January 2019
M T W T F S S
« Dec   Feb »
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

[op-ed snap] A renewed attack on privacy: on Aadhaar Bill

Note4students

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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Basics aspects of Aadhar.

Mains level: The newscard discusses key features, issues wrt Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018, in a brief manner.


Context

  • The Lok Sabha, without any attendant discussion, passed the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018.
  • The Bill amends the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

 

Key features of the Bill:

  1. Offline verification of Aadhaar number holder:The Bill allows ‘offline verification’ of an individual’s identity, without authentication, through modes specified by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) by regulations.
  1. During offline verification, the agency must(i) obtain the consent of the individual, (ii) inform them of alternatives to sharing information, and (iii) not collect, use or store Aadhaar number or biometric information.
  2. Voluntary use of Aadhaar to verify identity:The Bill states that an individual may voluntarily use his Aadhaar number to establish his identity, by authentication or offline verification. Authentication of an individual’s identity via Aadhaar, for the provision of any service, may be made mandatory only by a law of Parliament.
  1. Entities using Aadhaar:An entity may be allowed to perform authentication through Aadhaar, if the UIDAI is satisfied that it is (i) compliant with certain standards of privacy and security, or (ii) permitted by law, or (iii) seeking authentication for a purpose specified by the central government in the interest of the State.
  1. Aadhaar number of children:The Bill specifies that at the time of enrolling a child to obtain an Aadhaar number, the enrolling agency shall seek the consent of his parent or guardian. The agency must inform the parent or guardian of (i) the manner in which the information will be used, (ii) the recipients with whom it will be shared, and (iii) their right to access the information. After attaining eighteen years of age, the child may apply for cancellation of his Aadhaar.
  1. Disclosure of information in certain cases:Under the Act, restrictions on security and confidentiality of Aadhaar related information do not apply in case the disclosure is pursuant to an order of a District Court (or above). The Bill amends this to allow such disclosure only for orders by High Courts (or above). The Bill also allows disclosure of information on directions of officers not below the rank of a Secretary.
  1. UIDAI Fund:Under the Act, all fees and revenue collected by the UIDAI shall be credited to the Consolidated Fund of India. The Bill removes this provision, and creates the Unique Identification Authority of India Fund.  All fees, grants and charges received by the UIDAI shall be credited to this fund.  The fund shall be used for expenses of the UIDAI, including salaries and allowances of its employees.
  1. Complaints:The Bill allows the individual to register complaints in certain cases, including impersonation or disclosure of their identity. The Bill defines the Aadhaar ecosystem to include enrolling agencies, requesting agencies, and offline verification-seeking entities. It allows the UIDAI to issue directions to them if necessary for the discharge of its functions under the Act.
  1. Penalties:Under the Bill, the UIDAI may initiate a complaint against an entity in the Aadhaar ecosystem for failure to (i) comply with the Act or the UIDAI’s directions, and (ii) furnish information required by the UIDAI. Adjudicating Officers appointed by the UIDAI shall decide such matters, and may impose penalties up to one crore rupees on such entities.  The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal shall be the appellate authority against decisions of the Adjudicating Officer.

Why the amendments are proposed?

  1. While upholding the constitutional validity of Aadhaar, the Supreme Court had struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act, 2016 that permitted private entities like telecom companies or other corporate to avail of the biometric Aadhaar data.
  2. Hence to address the issues like recognising the authentification of those who provided Aadhaar as the identity proof, the amendments are brought in by the government.

Criticism

1. Commercial exploitation

  1. The most strident criticisms of the amendment bill have, however, been reserved for the manner in which it has allowed the private sector to regain access to the Aadhaar infrastructure.
  2. The Bill permits the enactment of a new law allowing the use of Aadhaar by private entities so long as a person voluntarily consents to such authentication.
  3. In contrast to SC ruling which unanimously struck down Section 57 insofar as it applied to private entities.
  4. It would be to enable commercial exploitation of an individual biometric and demographic information by the private entities.
  5. Justice Sikri held that the provision which allows private companies the authority to authenticate identity through Aadhaar, even by securing an individual’s informed consent, the clause is disproportionately contravened the right to privacy.
  6. # Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act allowed both the state and private entities to use the programme to establish an individual’s identity pursuant to a law or a contract. It was on this basis that various notifications were issued allowing corporations of different kinds, including telecom operators, e-commerce firms and banks, to use Aadhaar.

2. Violation of FR

  1. The Supreme Court has found that the operation of Aadhaar by private entities violates fundamental rights, there is today no avenue available for fresh legislative intervention, unless the government chooses to amend the Constitution.
  2. The proposed legislative amendments virtually seek to impose Aadhaar as a prerequisite for the availing of certain basic services.
  3. For example, the amendments proposed state that service providers — telecom companies and banks, respectively, — ought to identify their customers by one of four means: authentication under the Aadhaar Act; offline verification under the Aadhaar Act; use of passport; or the use of any other officially valid document that the government may notify.
  4. Given that only a peripheral portion of India’s population possess passports, Aadhaar is effectively made compulsory.

3. Issue of fraud

  • Allowing private corporations to access and commercially exploit the Aadhaar architecture, as we have already seen, comes with disastrous consequences — the evidence of reports of fraud emanating out of seeding Aadhaar with different services is ever-growing.

4. Disregard to SC judgement

  1. The Supreme Court declared the Section 33(2) as unconstitutional, which allowed an officer of the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India to direct disclosure of Aadhaar information in the “interest of national security”
  2. The Bill, merely seeks to substitute the words “Joint Secretary” with “Secretary” in Section 33(2), completely disregarding the Supreme Court’s order demanding inquiry.
Aadhaar Card Issues

[op-ed snap] Moving from chaos to order: The overdue step to a simpler GST

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Indian Economy| Issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: GST, GST COUNCIL,GSTN

Mains level: The newscard discusses issues with GST structure , in a brief manner.


Context

  • The Indian tryst with indirect tax reform seems to be moving in the opposite direction—from chaos to order. The initial version of the new goods and services tax (GST) was extremely complicated. There are now welcome moves to simplify it.

Background

  • Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a comprehensive indirect tax on manufacture, sale, and consumption of goods and services throughout India. GST would replace respective taxes levied by the central and state governments.

 What is the Principle of GST?

  1. The Centre will levy and collect the Central GST.
  2. States will levy and collect the State GST on the supply of goods and services within a state.
  3. The Centre will levy the Integrated GST (IGST) on the interstate supply of goods and services, and apportion the state’s share of tax to the state where the good or service is consumed.
  4. The 2016 Act requires Parliament to compensate states for any revenue loss owing to the implementation of GST.

GST invisible achievements: Analysis by Economic Survey:

  1. Economists at the Union finance ministry studied GST data in detail and presented some interesting facts in this year’s Economic Survey.
  2. First, the Survey showed that India’s formal non-farm payroll is much higher than is commonly believed. The implementation of the GST, which is bringing more businesses into the tax net,will further push formalization of the economy.
  3. Second, the GST is leading to better tax compliance. The number of unique registrations has now crossed the 10 million mark,which is higher than entities registered in the pre-GST period, though they are not comparable as indirect taxpayers had to register multiple times in the earlier system. The increasing number of taxpayers and better compliance should help raise higher revenue in the medium to long run.
  4. Third, the GST system is creating a vast repository of data that could be useful in policymaking. For example, it is now possible to know the state-wise distribution of international exports. This information can be used to fine tune policies in particular states to boost exports. Per capita gross state domestic product has a high correlation with exports.
  5. Further, the way the GST Council has evolved is a notable achievement. All decisions so far have been taken by consensus. It shows the way complex issues can be addressed through cooperation between the Union and state governments. While the council has a specific purpose, perhaps the idea can be used to address policy issues in other areas.

GST vis-à-vis core economic principles

  1. The integration of the Indian market as well as the rewiring of supply chains because of GST should lower transaction costs and improve economic efficiency.
  2. A good fiscal system should not tax the production of intermediate goods. That is the logic underlying all value-added taxes such as GST. It is a destination tax that is collected at the point of consumption.
  3. Indirect taxes tend to be regressive in nature. However, the preferred solution should not be a complicated GST structure with many rates, but a low standard or modal rate with a small list of exemptions.

Issues with GST structure

  1. The complicated GST structure we began with can partly be explained by the messy federal bargaining in the GST Council and partly by a flawed incentive structure. The cost of the policy failure is obvious.
  2. GST collections have been weaker than expected while compliance costs for enterprises have increased.
  3. The two major incentive design flaws during the initial GST negotiations are as follows
  • Decisions in the GST Council should be unanimous,the bargaining that followed led to a mess.
  • Central govt guaranteed the states that their revenues from GST would grow at 14% a year. Any shortfall would be compensated. The fixed guarantee gave them little incentive to push for a more sensible GST rate structure that would maximize growth.
  1. A World Bank study said that the Indian GST rate was the second highest among the 115 countries with a national value-added tax. It was also the most complicated, with five main tax rates, several exemptions, a cess and a special rate for gold.

Way Forward

  1. As GST stabilizes and settles down, the council will need to continuously work on simplifying the structure to enable higher tax collection and economic growth.
  2. Arbind Modi committee provided 10 key principles for the design of an efficient GST, such as covering all goods and services, including immovable property, a single low rate, destination-based, zero rate on exports, and threshold exemption for small enterprises.
  3. The Modi committee had recommended a 12% GST rate, of which 5% would go to the Union government, 5% to the state governments and the other 2% to the third tier of government.

Back2Basics

GST

  1. It is a destination-basedtaxation system.
  2. It has been established by the 101stConstitutional Amendment Act.
  3. It is an indirect tax for the whole country on the lines of “One Nation One Tax” to make India a unified market.
  4. It is a single tax on supply of Goods and Services in its entire product cycle or life cycle i.e. from manufacturer to the consumer.
  5. It is calculated only in the “Value addition” at any stage of a goods or services.
  6. The final consumer will pay only his part of the tax and not the entire supply chain which was the case earlier.
  7. There is a provision of GST Council to decide upon any matter related to GST whose chairman in the finance minister of India.

What taxes at center and state level are incorporated into the GST?

At the State Level

  • State Value Added Tax/Sales Tax
  • Entertainment Tax (Other than the tax levied by the local bodies)
  • Octroi and Entry Tax
  • Purchase Tax
  • Luxury Tax
  • Taxes on lottery, betting, and gambling

At the Central level

  • Central Excise Duty
  • Additional Excise Duty
  • Service Tax
  • Additional Customs Duty (Countervailing Duty)
  • Special Additional Duty of Customs

GST Council

  1. It is the 1stFederal Institution of India, as per the Finance minister.
  2. It will approve all decision related to taxation in the country.
  3. It consists of Centre, 29 states, Delhi and Puducherry.
  4. Centre has 1/3rdvoting rights and states have 2/3rd voting rights.
  5. Decisions are taken after a majority in the council.

GSTN

  1. GSTN is registered as a not-for-profit companyunder the companies Act.
  2. It has been formed to set up and operate the information technology backbone of the GST.
  3. While the Central (24.5%) and the state (24.5%) governments hold a combined stake of 49%, the remaining 51% stake is divided among five financial institutions—LIC Housing Finance with 11% stake and ICICI Bank, HDFC, HDFC Bank and NSE Strategic Investment Corporation Ltd with 10% stake each.
  4. GSTN had awarded Infosys Ltd the contract to develop the hardware and software for GST.
  5. The idea behind GSTN was to set up an entity that is equidistant from both the Central government and the state governments, as it will advise both the Centre and the states on the information technology network.
Goods and Services Tax (GST)

RBI forms Nandan Nilekani-led digital payments panel

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Mobilization of resources, Banking

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  Panel and its terms of references

Mains level: Promotion of Digital Payments


News

Panel on Digital Payments

  • The RBI has constituted a high-level committee headed by former chairman of the UIDAI Nandan Nilekani to set up a robust digital payments ecosystem in the country.

Terms of Reference

  1. Aim: To undertake cross country analyses with a view to identify best practices that can be adopted in our country to accelerate digitization of the economy and financial inclusion through greater use of digital payments.
  2. The committee has been asked to review the existing status of digitization of payments, identify gaps in the ecosystem and suggest ways to plug them.
  3. The panel has to suggest a medium-term strategy for deepening digital payments, and measures to strengthen safety and security.
  4. It shall submit its report within a period of 90 days from the date of its first meeting.
  5. The panel has also been tasked with the responsibility of increasing customer confidence and trust while they access financial services through digital modes.

Why such move?

  1. The promotion of digital payments has been one of the primary agendas of the government in the past four years.
  2. Payments through all electronic forms such as debit and credit cards, mobile wallets, real-time gross settlement (RTGS), national electronic funds transfer (NEFT) and UPI has seen a huge rise.
  3. The newest mode of digital payments, UPI, which was launched in 2016, has witnessed an over 300% rise in transaction volumes in the last year and the growth is seen continuing in the near term.
  4. A/c to National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) , a record 620.17 million UPI transactions worth just over ₹1 trillion were conducted in December 2018.
RBI Notifications

RBI issues guidelines for tokenization of card transactions

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Mobilization of resources, Banking

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  Token mode of payment

Mains level: Promotion of Digital Payments


News

  • Reserve Bank of India has released guidelines on tokenization for various card transactions, including from debit and credit cards.

What is Tokenization?

  1. Tokenisation, which aims at improving safety and security of the payment system, refers to replacement of actual card details with an unique alternate code called the ‘token’.
  2. It shall be unique for a combination of card, token requestor and identified device.
  3. Instead of using actual card details, this token is used to perform card transactions in contactless mode at point of sale(POS) terminals, quick response(QR) code payments.

RBI permits its usage

  • RBI has given permission to offer tokenised card transactions services to all channels such as near field communication (NFC), magnetic secure transmission (MST) based contactless transactions, in-app payments, QR code-based payments or token storage mechanisms, including cloud, secure element and trusted execution environment.

How to avail them?

  1. Tokenization and de-tokenization shall be performed only by the authorised card network and recovery of original Primary Account Number (PAN) should be feasible for the authorised card network only, the release said.
  2. The request for tokenization and de-tokenization should be logged by the card network and available for retrieval.
  3. A customer would not have to pay any charges for availing this service.
  4. At present, tokenized card transaction facility would be offered through mobile phones or tablets only and will be extended to other devices later based on experience.

A note for Payment Networks

  1. Card networks shall get the card issuers/acquirers, their service providers and any other entity involved in payment transaction chain, certified in respect of changes done for processing tokenised card transactions by them.
  2. Providing card tokenization services, authorised card payment networks shall put in place a mechanism for periodic system audit, at least annually, of all entities involved in providing card tokenisation services to customers.
  3. The central bank also asked card issuers to ensure easy access to customers for reporting loss of ‘identified device’ or any other such event which may expose tokens to unauthorised usage.
  4. Registration of a card on token requestors app shall be done only with explicit customer consent through Additional Factor of Authentication (AFA), and not by way of a forced / default/automatic selection of check box, radio button.
Digital India Initiatives

India demands removal of rosewood from CITES

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  CITES, Rosewood

Mains level: Harmony of India with global conservation bodies


News

  • India has proposed to remove Rosewood (Dalbergia sissoo) from Appendix II of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Rosewood

  1. The Rosewood (called sheesham in India) is currently part of Appendix II of CITES that has species not necessarily threatened with extinction.
  2. The Appendix II governs the trade that must be controlled to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival.

India doesn’t want that for rosewood: Why?

  • The species grows at a very fast rate and has the capacity to become naturalised outside its native range, even it is invasive in some parts of the world.
  • The regulation of trade in the species is not necessary to avoid it becoming eligible for inclusion in Appendix I in the near future.
  • The harvest of specimens from the wild is not reducing the wild population to a level at which its survival might be threatened by continued harvesting or other influences.
  • India sent the proposal ahead of the 18thConference of Parties (COP) of CITES, which will be held in Colombo from May 23 to June 3.

Why such rare move by India?

  1. In the 17thCOP, held in Johannesburg in 2016, several countries had raised concerns over a considerable rise in interest in the wood of Dalbergia in international markets, primarily in China.
  2. This was fuelling an illegal trade which was decimating Dalbergia
  3. Although, CITES focuses on the protection of individual species, COP 17 put the entire genus under Appendix II, which regulates trade in species.
  4. While most member countries agreed to the proposal, India, for the first time, entered a reservation concerning the inclusion of all rosewood in Appendix II.
  5. The regulation of Dalbergiatrade was hurting handicraft makers in our country.
  6. This criterion is not based on the level of threat the species face, but the difficulty of distinguishing the species from other threatened species of the genus.

About CITES Appendices

  1. CITES works by subjecting international trade in specimens of selected species to certain controls.
  2. All import, export, re-exports and introduction from the sea of species covered by the convention has to be authorized through a licensing system.
  3. It has three appendices. Appendix I has species threatened with extinction. Trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.
  4. Appendix III contains species that are protected in at least one country, which has asked other CITES parties for assistance in controlling trade.
  5. CITES is legally binding on state parties to the convention, which are obliged to adopt their own domestic legislation to implement its goals.
  6. Regulation of trade in the species is required to ensure that the harvest of specimens from the wild is not reducing the wild population to a level at which its survival might be threatened by continued harvesting or other influences.

India doesn’t defy CITES

  1. India is an signatory to and has also ratified CITES convention in 1976.
  2. Apart from Dalbergia sissoo, India has also proposed to transfer small clawed otters (Aonyx cinereus), smooth coated otters (Lutrogale perspicillata), Indian Star Tortoise (Geochelone elegans) from Appendix II to Appendix I, thereby giving more protection to the species.
  3. The otter species, according to the proposal, is threatened by international trade and habitat loss.
  4. The proposal also includes inclusion of Gekko geckoand Wedgefish (Rhinidae) in Appendix II of CITES. It says that Gekko gecko is traded highly for Chinese traditional medicine.

Back2Basics

Convention on International Trade in Endangered species of Wild flora and fauna (CITES) 1973

  • Adopted When and by Whom: It was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  • Objective: The Conference aims to control or prevent international commercial trade inendangered species or products derived from them.
  • Key Function: The Convention does not seek to directly protect endangered species, rather it seeks to reduce the economic incentive to poach endangered species and destroy their habitat by closing off the international market.
  • India specific trivia: India became a party to the convention in 1976. International trade in all wild flora and fauna in general and species covered under convention is regulated through the provisions of the Wildlife (protection) Act 1972.
Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Lok Sabha Passes Amendment Bill To Remove Leprosy as Ground For Divorce

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Mechanisms, laws, institutions & Bodies constituted for the protection & betterment of these vulnerable sections

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018

Mains level: Discrimination being faced by leprosy patients in the society & how inaction from the government’s end has helped in increasing its effect


 News

Leprosy: Not a ground for Divorce

  1. The Lok Sabha on has passed the Personal Laws (Amendment Bill), 2018, which seeks removal of leprosy as a ground for divorce.
  2. To this end, it seeks to amend five Acts:
  • the Divorce Act, 1869,
  • the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939,
  • the Special Marriage Act, 1954,
  • the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and
  • the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956.
  1. The Amendment Bill proposes to amend the provisions in these Acts which prescribe leprosy as a ground for divorce or separation from the spouse.

Why such move?

  1. The medical advances made in the field have making leprosy curable with multi-drug therapy.
  2. Leprosy patients were isolated and segregated from society as the leprosy was not curable and the society was hostile to them.
  3. However, as a result of intensive healthcare and availability of modern medicine to cure the disease, the attitude of the society towards them began to change.
  4. The discriminatory provisions contained in various statutes against the persons affected with leprosy were made prior to the medical advancements rendering leprosy a curable disease.

In line with UN resolution

  1. This is in keeping with the UN General Assembly Resolution of 2010 on the ‘Elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members’
  2. India has signed and ratified the Resolution

Back2Basics

Leprosy

  1. Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae.
  2. The exact mechanism of transmission of leprosy is not known.
  3. The disease mainly affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosal surfaces of the upper respiratory tract and the eyes.
  4. Leprosy is known to occur at all ages ranging from early infancy to very old age.
  5. Leprosy is curable and early treatment averts most disabilities.
Women empowerment issues: Jobs,Reservation and education

Lok Sabha Passes DNA Technology Bill – All You Need to Know

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018

Mains level: Understanding the importance of DNA Profiling in curbing crime in India.


News

  • The Bill that provides for regulation of use and application of DNA technology for establishing the identity of certain categories of persons, including offenders, victims, suspects and undertrials, was passed in Lok Sabha.

What it aims to bring?

  1. The use of DNA data is also likely to be useful in quickly identifying missing persons and resolving criminal cases in which repeat offenders might be involved.
  2. This includes offences under the IPC, 1860, as well as offences under other laws such as the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955, and the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018 

  1. The primary intended purpose for enactment of the bill is for expanding the application of DNA-based forensic technologies to support and strengthen the justice delivery system of the country.
  2. The utility of DNA based technologies for solving crimes, and to identify missing persons, is well recognized across the world.
  3. Other aims include Speedier justice delivery and Increased conviction rate.
  4. Bill’s provisions will enable the cross-matching between persons reported missing and unidentified dead bodies found in various parts of the country, and also for establishing the identity of victims in mass disasters.
  5. By providing for the mandatory accreditation and regulation of DNA laboratories, the Bill seeks to ensure the data remain protected from misuse or abuse in terms of the privacy rights of our citizens.
  6. The Bill has two major components : the DNA databanks and the DNA Regulatory Board.

DNA databanks

  1. There will be two kinds of databanks: a national one and multiple regional ones.
  2. Every databank will maintain DNA data in one of the following categories: the crime scene index, the suspects’ or undertrials’ index, the offenders’ index, the missing persons’ index and an ‘unknown’ deceased persons’ index.

DNA Regulatory Board

  1. The Regulatory Board will comprise 12 members.
  2. Some of them will be experts in the field of biological sciences, whereas the others will be the director-general of the NIA, the directors of the CBI, the heads of the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics and the Central Forensic Science Laboratory, and a member of the NHRC.
  3. The principal responsibility of the Board will be to accredit DNA-testing labs from which data can be collected for the databank and ensure they maintain high quality standards at all times.
  4. But in light of recent privacy and surveillance issues, the Board’s responsibility towards ensuring the DNA data is stored securely, used properly and only for identification purposes will also be under close watch.

Criticisms

Matter of Consent

  1. Written consent is required from everyone for their DNA samples to be collected, processed and included in the database except from those who have committed crimes with punishment of 7+ years or death.
  2. However, a similarly specific instruction is missing for the collection of DNA samples for civil matters. Such matters include parentage disputes, emigration or immigration and transplantation of human organs.
  3. The Bill also doesn’t state that the consent has to be voluntary.

Civil Disputes

  1. Second, it’s not clear if DNA samples collected to resolve civil disputes will also be stored in the databank (regional or national), although there is no index specific for the same.
  2. If they will be stored, then the problem cascades because the Bill also does not provide for information, consent and appeals.
  3. If a person’s DNA data has entered the databank, there is no process specified by which they can have it removed.
  4. All of these issues together could violate the right to privacy.

Authenticity of DNA Labs

  1. Third, there’s also the question of whether the DNA labs accredited by the Regulatory Board are allowed to store copies of the samples they analyse.
  2. And if so, how the owners of those samples can ensure the data is safe or needs to be removed from their own indices.
  3. It’s unclear if the Regulatory Board will oversee other tests performed at the accredited labs.
  4. This could become necessary because, unlike one’s biometric data or PAN number, the human genome contains lots of information about every individual.

Overreaching access to identity

  1. So a test undertaken to ascertain a person’s identity by analysing her DNA will in the process also reveal a lot of other things about that person, including information about their ancestry, diseases to which they are susceptible, etc. – i.e. information that the individual has a right to keep private.
  2. The Bill does not specify which parts of an individual’s DNA can be analysed to ascertain their identity.
  3. The more parts are subjected to analysis, the more conclusively a person’s identity can be established.
  4. But this can’t be used as a license to parse more than is necessary, because then the DNA lab is also likely to reveal more information than it has the right to seek.
Right To Privacy