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Aadhaar Bill 2016, Hopes and Concerns 

Basics of Aadhaar

Aadhaar is an ambitious project that seeks to provide unique identification numbers to each individual in a country, collecting demographic and biometric information in the process. Currently, UIDAI has issued over 98 crore Aadhaar numbers.

Need for Aadhaar: India must use technology in a transformational way to accelerate social and economic justice. It will help in expansion of opportunities for all at scale and speed.

What is the Aadhaar Bill?

Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016, has been passed by Parliament, to provide for efficient, transparent, and targeted delivery of subsidies, benefits and services.

It will enable the govt. to reset the subsidy regime and deliver state benefits directly to their intended beneficiaries, plugging leakages.

How Aadhar is linked with DBT?

India spends nearly Rs. 4 lakh crore on subsidies, in order to complement the political democracy with socio-economic democracy.

On January 1, 2013, the UPA govt launched the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme under which monetary benefits would be transferred directly to the beneficiaries through an Aadhaar-enabled platform.

The effort to channelize subsidies, benefits and services to through a 12-digit number or to say its biometric alternative can help plug the leakages in the subsidy framework and give a boost to the Jan Dhan Yojna, which remains closely aligned to this scheme.

Follow our story on Direct Benefits Transfer: The Big Reform.

Do read the Economic Survey chapter on JAM Trinity.

What are the concerns on Privacy front?

There are certain provisions in the Bill, that provide avenues for surveillance of citizens. A person’s Aadhaar number can become a standard data point in all business, banking and legal transactions. Our data systems are not secure and watertight. The people who maintain these systems are vulnerable to pressures and inducements.

  • The issue of privacy vs. security is a hot subject around the world, evident in the current controversy in Apple Inc.’s refusal to break the encryption on an iPhone as demanded by FBI
  • Sceptics argue that no other country, and certainly no democratic country, has ever held its own citizens hostage to such a powerful infrastructure of surveillance
  • Govt. accepts right to privacy as a valuable right, but questions it as a fundamental right
  • In 1954, a 8-judge bench of SC had ruled that right to privacy cannot be a fundamental right. But, some judgments post-1990 noted that right to privacy can be construed as fundamental right, subject to certain restrictions and circumstances

However, there are other concerns of exclusion, by denying the services to people who didn’t enroll for it or chose not to do it.

Safeguards

According to Nandan Nilekani, the Bill had incorporated several safeguards with regard to privacy as highlighted by the A.P. Shah Committee report, on privacy law.

There are other provisions in this Bill that seem to address the concern:

  • The unique numbers will not be considered as proof of citizenship
  • The Aadhar system ensures privacy through design, as it uses a federated architecture. In other words, as banking data is wholly inside the banking system, similarly, the biometric data is never shared by UIDAI
  • The core bio-metric information cannot be shared with any person even with the consent of the Aadhaar card holder. Even, the general information cannot be unlawfully shared
  • Only a Court of the District Judge or above has been given the power to order disclosure of information excluding core biometrics
  • National Security” is the only ground on which a Competent Authority can share this information. Every decision of the Competent Authority has to be reviewed by a Committee comprising of the Cabinet Secretary, the Law Secretary and the Secretary, Information Technology before it is given effect

What was Supreme Court’s stand on Aadhaar?

In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that Aadhaar could not be made mandatory to receive benefits. No one should be excluded from social welfare scheme, just because of a requirement of Aadhar.

In 2015, It also prohibited the sharing the Aadhaar information with any agency. The case was referred to a larger bench to decide the question whether Aadhaar infringed the right to privacy.

What is Aadhaar Bill versus Money Bill controversy?

According to experts, the Bill was not a money Bill under Article 110 of the Constitution because it did not “contain ONLY provisions” dealing with the matters enumerated in that Article. Various Constitutional experts have argued that the Speaker’s decision to certify it as a money Bill was also plainly wrong.

Do you want to know about Money Bill?

As per Article 110(1), a bill that contains only provisions dealing with the following qualifies as a money bill:

  1. The imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax
  2. Regulation of borrowing or the giving of any guarantee by the govt of India, or undertaking financial obligation by the government
  3. The custody of the Consolidated Fund of India or the Contingency Fund of India, the payment of moneys into or withdrawal from them
  4. The appropriation of moneys out of the CFI
  5. Declaring any expenditure as a charged expenditure on the CFI <can you tell us the difference b/w charged expenditure and non charged expenditure? Also can you tell us one prominent constitution body whose expenditure is not charged? Answer in the comments.>
  6. The receipt of money on account of the CFI or the public account of India or the ambit of accounts of the Union or of a state <can you tell us the difference b/w consolidated fund of India and public accounts of India? Answer in the comments>
  7. Any matter incidental to the above issues

A money bill cannot be rejected by the Rajya Sabha, which can only suggest changes, the Lok Sabha is free to reject.

Speaker: Article 110(3) confirms finality on the speaker’s decision on the question of whether a bill is a money bill.

What were the amendments moved by Rajya Sabha?

  • It wanted to restrict the use of Aadhaar numbers only for targeting of govt benefits or service and not for any other purpose
  • It wanted to replace the term ‘national security’ with ‘public emergency and public safety’, arguing that the term ‘national security’ is very vague
  • It wanted an Oversight Committee to review the Competent Authority’s decision, which should also comprise of either the CVC or the CAG
  • It wanted to delete a section which says that if under any other law the use of Aadhaar number for establishing the identity of an individual is permitted, the same law is not being over-ruled

Conclusion

There is little doubt that India needs to streamline the way it delivers benefits, and to empower citizens with a basic identification document. But this cannot be done without ensuring the strictest protection of privacy.

Follow our story on Aadhaar Cards: The Identity Revolution.

Published with inputs from Pushpendra

Any doubts?


  1. bulbul chattterjee

    Consolidated funds are those funds that are raised by government of India by imposing various duties and taxes to the public and organization like, service tax, income tax, Excise duty and import export tax. Some other non tax revenue such as license fees, Profits, Dividends and raising from other sources are added and in total they are called as consolidated fund of India.

    Public accounts :- All other revenue generated apart from the sources given above comes under public account of India.

  2. Jeelani Tantray

    CIDR is not supposed to be “accessible”… it’s NOT the other way round!

    1. Jeelani Tantray

      September 9, 2017
      [op-ed snap] All that data that Aadhaar captures

  3. Sakshi Ganorkar

    The post of Governor of any state of INDIA does not have expenditure charged on CFI

  4. Bhargava Tadi

    can you tell us the difference b/w charged expenditure and non-charged expenditure?

    Charged expenditure is the non-votable i.e., it can only be discussed in the parliament and not votable whereas, the other is votable.

    1. Rini Sen

      +1

210 govt. websites made Aadhaar details public: UIDAI

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Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Citizens charters, transparency & accountability & institutional & other measures

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: UIDAI, Aadhar

Mains level: Data security concerns related to aadhar


News

Data leak on government websites

  1. More than 200 central and State government websites publicly displayed details such as names and addresses of some Aadhaar beneficiaries
  2. The UIDAI took note and got the Aadhaar data removed from the said websites

Is data not secure with UIDAI?

  1. UIDAI has a well-designed, multi-layer approach robust security system in place
  2. It is being constantly upgraded to maintain the highest level of data security and integrity
  3. The architecture of the Aadhaar ecosystem has been designed to ensure data security and privacy which is an integral part of the system from the initial design to the final stage

How does UIDAI ensure data security?

  1. Various policies and procedures have been defined, these are reviewed and updated continually
  2. This helps to appropriately control and monitor any movement of people, material, and data in and out of UIDAI premises
  3. Security audits are conducted on a regular basis to further strengthen security and privacy of data

[op-ed snap] Aadhaar needs a privacy law

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Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Citizens charters, transparency & accountability & institutional & other measures

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Right to privacy, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), Digital ID research initiative,

Mains level: Right to privacy Vs Aadhar


Context

Supreme Court’s judgment upholding right to privacy Vs Aadhar

  1. The Supreme Court’s (SC’s) landmark judgment upholding our right to privacy has intensified the debate on whether and how Aadhaar infringes on this right
  2. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has unequivocally asserted that Aadhaar meets the privacy test
  3. People from within the government’s fold and outside it, have said that Aadhaar can become an instrument to profile individuals, surveil them, and suppress dissent

Who is correct?

  1. The boring but important truth is that both sides are right—to some degree
  2. Aadhaar, if unregulated, can be a tool to abrogate our privacy
  3. But other tools of the government—such as CCTV cameras, permanent account number (PAN) cards, Digital India, among others—are also capable of invading privacy

Solution for this issue

  1. The solution is not to annul Aadhaar on the grounds of data privacy
  2. Like we do with any tool in the public domain, we need to avail of its benefits and manage the risks
  3. We need to evaluate whether the benefits are worth the risks

Two parallel initiatives required

  1. Rigorous, and independent research such as the Indian School of Business’ digital ID research initiative
  • This is vital to ascertain the benefits and risks across Aadhaar’s uses
  • This can help decide which uses should be furthered, adjusted, or even dropped

2. We need an independent regulator to protect data privacy and regulate data initiatives

  • This regulator must be backed by a robust law, and be competent to understand the nuances of data privacy and keep pace with new developments
  • We are many strides into a digital economy and are already suffering the consequences of this void

What features make Aadhaar particularly potent for database linking?

Four features make Aadhaar particularly potent for database linking

  1. It covers almost all Indian adults
  2. The database has practically no duplicates (according to UIDAI), enabling a higher quality of linking
  3. It uses a 12-digit unique identifier, making linking easy
  4. Over 120 government agencies require Aadhaar to provide services, paving the way for the first step of data linking—seeding each individual database with Aadhaar numbers

How can Aadhar linking be misused?

  1. One potential harmful abuse of Aadhaar is using the unique number to link data sets that previously existed in silos
  2. Depending on the breadth of data sets seeded with Aadhaar, they can be merged to uncover a person’s “food habits, language, health, hobbies, sexual preferences, friendships, ways of dress, and political affiliation”
  3. SC also worried about this in its judgment on right to privacy
  4. Not only is this objectionable in and of itself, such profiling can be used to discriminate against individuals and stifle dissent
  5. Unauthorized database-linking violates almost all the National Privacy Principles, including “Purpose Limitation”
  6. Purpose limitation means “a data controller shall collect, process, disclose, make available, or otherwise use personal information only for the purposes as stated in the notice after taking consent of individuals.”
  7. “Data controllers” (say, criminal investigation agencies or credit card companies) with access to data-sets seeded with unique identifiers, such as Aadhaar, can link databases without due notice or consent and use it nefariously

Way forward

  1. Attacking only Aadhaar for the larger privacy risk of database linking is not based on a practical understanding of how linking works
  2. If Aadhaar ceased to exist, the threat of database linking using unique identifiers will endure, albeit with higher difficulty
  3. There is need for a strong data privacy law and regulator to curb and manage database-linking practices

[op-ed snap] A welfare test for Aadhaar

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Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies & interventions for development in various sectors & issues arising out of their design & implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: NFSA, MGNREGA

Mains level: Inefficiencies in PDS as well as Aadhar ecosystem and how to remove them


Context

  1. The Aadhaar ecosystem definitely needs to pass a stringent welfare test much more crucially than the privacy test

Aadhar leading to exclusions in PDS system

  1. There have been reports of widespread exclusion and disruption that Aadhaar may be causing in welfare schemes
  2. It is imperative to ensure that nobody who needs welfare is ever denied
  3. The rights derived from the NFSA and MGNREGA are unconditional

What is required now?

  1. Immediately requirement is a thorough analysis of the denials in PDS
  2. What is the exclusion rate due to targeting errors independent of Aadhaar and how many are excluded only due to Aadhaar?
  3. What is the biometric failure rate across the population, sorted according to age, gender, occupation, and region?
  4. Are the failures inherent to the technology or are they avoidable process errors?

Effective design of digital identity in PDS

Elements of such a design must be based on

  1. an offline identity verification system with opportunistic uploading of cached records
  2. an error-free linking process
  3. deployment of tamper-proof digital weighing machines
  4. end-to-end recording at the supply chain and at the ration shops
  5. effective online receipt systems and online audits
  6. user education and a quick and effective grievance redress system

How would this work?

  1. The offline identity verification may simply be based on digital reading of an encrypted and digitally signed photograph of the beneficiary encoded on the ration card
  2. This will be followed by physical comparison and storing for records along with a time-stamped photograph acquired on the spot with a tamper-proof device

Supreme Court to hear plea against linking Aadhaar to bank accounts, phones

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

The following things are important from UPSC perspective:

Prelims: Not much

Mains level:  This news is important for mains as it give important points regarding how the linking of Aadhaar to bank accounts violates various laws and provisions. UPSC have been asking about issues like these of national importance which have been in news for a while.

 


News

Context

  1. The Supreme Court will hear a petition challenging the government move to link bank accounts and mobile phones with Aadhaar numbers
  2. The court has stated that it violates the fundamental right to privacy and equates citizens, including the elderly, women and students, with money launderers.

What the petition is about?

The petition has challenged Rule 2(b) of the Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Second Amendment Rules, 2017 for-

Bank Accounts

  1. Mandatory submission of Aadhaar number for individual clients, companies, partnership firms and trusts for opening of bank accounts, maintaining existing bank accounts, making financial transactions of and above ₹50,000 and crediting foreign remittance into small accounts.
  2. Existing bank account holders have been directed to furnish Aadhaar numbers by December 31, 2017.
  3. Non-compliance would render the bank accountsin-operational indefinitely” subject to submission of the Aadhaar Number and the Permanent Account Number (PAN).
  4. Present and potential bank account holders, who do not wish to part with their biometric information, are therefore treated on par with alleged offenders under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Mobile Phones

  1. The petition challenges the Department of Telecom on March 23, 2017 making it mandatory for all mobile phone holders to link their mobile phone numbers with Aadhaar.
  2. The mobile phone circular is violative of Article 300A of the Constitution which protects a person’s right to not be deprived of property.

 

Why plea against linking Aadhaar to bank accounts, phones?

  • The provision regarding bank accounts and mobile phones both separately create an “impermissible artificial distinction” between those who have parted with their private, biometric information and those who have not.
  • They both compel the latter category of the population to part with their biometrics for opening and maintaining bank accounts or for a mobile phone connection.
  • Both the provision and the circular are violative of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 which limits the purpose of the Aadhaar number to receipt of a public subsidy, benefit or a service.
  • The Aadhaar number may even compromise the efficacy of the KYC procedures and the customer database.
  • Compelling citizens to part with their biometric details compromises India’s international law obligations.
  • It goes against the very concept of the expression ‘limited government’, which means the State cannot act against the spirit and the assurance of the Constitution.

 

[op-ed snap] All that data that Aadhaar captures

Image result for All that data that Aadhaar captures

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Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Once you are done reading this op-ed, you will be able to attempt the below.

“The very foundation of Aadhaar must be reconsidered in the light of the privacy judgment.” Critically analyse?

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of Aadhaar

Mains level: Aadhaar V/S Right to privacy


News

Context

  1. After denying the right to privacy for years, the government welcomed the judgement
  2. CEO of the UIDAI, asserted, “The Aadhaar Act is based on the premise that privacy is a fundamental right and the judgement would not affect Aadhaar as the required safeguards were already in place.

Aaadhaar and Right to Privacy

  1. Aadhaar, in its current form, is a major threat to the fundamental right to privacy
  2. Common perception that the main privacy concern with Aadhaar is the confidentiality of the Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR). This is misleading for two reasons.
    • One is that the CIDR is not supposed to be inaccessible.
    • On the contrary, the Aadhaar Act 2016 puts in place a framework for sharing most of the CIDR information.
  3. It collects  biometric information, identity information and personal information.
  4. The first two are formally defined in the Aadhaar Act, and protected to some extent. The biggest threat to privacy, relates to the third type of information.
  5. In the Aadhaar Act, biometric information essentially refers to photograph, fingerprints and iris scan, though it may also extend to “other biological attributes of an individual” specified by the UIDAI.
  6. The term “core biometric information” basically means biometric information minus photograph, but it can be modified once again at the discretion of the UIDAI.
  7. One concern is the confidentiality of personal information an individual may not wish to be public or accessible to others. The Aadhaar Act puts in place some safeguards in this respect, but they are restricted to biometric and identity information.

Sharing identity details

  1. The strongest safeguards in the Act relate to core biometric information.
  2. That part of the CIDR, is supposed to be inaccessible except for the purpose of biometric authentication.
  3. There is a view that, in practice, the biometric database is likely to be hacked sooner or later.
  4. Aadhaar Act puts in place a framework to share it with “requesting entities”. The core of this framework lies in Section 8 of the Act, which deals with authentication
  5. Aadhaar Act includes a blanket exemption from the safeguards applicable to biometric and identity information on “national security” grounds.
  6. This effectively makes identity information accessible to the government without major restrictions.

Mining personal information

  1. Aadhaar is a tool of unprecedented power for mining and collating personal information.
  2. For example, suppose Aadhaar number becomes mandatory for buying a railway ticket. With computerised railway counters, government will have all the details of your railway journeys, from birth onwards. The government can do exactly what it likes with this personal information
  3. By the same reasoning, if Aadhaar is made mandatory for SIM cards, the government will have access to your lifetime call records, and it will also be able to link your call records with your travel records.
  4. Nothing in the Aadhaar Act prevents the government from using Aadhaar to link different databases, or from extracting personal information from these databases.
  5. Indeed, many State governments under the State Resident Data Hub (SRDH) project, which “integrates all the departmental databases and links them with Aadhaar number”
  6. Some of the private agencies do have access to a fair amount of personal information from their own databases.
    • Reliance Jio is in possession of identity information for more than 100 million Indians, harvested from the CIDR when they authenticate themselves to buy a Jio SIM card.

Back2basics

 

Right to Privacy: The sweep from Aadhaar data to sexual identity

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Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the ruling

Mains level: Much awaited judgement. It will definitely have implications on many crucial matters.


News

Landmark Verdict

  1. Nine-judge Constitution Bench of the SC has ruled that individual privacy is a fundamental right
  2. Imapct of the verdict: The ruling will impact daily lives of the people since
  3. It will have implications for matters ranging from collection and sharing of personal data in Aadhar cards to the cases of homosexuality(possibly)
  4. The SC has overruled its earlier verdicts which held that right to privacy was not protected by the Constitution

Other important points from the judgement

  1. The orders(majority) made it clear that this right could not be absolute and would be “subject to the restrictions specified”
  2. Also, the judges rejected the government’s contention that privacy was already protected by various statutes, and that there was no need to elevate it to a fundamental right status

What about Aadhar, now?

  1. The judgment was limited to the issue of right to privacy
  2. The matter whether Aadhaar violates the right to privacy will be dealt with by the five-judge bench hearing the petitions since 2015

Aadhaar required for death certificates

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Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the RGI

Mains level: Effective step for reducing fraud in death certificates. Also, it shows greater trust of government on Aadhar.


News

Why this decision?

  1. The use of Aadhaar for the applicants of Death Certificate will result in ensuring accuracy of the details provided by the relatives of the deceased
  2. This will obviate the need for producing multiple documents to prove the identity of the deceased person
  3. It will provide an effective method to prevent identity fraud
  4. It will also help in recording the identity of the deceased person
  5. The notification for the same is issued by the Registrar General of India (RGI), Ministry of Home Affairs

Warning by Government

  1. Any false declaration given by the applicant in this regard will be treated as an offence under the Aadhaar Act, 2016 and Registration of Birth and Death Act, 1969

 

Govt moves to check benami, Aadhaar to be made must for property deals

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Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims Level: Particulars of the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amended Act, 2016

Mains Level: Important step to curb black money and related issues.

News

Move to curb Benami Transactions and the use of black money in Property Deals

  1. The government is planning to make Aadhaar-based authentication mandatory at the time of registration of documents such as agreement for sale, power of attorney,etc.
  2. The government has also firmed up plans to enable electronic registration of properties, for which Aadhaar-based authentication will be a prerequisite
  3. For this, the government is planning to amend Sections 32 and 32A of the Registration Act, 1908
  4. Also, the Aadhaar law allows the Central Identities Data Repository, under the UIDAI, to offer authentication services

Expected benefits of this step

  1. This is expected to ensure foolproof property titles for the buyers
  2. It will also minimise the scope of fraudulent and benami transactions

Other steps taken by the Government to curb black money in real state

  1. The government also enacted the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amended Act, 2016 last year
  2. This law empowers authorities to provisionally attach and eventually confiscate benami properties

 

Login glitch: I-T returns date extended

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Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Prelims level: Aadhar, PAN

Mains level: Not much


News

  1. The Centre on Monday extended the deadline for filing income tax (I-T) returns from July 31 to August 5, citing the last-minute rush coupled with widespread difficulties in linking PAN and Aadhaar.
  2. Government has granted temporary relief to taxpayers without Aadhaar numbers by allowing them to file their I-T returns without linking the PAN to Aadhaar
  3. However, the returns will not be processed until the link between Aadhaar and PAN has been established
  4. May 2017, the government issued a notification saying that the PAN-Aadhaar link was not necessary for certain categories of people such as senior citizens, NRIs, foreigners, and citizens of North Eastern states
  5. But the return filing website is still asking for Aadhaar for senior citizens, and there is no facility to mention nationality, so even foreigners are being made to get Aadhaar.

Name mismatch

  • There are complaints that the taxpayers are not being able to link Aadhaar with PAN because of different names reflected in PAN and Aadhaar database.
  • Issue arising out of the mandatory linking of PAN and Aadhaar is reconciling different names on the two IDs. While Aadhaar allows abbreviations in names, PAN does not, which is causing a lot of problems for people

Aadhaar critical step in enabling fairer access: U.N.

  1. Context: World body says the unique identification programme has “tremendous potential” for fostering inclusion
  2. These are the words from – 2016 Report on the World Social Situation, released by the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs
  3. The theme of this year’s report is ‘Leaving No One Behind — The Imperative of Inclusive Development.’
  4. Fair and robust systems of legal identity and birth registration are recognised in the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as an important foundation for promoting inclusive societies

More observations:

  1. Some 40 per cent of the world’s population does not have access to education in a language they understand.
  2. Children of ethnic minorities and those who are disabled are much less likely to finish their primary and secondary educations
  3. The Sustainable Development Goals recognise that development will only be sustainable if it is inclusive
  4. In order to promote social inclusion, barriers to participation must be broken down by revising laws, policies, institutional practices

Note4students:

Make a note of the report + its theme. Note down the points/ observations made by the report. Questions on SDG can use these points and your answers will get more credibility if you cite the report as well. A UN body recognising Aadhar in a world report is a big thing.

Supreme Court finds govt. defying its order on Aadhaar

  1. Violation: SC discovered that the Centre has been insisting that students submit their Aadhaar number for applying for Govt scholarship schemes
  2. Background: On October 15, 2015, a Constitution Bench had held that citizens cannot be forced to produce Aadhaar to avail themselves of government welfare schemes and benefits
  3. It had even hinted that the government risked contempt of court if it chooses to continue to make the Aadhaar number a mandatory condition
  4. However, it had extended the voluntary use of Aadhaar cards to the MGNREGA, pensions schemes, Employee Provident Fund and the Prime Minister Jan Dhan Yojana

Learn about Aadhaar Act, 2016 -II

  1. Basics: Aadhaar is a unique identity number through which the govt plans to target delivery of subsidy benefits and services
  2. Institution: It provides for the establishment of the Unified Identification Authority of India
  3. It also provides for establishment, operation and maintenance of the Central Identity Data Repository
  4. Citizenship: The Aadhaar number cannot confer right of or proof of citizenship of domicile
  5. Privacy: The Authority shall ensure the security, confidentiality and protection of identity information and authentication records of individuals in its possession or control, including the information stored in the repository

Learn about Aadhaar Act, 2016

  1. Context: Legislation to provide statutory backing to Aadhaar is listed for introduction in Lok Sabha
  2. Type: Money Bill
  3. Name: The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016
  4. Provides for: Good governance, efficient, transparent, and targeted delivery of subsidies, benefits and services to individuals residing in India through assigning of unique identity numbers to such individuals
  5. Expenditure: for these is incurred from the Consolidated Fund of India
  6. Privacy concerns: will be adequately addressed; these have been one of the biggest stumbling blocks to the universal acceptance of Aadhaar

Centre bans sharing of Aadhaar details

  1. Context: UIDAI’s efforts to ensure the Aadhaar information is not misused
  2. Regulations: Agencies in possession of Aadhaar number of an individual will not be allowed to publish or post the information publicly and will have to ensure security and confidentiality
  3. These agencies have also been mandated to inform Aadhaar holders the purpose for which their details will be used
  4. The biometric information cannot be shared with anyone for any reason whatsoever
  5. Any violation of the Aadhaar Act will constitute an offence and is punishable under the Act

Discuss: What is the legal status of Right to Privacy in India? Discuss it in the context of recent Aadhaar Act. How can this issue be taken care of?

Aadhaar-based e-signature launched

  1. Built on the Aadhaar platform, eSign is an initiative of the Government of India and meant to save money and time for citizens
  2. Its users need to have a registered mobile number associated with the Aadhaar card
  3. The documents signed electronically will be legally valid in the country
  4. Statistics: 1 Billion Aadhaar users and ~ 25 Million transactions – Think of all the time, money and paper that could be saved

What next on Aadhar Cards?

  1. Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) issues the Aadhar cards
  2. With 85% of India’s population covered and the Aadhar Act (2016) being enacted, UIDAI will work to support financial transactions
  3. Identification of a beneficiary using biometrics like fingerprint and iris recognition will help in authentication
  4. Authentication will be of critical importance in small and big ticket items like – ticket reservations, attendance, and Bharat Bill Payment System etc.

Aadhaar to be linked with caste, domicile certificates. Why?

  1. Context: Centre has asked state govt. to link Aadhar with caste & domicile certificates issued to school students
  2. Aim: To expedite the delivery of grants and scholarship schemes to the deserving students
  3. To avoid the unusual delays and harassment faced by these students in obtaining these certificates separately
  4. The responsibility for issuance of residency and caste certificates rests with the States and Union territories.

‘SC cannot review Speaker’s actions’

  1. Context: Govt has challenged SC for examination of Speaker’s authority on passage of Adhaar as a Money bill
  2. The plea to review passage of Aadhar was filed under article 32 of Constitution
  3. Article 32: Remedies for enforcement of fundamental rights
  4. Argument: The passage of the Aadhaar law as a Money Bill in a brazen and malafide manner, bypassing the approval of the Rajya Sabha, is a violation of the Basic Rule of Law enshrined in the Constitution

Aadhaar Bill passage comes under apex court scanner

  1. Context: Controversy over introducing Aadhar Bill as a money bill
  2. The five amendments moved by Rajya Sabha MP were rejected by Lok Sabha
  3. Judicial examination: Bypassing the Rajya Sabha by introducing an ordinary financial bill as a Money bill- Constitutional fraud
  4. Also, the Speaker’s authority to declare it as a Money bill

Don’t share Aadhaar information: UIDAI

  1. Context: Growing concern for Aadhaar cards due to misuse of cards by unscrupulous entities
  2. News: UIDAI has asked public not to share their personal information with unauthorised agencies for printing or laminating their Aadhaar cards
  3. The e-commerce firms should not allow their merchants to collect Aadhaar information from general public for printing Aadhaar card as this may amount to a criminal offence punishable with imprisonment

Over 100 cr. people have Aadhaar number

  1. News: The UIDAI had generated 100th crore Aadhaar number, in five-and-half years since the first Aadhaar was issued in 2010
  2. The Aadhaar Act has complied with the standards set by the Supreme Court to ensure privacy in cases of phone tapping
  3. Measures: The core biometrics that are fingerprints and iris, shall not be shared with anyone for any reason whatsoever
  4. Statistics: Aadhaar coverage now is at 93% among people above the age of 18

LS rejects RS recommendations, passes Aadhar Bill

  1. News: Lok Sabha has rejected 5 amendments for Aadhar Bill, proposed by Rajya Sabha
  2. Govt. turned down opposition’s argument that Parliament cannot legislate since the matter is before SC
  3. Criticism: It is violating the Supreme Court direction that Aadhaar card cannot be made mandatory but should only be voluntary
  4. Every individual should have the freedom to opt out of the scheme
  5. There is a possibility of misuse, as it gives “sweeping powers” on the grounds of national security

Jan Dhan accounts using Aadhaar face hiccups

  1. Why? Almost 40 per cent of people who have obtained Aadhaar numbers say that it has not helped them
  2. Context: Banking correspondents in rural areas reporting that accounts opened under Jan Dhan Yojana using Aadhaar face authentication issues, leading to failed transactions
  3. Relevance: PMJDY accounts opened through e-KYC using Aadhaar number face frequent authentication issues during transactions
  4. Bank Mitra report: Biometric signature of customers is often rejected, leading to transaction denial

Lok Sabha passes Aadhaar Bill

  1. News: The Lok Sabha passed the Aadhaar Bill to provide a unique identity to residents
  2. Objective: To empower the govt in providing targeted services to the intended beneficiaries by assigning them unique identity numbers
  3. Provisions: The Aadhaar card can be used as proof of identity, but not as a proof of citizenship or domicile status
  4. Eligibility: It will be given to every person, who has stayed in India for 182 days in the year preceding the date of application

Aadhaar Bill introduced in Lok Sabha

  1. News: The govt. has introduced a Bill in Lok Sabha to provide statutory backing to Aadhaar
  2. Finance: The expenditure for the nationwide Aadhaar exercise is incurred from the Consolidated Fund of India
  3. Importance: Anyone who want to get subsidies, will have to produce Aadhaar
  4. Criticism: Govt. introduced the measure as a money Bill, which can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha has limited powers
  5. Money Bills cannot be referred to a joint committee of Parliament

Budget 2016: Aadhaar to get legal backing

  1. News: The govt  will introduce a bill in Parliament linking various financial inclusion schemes with Aadhaar numbers
  2. Reason: To ensure that the benefits of various govt subsidies reach the people who deserve it
  3. Mechanism: The govt will bring all the benefits and subsidies funded from the Consolidated Fund of India on the Aadhaar platform
  4. Future: A social security platform will be developed using Aadhaar to accurately target beneficiaries
  5. Statistics: Around 98 crore Aadhaar numbers have been generated and 11.19 crore accounts are seeded for LPG subsidy

Govt. cannot insist on Aadhaar: SC

  1. The Constitution Bench of SC reiterated that the use of Aadhaar is not mandatory, but allowed its use in host of schemes.
  2. The voluntary use of Aadhar card will continue till the apex court decides whether the scheme infringes on the right to privacy.
  3. The SC extended the voluntary use of Aadhaar to MGNREGS, all types of pension schemes, EPF and the Jan Dhan Yojana.
  4. A-G assured that no person will be denied benefits under any government scheme for want of Aadhaar card.

RBI Governor said that it will help in financial inclusion drive and providing easy access to loans.

Aadhar Crisis: Choice, identity and privacy

  1. SC has made it clear that Aadhar cannot be insisted by any authority as a pre- condition for citizens to avail any benefit. Why?
  2. Making Aadhaar a mandatory would cause hardship to various sections as people stand to lose benefits or be denied routine services.
  3. Govt. can continue linking Aadhar cards for PDS and PAHAL scheme by linking Aadhar cards.
  4. However, there is a need for an effective identification mechanism to authenticate beneficiaries for delivery of services.
  5. But, any mechanism with no legal backing and without clear norms endangers misuse of the personal information and biometric data.

Don’t insist on Aadhaar, comments SC

  1. SC confirmed that the card is not compulsory, and warned that officials ignoring this would be taken to task.
  2. Some other curious facts around Aadhaar – The National Identification Authority of India (NIAI) Bill, (for legal backing + use of biometrics) to create a unique identity for every resident of India is still pending in the Parliament.
  3. The UID (Unique Identification) and NPR (National Population Register) are both government identity schemes that aggregate personal data.

    Discuss: What’s the difference? The NPR Scheme has been created pursuant to the 2004 Amendment of the Citizenship Act. The central govt. has the power to compulsorily register citizens for an Identity Card. The UIDAI was set up through an executive notification.



:( We are working on most probable questions. Do check back this section.







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