diesel and petrol have been gradually eliminated, but LPG still remains heavily subsidised. The Economic Survey estimates that the effective subsidy rate on LPG is 86%. According to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG), the government provided an average subsidy of ₹173 per cylinder in the first six months of 2015–16 (April–September 2015) totaling approximately $1.4 billion.

 

Differential pricing across sectors leads to leakages as well. In India, public sector oil marketing companies sell LPG to households and to the commercial sector through a distributor network. Commercial establishments and households consuming more than 12 cylinders in a year have to buy LPG at unsubsidised prices. Commercial establishments have to additionally pay central and state taxes of about 25%–30% on an average. Because different prices exist for the same product, dealers create ghost LPG accounts and divert subsidised LPG cylinders into the black market which are then sold to commercial establishments.

 

The belief behind Aadhaar-linked DBT is that technology can help states with low administrative capacity to efficiently curb diversion of subsidy. In the DBT scheme, consumers have to register their Aadhaar-linked bank accounts with their LPG distributor. Consumers pay the full cost of LPG to the distributor and the subsidy is transferred directly to their bank accounts (supposedly, before the next refill). This does not restrict or target the subsidy, but only changes the mechanism through which subsidy is delivered to the end user.

 

Having an Aadhaar-linked bank account is mandatory to access this subsidy. The idea is that this change increases the chances of identifying and eliminating ghost or duplicate LPG accounts.

 

The few studies investigating the effectiveness of DBT for LPG have reached contradictory conclusions and do not clarify important issues. The Economic Survey 2015-16 claims that DBT was responsible for reducing LPG subsidy by 24%, while a study by Prabhat Barnwal (2015) found a more modest impact of 11%–14%. Both these studies evaluate the DBT scheme introduced (and abruptly terminated) by the United Progressive Alliance government from September 2013 to February 2014 by comparing the change in usage of LPG in DBT districts with the change in usage in non-DBT districts.

 

Based on publically available data, the IISD’s policy briefs claims that the savings for 2015-16 would be ₹120 crore against the ₹14,672 crore estimate mentioned by the finance minister in Parliament (Clarke 2016). These claims have been reported extensively in both national and international media and used as a justification to extend Aadhaar and DBT to other spheres. However, none of these studies help in bringing clarity to the extent and mechanism of savings, leading to unreasonable extrapolation in the political narrative and in the media.

 

This article aims to bring clarity to the debate by raising questions that are critical to understanding the true impact of DBT on subsidy reduction but which have been insufficiently addressed. After having reviewed all publicly available research and data about the Aadhaar-based DBT scheme, and having communicated with several researchers with different viewpoints on the debate, four major questions surface:

1. Is the recorded impact of Aadhaar-linked DBT due to elimination of ghost accounts or is it because of exclusion of genuine beneficiaries?

 

Exclusion errors could be an important driver of reduction in subsidised LPG usage. For a household to benefit from LPG subsidy under the DBT scheme, they have to open a bank account, link it with their Aadhaar number and register the same with the LPG distributor. In the initial few months after DBT was made mandatory, some genuine households might have not been able to complete the requirements and thus would have been excluded from receiving LPG subsidy.

Both Barnwal (2015) and the Economic Survey find a sharp drop in subsidised LPG sales in the first month after the enforcement of DBT. This fall recovered substantially over the next few months, possibly as exclusion errors declined over time. Barnwal finds that even after DBT was made compulsory, not all genuine households were initially enrolled in the programme. For six months after the start of the programme, about 20% of households complied with DBT requirements.

 

However, none of these studies quantify the extent of exclusion errors or account for them, without which the true impact of DBT is uncertain. Both Barnwal (2015) and the Economic Survey argue that exclusion errors do not play a big role in the estimates. They argue that households which do not comply with LPG requirements are likely to be rich households or ghost accounts. But this does not quantify the extent of exclusion errors which are bound to exist in a new scheme, especially in the first few months (George and Subramanian 2016).

 

The claims of no significant exclusion would have been more convincing if the studies provided results which excluded the first few months of data from the analysis—assuming that exclusion is resolved after few months in most cases. Exclusion errors will invariably lead to overestimation of the impact of DBT, and like in other impact evaluation studies, additional parallel household surveys would have helped ascertain the extent of these errors.

 

Without getting a handle on the exclusion errors, it remains unclear whether the reduction in subsidised LPG consumption is due to genuine households being left out or because of elimination of ghost accounts.

2. How much does Aadhaar contribute in reducing subsidy in the DBT programme?

 

Present analyses of the impact of DBT do not examine the individual effect of each of its mandatory components—the bank account and the Aadhaar requirement—which would help in identifying the mechanisms of impact. Most of the impact could have potentially come only by transferring the subsidy to a non-Aadhaar linked bank account, as it would help in identifying ghost accounts.

 

Dealers can create ghost accounts and divert LPG cylinders to the black market relatively easily when LPG is provided to households directly at a subsidised price. Introducing the requirement of bank accounts separates the subsidy transfer task from the dealer and hence they cannot directly create ghost accounts. The process of creating ghost accounts now involves a separate set of actors. LPG dealers can still collude with bank employees on the matter of verifying identity, create ghost bank accounts, and then pocket the subsidy.

 

Aadhaar might be useful in preventing the latter, but Aadhaar itself is not ghost proof. Two individuals living at the same household address with different Aadhaar numbers can collude with the dealer or the delivery person to create one genuine and one ghost LPG account. Aadhaar is not helpful in identifying this type of a fraud. None of the studies mentioned above attempt to decipher the separate impact of bank accounts and Aadhaar.

 

Identifying the separate impact of bank accounts and Aadhaar is important because the usage of Aadhaar raises other concerns that should be evaluated against its benefits before beginning its widespread usage. These include loss of privacy, increased risk of government surveillance and security risks. While aspects of privacy and surveillance regarding Aadhaar have been discussed in depth (Ramkumar 2010; Drèze 2016), the security risks have received lesser attention.

 

Storing and providing biometric authentication services for over a billion people through a centralised agency increases the risks of malicious hacker attacks. A single successful hack might lead to the theft of the identity information, as shown by several recent international attacks (Khandelwal 2015).

 

The recent version of DBT introduced by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, called PAHAL, does not make Aadhaar mandatory for subsidy transfer to bank accounts. Studies could include an analysis of the impact of DBT in districts with varying levels of penetration of Aadhaar to help ascertain the marginal effectiveness of using Aadhaar in the DBT scheme.

 

3. Why do the estimates for savings differ vastly across studies?

 

The estimates of savings vary substantially across studies and the methodology is not always transparent. Barnwal (2015) and the Economic Survey use similar methodology and data to estimate the impact of Aadhaarlinked DBT on subsidy reduction, but report different levels of savings. Barnwal (2015) estimates a reduction of 11%–14% in domestic subsidised cylinder usage using individual transaction-level data and about 13%–17% using aggregated distributor-level data. The Economic Survey reports a reduction of 24%.

 

These are substantial differences as it would translate into potential savings between ₹5,820 and ₹9,000 crore using Barnwal’s estimates as opposed to ₹12,700 crore as reported in the Economic Survey. It is difficult to ascertain the exact reason for the differences as the data, method and regression used for the Economic Survey estimates are not reported. One of the potential reasons for the discrepancy might be different sources of data , but the discrepancy is too large to be completely accounted for by this alone. The picture would have been clearer if the authors of the Economic Survey had released a working paper detailing the exact data, method and regressions used in the analysis.

 

In contrast to other studies, the IISD estimates almost no savings from Aadhaar and raises several pertinent issues, but their analysis is not directly comparable with the other studies. IISD claims that in the fiscal year of 2015-16, the maximum savings possible due to Aadhaar would only be ₹121 crore while duplicate accounts found due to Aadhaar will be 1%. This is based on data on the number of ghost accounts identified and quarterly LPG subsidy data released by the MoPNG. They attribute a substantial reduction in the number of ghost LPG connections to a simple list-based de-duplication exercise carried out by the public sector oil companies.

Based on government-submitted affidavits to the Supreme Court, IISD notes that the number of ghost LPG accounts is less than 2%. But IISD’s analysis cannot be compared with other analyses, since they only use aggregate data and do not use beneficiary- or distributor-level data. Aggregate data might be impacted due to various trends that are difficult to separate. Nonetheless, IISD’s analysis does raise key issues that have not been addressed fully.

 

4. If diversion is reduced, why have sales to the commercial sector not increased?

 

Change in subsidised LPG usage in the domestic sector because of reduced leakages should be matched, at least partially, by an increase in commercial sales. This is not observed, raising further questions about the impact of DBT. The Aadhaar-linked DBT programme claims to reduce leakages in subsidised LPG cylinders, which were earlier diverted to the black market and sold to commercial establishments. The reduction in supply of diverted LPG would lead to increase in prices in the black market and some decrease in demand in the commercial sector. But at least part of the decline in leaked cylinders has to be compensated by an increase in commercial sales by the distributors. But over the period of the programme, Barnwal (2015) finds no substantial change in commercial sales, and the Economic Survey finds an increase of only 6% of commercial sales, as opposed to a decrease of 24% in domestic sales.

 

This discrepancy has been explained by suggesting that stockpiling might have taken place before the start of the DBT scheme. However, the months preceding the policy do not show any evidence of increase in sales of subsidised cylinders. Another possibility suggested by the Economic Survey is that sales of non-subsidised cylinders to the domestic sector have increased. But this claim would have been more convincing if the Economic Survey had provided evidence to support it. In addition, on abrupt termination of the policy, Barnwal (2014) finds an increase of domestic sales by 6%–7.5% and decline in commercial sales of 6%–9%. These numbers suggest that rather than the 24% subsidy reduction put forth by the Economic Survey, the actual impact might be closer to one-fourth of that (6% or so).

 

Aggregate data from the MoPNG also raises questions on the extent of impact of DBT. The share of domestic consumption in total LPG consumption in the first six months of 2014–15 and 2015–16 (before and after DBT–PAHAL) remains relatively stable, having changed from 89% to 88%. If DBT was successful in reducing ghost accounts by a quarter, the share of domestic consumption should go down substantially and share of commercial consumption should have increased. It is only if the domestic sector grew at a far higher rate than the commercial sector would it be possible to negate all the decrease in consumption, which might happen partially but not completely. Other Mechanisms to Reduce LPG Subsidy There are several other ways of targeting and reducing the regressive LPG subsidy , which might be administratively easier and less controversial. A proposal which was partly implemented and then withdrawn by the previous government of capping the number of subsidised cylinders is one option. Fifty percent of households use only seven or fewer subsidised cylinders every year (Lahoti, Suchitra and Goutam 2012). Currently, households can receive subsidy on up to 12 cylinders per year. This cap on the number of cylinders could be gradually reduced to 6–7 cylinders, which will go a long way in reducing the subsidy and its regressive nature (similar to the phased elimination of the diesel subsidy).

 

In addition to reducing leakages because of the reduction of the number of cylinders which can be diverted after genuine usage, this option would lead to efficiency, as overall usage would reduce when consumers have to pay the full price after the lowered cap is breached. Unfortunately, even though this option is the easiest to administratively implement, it has not got much political traction.

 

Another way to reduce the cost of LPG subsidy is to exclude high-income earners from the LPG subsidy scheme. The government has introduced the “give-it-up” campaign, where people voluntarily decide to give up LPG subsidy. Only 7% (1 crore households among 15.34 crore LPG connections) have voluntarily given up the subsidy, even though most LPG subsidy beneficaries belong to the top 20% of society. Instead of keeping it voluntary, the government should make it compulsory for people above a certain income threshold. A recent step in this direction is the initiative to identify households with income greater than ₹10 lakh and exclude them from the LPG subsidy. This limit could be lowered over time.

 

One additional step is to reduce or eliminate the tax differential between commercial LPG and non-subsidised domestic cylinders, which currently averages 25%–30% . This will reduce any diversion of non-subsidised domestic cylinders to the commercial sector.

 

Conclusion

Studies evaluating the DBT scheme are useful and important. Given the limitations of data and methods, these few studies cannot conclusively provide answers to all relevant questions. Nonetheless, the current sets of estimates are shaky and leave several questions unanswered, preventing any certainty about the extent and mechanism of the impact of the DBT programme. The level of exclusion errors, marginal impact of Aadhaar in DBT, and various inconsistencies in the results need to be addressed before celebrating the “success” of DBT for LPG. The government should be cautious while extrapolating the uncertain results of DBT in LPG and introducing Aadhaar requirement or even DBT to other schemes.

 

 

References

Barnwal, Prabhat (2016): “Curbing Leakage in Public Programs with Biometric Identification Systems: Evidence from India’s Fuel Subsidies,” Job Market Paper.

Clarke, Kieran (2016): “Estimating the Impact of India’s Aadhaar Scheme on LPG Subsidy Expenditure,” International Institute of Sustainable Development, 16 March, https://www.iisd.org/gsi/news/estimating-impact-indias-aadhaar-scheme-lp… .

Comptroller and Auditor General of India (2016): “Implementation of PAHAL (DBTL) Scheme,” Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India, http://www.cag.gov.in/sites/default/files/audit_report_files/Union_Comme… .

Drèze, Jean (2016): “The Aadhaar Coup”, Hindu, 15 March, http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/jean-dreze-on-aadhaar-mass-surveill… .

George, Siddharth and Arvind Subramanian (2016): “Clearing the Air on LPG”, Indian Express, 2 April, http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/clearing-the-air-on-lpg… .

Khandelwal, Swati (2015): “Hacker Finds a Simple Way to Fool IRIS Biometric Security System,” Hacker News, 6 March, http://thehackernews.com/2015/03/iris-biometric-security-bypass.html .

Khera, Reetika (2011): “The UID Project and Welfare Schemes,” Economic & Political Weekly, Vol 46, No 9, pp 38-44, http://www.epw.in/journal/2011/09/perspectives/uid-project-and-welfare-s…

Lahoti, Rahul, J Y Suchitra, and Prodyumna Goutam (2012): “Subsidies for Whom: The Case of LPG in India,” Economic and Political Weekly, Vol 47, No 44, pp 16–18, http://www.epw.in/journal/2012/44/commentary/subsidies-whom.html

Misra, Udit (2016): “LPG subsidy transfer: Centre’s savings not more than Rs 143 cr, while it claims Rs 12,700 cr,” Indian Express, http://indianexpress.com/article/business/business-others/lpg-subsidy-tr… .

Ramakumar, R (2010): “The Unique ID Project in India: A Skeptical Note,” Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Ajay Kumar and David Zhang (ed), Springer: Berlin, pp 153–167 .

Panagariya, Arvind (2016): “Taking Stock, Two Years on,” Hindu, 23 May, http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/social-programs-under-2-years-rule-… .

– See more at: http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/52/web-exclusives/questioning-%E2%80%9Cphenomenal-success%E2%80%9D-aadhaar-linked-direct-benefit#sthash.39M6OzVu.dpuf

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Rahul Lahoti ([email protected]) is a doctoral student at the University of Goettingen, Germany.

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India – First Indian to get #Aadhaar card & her Maha village are truly `cashless’

 

Tembhli (Nandurbar):
It’s 2.30pm and after hectic hunting for work all morning, Ranjana Sonawane, a daily wage worker, has returned to her hut. She lights a chulha to prepare a quick meal for her family, and within a few seconds, is enveloped in the smoke billowing out. In her ramshackle home, there is no cooking gas, no toilet and no electricity . And after demonetisation, she can’t find work and has no money .But she has a unique identity. She is the first Indian to get an Aadhaar card, which was meant to help her and others like her get better access to government schemes and facilities like banking and insurance.

“I am finding it difficult to survive,“ says Ranjana, who doubles up as a daily wager and sells toys at village fairs.“Getting work has become ve ry difficult because farmers say they are not getting cash from banks and, can’t give us work and wages. I wanted to go to the Sarangkheda fair to set up a toy shop, but couldn’t because I have no money to travel,“ she says.

Ask Ranjana about the Modi government‘s cashless economy plan, and she says with a grin, “We are already cashless. See our empty bank passbooks. We don’t have cash. The government can declare Tembhli the first cashless village. The previous government made us the first Aadhaar village.“

No one from this village queued up to deposit demonetised currency notes in the nearest banks in Shahada town, about 10km away-they didn’t have Rs 500 or Rs 1,000 notes to exchange or deposit. Most transactions here take place in small denominations of Rs 50 and Rs 100. Wiping off the dust on a laminated frame with her pallu, she shows us the photograph that was taken when Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh descended on the village in 2010 to launch the Aadhaar project.

“In 2010, netas handed over the Aadhaar card to me and other villagers, clicked photos and went away . Nobody has even bothered to ask us what happened after that. My electricity meter was taken away and the bank account connected to Aadhaar remains empty .I’ve not got any subsidy deposited in my account till date. The previous government gave this useless Aadhaar card and this government has taken away our roji roti (work) by scrapping currency notes.“

The government had chosen Tembhli in Nandurbar district in north Maharashtra, about 400km from Mumbai, to launch the Aadhaar project because Sonia Gandhi had held one of her first public rallies af ter joining politics in Nandurbar in 1998. It was a moment of glory but one which constantly reminds Tembhli of unfulfilled promises. “The government then (UPA) built a concrete road overnight while this government has scrapped currency notes in a single day . The road has developed cracks because it was a hasty decision. I hope demonetisation doesn’t meet the fate of this road,“ says Azad Thakre, pointing at the crumbling road.

Intervening in the conversation, zilla parishad teacher Nana Koli introduces Azad as the village deputy sarpanch.Azad unsuccessfully tries to cover up his muddy , torn shirt by draping a towel over his shoulders. After another futile attempt, he removes the towel and ties it around his waist. Azad himself has remained without daily wages for days and wants to meet CM Devendra Fadnavis to tell him about the woes of the locals.

As some villagers gather in a lane where water is overflowing from an open drain on to the road, others peep through the crevices of grass huts. Panchayat member Vimlabai Marathe rummages through a wooden cupboard in her hut and comes out flashing her Bank of India passbook.

Ask her if she has stood in a bank queue to withdraw money, and she shows us the empty columns in her passbook: “We work and earn on a daily basis.What will we deposit in banks.“

The village predominantly comprises Bhil tribals, many of whom work as farm labour.They travel to nearby towns in Gujarat as daily wage workers when it’s time for sowing or harvesting though nowadays there is little demand for workers on farms.

Vishal Pawar, sitting in his dingy grocery shop, says everyone is purchasing on credit.“But I am a small shopkeeper and even I need money to buy material,“ he says. Vishal is in the dark about mobile banking and online or card payments.

Tembhli’s villagers do not fully understand demonetisation and are upset that it’s affected their lives, but they have heard that the government has done this for the poor. “The Modi government has scrapped big currency notes to punish the rich. Modi will collect black money from them and use that for the poor. The Prime Minister must start this scheme from our village, rather from me,“ says Ranjana.

“There is no harm in being hopeful. It is hope that keeps us going,“ she says, adding she has a dream to live in a concrete house with electricity , gas and toilets, and wants to open a small cutlery shop.

source- TOI http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/

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Legal notice to CEO @UIDAI for Contempt of Rule of Law & SC orders – Maj Gen S.G.Vombatkere #Aadhaar


Dr. A.B.Pandey Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Unique Identification Authority of India -UIDAI 3rd Floor, Tower II, Jeevan Bharati Building, Connaught Circus, New Delhi – 110001 Advance copy by e-mail to: <[email protected]>; <[email protected]>; <[email protected]>;

Subject: Contempt of Rule of Law and the orders of the Supreme Court of India

Sir, Kindly treat this as Notice issued to you by a citizen of India. I am deeply perturbed that you have been continuing to service authentication and KYC requests for UID numbers and provide associated data for purposes beyond that approved by the Supreme Court of India. This is unbelievable disrespect of the rule of law and of the repeated orders of the Supreme Court of India, by a public servant.

Your acts of commission and omission in this respect are resulting in coercing children, the elderly and others alike, to be obliged to enrol for a UID number against their free will.Your actions also constitute an illegal functional creep that cannot be morally or legally justified.

Your actions create a fait accompli before the Hon’ble Supreme Court finally decides on the matter and, since they violate the constitutional promises of justice, liberty and equality, are unconstitutional and illegal. May I draw your attention to the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s order of 8 August 2015 restricting the use of Aadhaar to PDS Scheme, distribution of foodgrains, and cooking fuel such as kerosene and LPG? This was extended to allow its use for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), National Social Assistance Programme (Old Age Pensions, Widow Pensions, Disability Pensions), Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), in its orders of 16 October 2016.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court also stated that the information about an individual obtained by the Unique Identification Authority of India while issuing an Aadhaar card, shall not be used for any other purpose. The use of the UID number/Aadhaar or information associated with it for any purposes other than that allowed by the Court as well as it being mandated for any purposes not allowed by the Court, is a contempt of the rule of law and the orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.
In view of the foregoing, and particularly in view of your position as a senior public servant, and on pain of being proceeded against in a court of law, I hereby require that you: 1. Immediately cease providing any authentication and/or KYC or support and use of the UID number for purposes other than those permitted by the Supreme Court of India.
2. Cease to provide any UID authentication or KYC to any organisation mandating the use of UID number for the permitted purposes.
3. Issue notifications and wide publicity in the electronic and print media including radio and television networks, as required by the orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court dated 16 August 2016, to make it clear that you will not
A. Provide authentication and KYC services beyond those permitted by the Supreme Court, or B. Cause or allow any agencies to cause anyone to require registering for an UID number, or C. Allow anyone to suffer for want of it and that UID number.
I shall expect that you will inform your compliance of the orders within 7 days of receipt of this letter, publish widely your decision to abide by the orders of the Supreme Court, and not constrain me to seek other remedies and relief for your failure to respect the rule of law.
Yours faithfully,
Maj Gen S.G.Vombatkere

 

From:
Maj Gen S.G.Vombatkere 475, 7th Main Road Vijayanagar 1st Stage Mysuru-570017

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Resisting violations of the Supreme Court Orders on Aadhaar #UIDContempt

The Supreme Court of India has time and again restricted use of unique identification (UID) number or Aadhaar to public distribution system (PDS) Scheme, the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) distribution scheme, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), National Social Assistance Programme (Old Age Pensions, Widow Pensions, Disability Pensions), Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO).  The Supreme Court has repeatedly emphasised that the UID number where permitted “is purely voluntary and it cannot be made mandatory till the matter is finally decided by the Court one way or the other“. The apex court emphasised that “The information about an individual obtained by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) while issuing an Aadhaar card shall not be used for any other purpose, save as above”.
The Union of India was also required to “give wide publicity in the electronic and print media including radio and television networks that it is not mandatory for a citizen to obtain an Aadhaar card”.
In practice, in blatant contempt of the Courts orders and complete disrespect for the of the Rule of Law various government and non-government agencies have been using the UID number for functions beyond those permitted as also mandating the UID in some of the functions. Information of individuals obtained by the UIDAI has been shared beyond the purposes allowed by the Supreme Court. The government has failed to even issue notifications to its departments or to the UIDAI to cease all use of the UID number beyond that permitted by the Supreme Court.
As a consequence of the government’s coercion and disrespect of respect the Rule of Law, helpless citizens are being made to suffer for not using a UID number. Many with a UID number are being made to suffer if their biometric fails or if their number has already been used by unknown persons.
At least a dozen petitions, including several contempt petitions remain unheard by the Supreme Court.
What can helpless citizens do?
Here is a draft notice of contempt along with copies of the relevant orders of the Supreme Court that should be served to each agency in contempt of the orders of the Supreme Court after editing as required.
Name/Address of concerned authority that is forcing for an Aadhaar number
Dear Sir/Madam,
Subject: Contempt of Rule of Law and the orders of the Supreme Court of India
We are shocked that you have been continuing to require and use the UID number and associated data for purposes beyond that approved by the Supreme Court of India. We are also disturbed that you are mandating the requirement of the UID number. This is an unbelievable disrespect of the rule of law and of the repeated orders of the Supreme Court of India. 
Your actions have also resulted in coercing children, elderly and others alike to have to register for an UID number against their free will. Your actions also constitute an illegal functional creep that cannot be morally or legally justified. Your actions reek of creating a fait accompli before the court finally decides on the matter and hence does not uphold the promise of justice, liberty, equality or fraternity.
We draw your attention to the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s orders of 11 August 2015 restricting the use of Aadhaar to PDS Scheme, for the distribution of foodgrains, and cooking fuel, such as kerosene and LPG. This was extended to allow its use for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), National Social Assistance Programme (Old Age Pensions, Widow Pensions, Disability Pensions) Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) in its orders of 15 October 2015. The Court also stated that the information about an individual obtained by the Unique Identification Authority of India while issuing an Aadhaar card shall not be used for any other purpose. The use of the UID number/ Aadhaar or information associated with it for any purposes other than that allowed by the court as well as it being mandated for any purposes not allowed by the court is a contempt of the rule of law and the orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. 
We also draw your attention to the orders of 15 October 2015 where the Court reiterated that the UID number/Aadhaar card Scheme is purely voluntary and it cannot be made mandatory for the permitted uses till the matter is finally decided by this Court one way or the other. 
We require that you immediately cease to require the UID number as your usage does not fall into the allowed uses of the UID/ We require you to end the mandatory requirement for the UID number and make the procedures for those with or without the UID number identical.
We trust you will share your compliance of the orders within 7 days, publish widely your decision to abide by the orders of the Supreme Court and not cause us to seek other remedies and relief for your failure to respect the rule of law. 
Sincerely yours,
CC 
1. Shri Nripendra Mishra, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, 152, South Block, Raisina Hill, New Delhi-110011
3. President of India, Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi – 110 004 email: [email protected] 
4. Chief Justice of India, ℅ Chief Justice’s Conference Secretariat, Supreme Court of India, Tilak Marg, New Delhi-110 201
Here is a draft notice of contempt you should also send to the UIDAI along with copies of the relevant orders of the Supreme Court for contempt of the orders of the Supreme Court.
Dr AB Pandey
Chief Executive Officer (CEO),
Unique Identification Authority of India -UIDAI
3rd Floor, Tower II, Jeevan Bharati Building,
Connaught Circus,
New Delhi – 110001
Subject: Contempt of Rule of Law and the orders of the Supreme Court of India
We are shocked that you have been continuing to service authentication and KYC requests for UID numbers and provide associated data for purposes beyond that approved by the Supreme Court of India. This is an unbelievable disrespect of the rule of law and of the repeated orders of the Supreme Court of India. 
Your actions are resulting in coercing children, elderly and others alike to have to register for an UID number against their free will. Your actions also constitute an illegal functional creep that cannot be morally or legally justified. Your actions reek of creating a fait accompli before the court finally decides on the matter and hence does not uphold the promise of justice, liberty, equality or fraternity.
We draw your attention to the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s orders of 11 August 2015 restricting the use of Aadhaar to PDS Scheme, the distribution of foodgrains, and cooking fuel, such as kerosene and LPG. This was extended to allow its use for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), National Social Assistance Programme (Old Age Pensions, Widow Pensions, Disability Pensions) Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) in its orders of 15 October 2015. The Court also stated that the information about an individual obtained by the Unique Identification Authority of India while issuing an Aadhaar card shall not be used for any other purpose. The use of the UID number/Aadhaar or information associated with it for any purposes other than that allowed by the court as well as it being mandated for any purposes not allowed by the court is a contempt of the rule of law and the orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. 
We require that you:
1. Immediately cease providing any authentication and/or KYC or support and use of the UID number for purposes other than those permitted by the Supreme Court of India. 
2. Cease to provide any UID authentication or KYC to any organisation mandating the use of UID number for the permitted purposes. 
3. Issue notifications and wide publicity in the electronic and print media including radio and television networks, as required by the orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court dated August 16, 2016, to make it clear that you will not 
A. Provide authentication and KYC services beyond those permitted by the Supreme Court or 
B. Cause or allow any agencies to cause anyone to require registering for an UID number or 
C. Allow anyone to suffer for want of it and that UID number. 
We trust you will share your compliance of the orders within 7 days, publish widely your decision to abide by the orders of the Supreme Court and not cause us to seek other remedies and relief for your failure to respect the rule of law. 
Sincerely yours,
CC: 
1. Shri Nripendra Mishra, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, 152, South Block, Raisina Hill, New Delhi-110011
2. Chief Justice of India, ℅ Chief Justice’s Conference Secretariat, Supreme Court of India, Tilak Marg, New Delhi-110 201
3. You can tweet it to the CEO of UIDAI  @ceo_uidai
4. You can send emails to UIDAI’s DG [email protected] and  [email protected]
While there is talk about digitization, it is better if you can send these complaints through registered post. This will help you get an acknowledgement and you can also file an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act to know progress of your complaint.
Please ask others who face the same scene as you to complain. Do please tweet your complaints with #UIDContempt.

(Dr Anupam Saraph  is a Professor, Future Designer, former governance and IT advisor to Goa’s former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and the Global Agenda Councils of the World Economic Forum. He has designed delivery channels and ID schemes for good governance in his previous roles.)

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Citizens fear #Aadhaar details may be misuse

TNN | 

TALL CLAIMS: Small shops are seeking Aadhaar details, promising to give sites to citizens under the scheme .TALL CLAIMS: Small shops are seeking Aadhaar details, promising to give sites to citizens under the scheme .
The scene is replicated in Pai Lay out, east Bengaluru, where digital printing shops are filling up forms for Rs 150 along with photocopies of documents. “I heard from a neighbour last week about the scheme in which poor people will get free houses. I paid the money; the shopowner will do the rest for me. The corporator came there recently and asked them to shut these shops and divert the application filing to his office,” said a resident.

There’s a twist in the tale: the scheme authorizes only urban local bodies – in this case, it is the BBMP. Cash i s being taken from citizens while the scheme says filing of applications is free. There’s also the fear that the Aadhaar credentials will be misused by the agents to deposit some else’s black money or to open fake accounts. The yojna, also called House For All scheme, was launched on June 25, 2015. It aims to build 2 crore houses for the poor by 2022. It is to be executed in three phases starting with 100 cities .

“It’s impossible that BBMP would authorize shopowners to register or facilitate registration for a central government scheme. We have a mandate to build 40,000 houses for the urban poor in the BBMP limits for 2016-17 and 2017-18. This is being monitored at various levels under the MLA’s Urban Ashreya Samiti,” said N Manjunatha Prasad, BBMP commissioner.

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