Aadhaar Card Issues

Will Aadhar enable better targeting of subsidies or will it create an Orwellian surveillance apparatus?

Aadhaar Card Issues

Privacy concerns over Haryana’s Parivar Pehchan Patra

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Parivar Pehchan Patra

Mains level : UID and privacy issues

Amid concerns over the Parivar Pehchan Patra scheme, the Haryana govt. says enrolment is voluntary. But residents have little choice as the delivery of even birth and death certificates is linked to it.

Practice question for mains:

Q.What is Parivar Pehchan Patra (PPP) recently rolled out by Haryana Govt.? How it is beneficial compared to the Aadhaar?

What is Parivar Pehchan Patra (PPP)?

  • It is an 8-digit Unique Identity Card number meant for each family to enable smooth and automatic delivery of several citizen-centric services.
  • The government will establish the scheme-wise eligibility of a particular family using this 8-digit code according to the information available in the PPP of the family.
  • The benefits, according to the schemes, shall automatically be transferred to the family using the same code.
  • PPP will ensure that not a single beneficiary is left out from the government benefits that they are entitled to.

How is PPP different from the Aadhaar card?

  • The PPP, mathematically, is an integral number of Aadhaar.
  • While Aadhaar represents an individual as a unit, a PPP represents a family as a unit. Most of our government schemes are structured around the family.
  • It is not structured around an individual.
  • For example, ration eligibility is there for the family but the family can split it into various members as long as they are above 18 years and say they are separating entitlements for all individuals.

Will it be mandatory for every family of Haryana to get PPP?

  • No, it will not be mandatory for every family of the state to obtain a PPP.
  • But, PPP is mandatory for families availing benefits under government schemes.
  • Also, whenever a family wants to avail any government scheme, it will have to first get a PPP to be eligible.

The logic behind

  • Haryana officials said although there is a union government’s Aadhaar card, it contains individual’s details and does not cater to the entire family as a unit.
  • In certain circumstances, it may not be possible for a state government to keep track of all the families residing in the state.
  • Although the ration card system is there, it is not updated and does not contain adequate family records.
  • With the PPP, it will be easier for the state government to maintain a complete database of all the state dwellers.

How would it work?

  • To begin with, the government has already linked PPP with three social security schemes – old age Samman allowance, divyang pension, and the widow and destitute women pension scheme.
  • For instance, when a family member turns 60, they will automatically get a message through the software and will automatically start getting benefits of the old-age pension if they meet the required criteria.
  • Similarly, the teenagers will get messages on turning 18 years old and shall become eligible for various government schemes that will be notified to them through the software.

Aadhaar Card Issues

Supreme Court dismisses Aadhaar Review Petition

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Money Bill , Art 110

Mains level : Aadhaar-Money Bill Issue

The Supreme Court, in a majority view (4:1), dismissed a series of petitions seeking a review of its 2018 judgment upholding the Lok Sabha Speaker’s certification of Aadhaar law as a Money Bill and its subsequent passage in Parliament.

Try this PYQ:

Consider the following statements:

  1. Aadhaar card can be used as a proof of citizenship or domicile.
  2. Once issued, Aadhaar number cannot be deactivated or omitted by the Issuing Authority.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Backgrounder

  • The review petitions had highlighted how the Aadhaar Act was passed as a Money Bill by superseding the Rajya Sabha. It was called a “fraud on the Constitution”.
  • The review petition had argued that the Aadhaar Act clearly did not fall within the ambit of Article 110 (1) of the Constitution, which restricted Money Bills to certain specific fields only.

What is a Review Petition?

  • Article 137 of the Constitution provides that subject to provisions of any law and rule made under Article 145 the Supreme Court of India has the power to review any judgment pronounced (or order made) by it.
  • Thus the binding decision of the Supreme Court/High Court can be reviewed in the Review Petition.

Aadhaar Case: Two questions for review

  • Two questions had come up for review regarding the five-judge Aadhaar Bench’s judgment in 2018.
  • One, whether the Speaker’s decision to declare a proposed law as Money Bill was “final” and cannot be challenged in court.
  • The second, whether the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 was correctly certified as a ‘Money Bill’ under Article 110(1) of the Constitution.

What is the majority Judgment?

  • On the first question, the majority judgment in 2018 said the Speaker’s decision could be challenged in court only under “certain circumstances”.
  • On the second, it concluded that the Aadhaar Act was rightly called a Money Bill.

Back2Basics: Money Bill

  • A Bill is said to be a Money Bill if it only contains provisions related to taxation, borrowing of money by the government, expenditure from or receipt to the Consolidated Fund of India.
  • Bills that only contain provisions that are incidental to these matters would also be regarded as Money Bills.
  • A Money Bill may only be introduced in Lok Sabha, on the recommendation of the President as per Article 110 of the Constitution.
  • Then, it is transmitted to the Rajya Sabha for its recommendations. Following this, it may be sent to the Rajya Sabha for its recommendations, which Lok Sabha may reject if it chooses to.
  • If such recommendations are not given within 14 days, it will be deemed to be passed by Parliament.

How is a Money Bill different from a financial bill?

  • While all Money Bills are Financial Bills, all Financial Bills are not Money Bills.
  • For example, the Finance Bill which only contains provisions related to tax proposals would be a Money Bill.
  • However, a Bill that contains some provisions related to taxation or expenditure, but also covers other matters would be considered as a Financial Bill.

Aadhaar Card Issues

What is Parivar Pehchan Patra (PPP)?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : PPP

Mains level : Aadhaar and its limitations

Haryana CM Manohar Khattar has distributed ‘Parivar Pehchan Patra’ to the eligible families and announced that welfare schemes of all departments would be linked with the PPP within the next three months.

Practice question for mains:

Q.What is Parivar Pehchan Patra (PPP) recently rolled out by Haryana Govt.? How it is beneficial compared to the Aadhaar?

What is Parivar Pehchan Patra (PPP)?

  • It is an 8-digit Unique Identity Card number meant for each family to enable smooth and automatic delivery of several citizen-centric services.
  • The government will establish the scheme-wise eligibility of a particular family using this 8-digit code according to the information available in the PPP of the family.
  • The benefits, according to the schemes, shall automatically be transferred to the family using the same code.
  • PPP will ensure that not a single beneficiary is left out from the government benefits that they are entitled to.

How is PPP different from the Aadhaar card?

  • The PPP, mathematically, is an integral number of Aadhaar.
  • While Aadhaar represents an individual as a unit, a PPP represents a family as a unit. Most of our government schemes are structured around the family.
  • It is not structured around an individual.
  • For example, ration eligibility is there for the family but the family can split it into various members as long as they are above 18 years and say they are separating entitlements for all individuals.

Will it be mandatory for every family of Haryana to get PPP?

  • No, it will not be mandatory for every family of the state to obtain a PPP.
  • But, PPP is mandatory for families availing benefits under government schemes.
  • Also, whenever a family wants to avail any government scheme, it will have to first get a PPP to be eligible.

The logic behind

  • Haryana officials said although there is a union government’s Aadhaar card, it contains individual’s details and does not cater to the entire family as a unit.
  • In certain circumstances, it may not be possible for a state government to keep track of all the families residing in the state.
  • Although the ration card system is there, it is not updated and does not contain adequate family records.
  • With the PPP, it will be easier for the state government to maintain a complete database of all the state dwellers.

How would it work?

  • To begin with, the government has already linked PPP with three social security schemes – old age Samman allowance, divyang pension, and the widow and destitute women pension scheme.
  • For instance, when a family member turns 60, they will automatically get a message through the software and will automatically start getting benefits of the old-age pension if they meet the required criteria.
  • Similarly, the teenagers will get messages on turning 18 years old and shall become eligible for various government schemes that will be notified to them through the software.

Aadhaar Card Issues

Aadhaar, no standout performer in welfare delivery

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much.

Mains level : Paper 2- Aadhaar- how it has fared so far?

Context

Aadhaar-based biometric authentication did not reduce PDS leakages, finds Jharkhand-based empirical study

What was the rationale behind Aadhaar?

  • What did the UIDAI’s report say? Aadhaar has curtailed leakages of government subsidies. Through Aadhaar, savings worth ₹90,000 crores have accrued to the government– UIDAI’s2017-18 annual report.
  • Plugging the leakages in the schemes: When Aadhaar was conceived a decade ago, the rationale postulated was: India spends nearly three trillion rupees a year across several core welfare programmes such as Public Distribution System (PDS), LPG, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act etc.
    • Huge leakage due to duplications: Roughly 30-40% of this three trillion is lost in leakages.
    • Leakages are largely due to ‘ghost’ and ‘duplicate’ beneficiaries using fake identities to avail these benefits; a unique identity biometric scheme can eliminate these leakages and vastly improve efficiency in welfare delivery.
  • Improve welfare delivery efficiency: In fact, the former Union Minister, Arun Jaitley, even renamed the Aadhaar Bill to ‘Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services’ Bill, making it amply clear that Aadhaar’s primary, if not sole purpose, was to improve welfare delivery efficiency.

What are the findings of study?

  • How was the study carried out?
    • Use of RCT and sample of 15 million people: They conducted a scientifically designed study of the PDS system in Jharkhand covering 15 million beneficiaries using the technique of randomised control trials (RCT).
    • In the study, one set of beneficiaries went through the Aadhaar-based biometric authentication while the other group used the old system of procuring their ration.
  • The results were then compared to see if Aadhaar-based biometric authentication had any impact in reducing leakages.
  • What were the findings of the study?
  • No measurable benefit: The study concluded that Aadhaar-based biometric authentication had no measurable benefit.
    • No reduction in leakages: Aadhaar-based biometric authentication did not reduce leakages due to elimination of ghosts and duplicates, as widely perceived.
  • Increase in transaction costs for beneficiary: On the other hand, they found that Aadhaar-based biometric authentication increased transaction costs for beneficiaries.
    • 17% extra cost: That is, to claim ration worth ₹40, beneficiaries in the Aadhaar system incurred an additional ₹7 of costs than those in the old system, because of multiple trips to authenticate themselves and the opportunity cost of time spent.
    • This is a whopping 17% extra cost burden of the value of the benefit they were entitled to receive.
  • Type 1 error of exclusion: To make matters worse, Aadhaar-based biometric authentication also introduced what empirical scientists call Type I error of exclusion.
    • Aadhaar authentication falsely rejected genuine PDS beneficiaries who were then denied their ration supplies.
    • The study finds that nearly 10% of legitimate beneficiaries were denied their ration either because they did not have their Aadhaar linked to their ration card or due to an exclusion error.
  • Summary of the finding: In summary, the study states that there was-
    • No direct impact of Aadhaar in reducing leakages.
    • 2. It denied ration to 10% of genuine beneficiaries and increased costs by 17% to those that were forced to get their ration using Aadhaar.
    • Pain with no gain: They conclude that Aadhaar authentication for PDS in Jharkhand caused “some pain with no gain”.

What premises were wrong about Addhaar?

  • No testing of empirical belief: There was a widespread belief among the policy elite that ghosts and duplicates were the scourge of India’s welfare delivery and that Aadhaar would eliminate this.
    • But this belief was never empirically tested.
    • Based on this belief, an entire story was concocted about improving welfare efficiency by eliminating ghosts and duplicates with Aadhaar and a whole new law was enacted to this effect.
  • The pilot project not carried out: Many studies now establish that ghosts and duplicates are not the significant cause of leakages.
    • It would have been better to have undertaken a robust pilot project of scale to test the belief about ghosts and duplicates, before embarking on it nationwide.

Conclusion

In a sociologist’s world and in a liberal society, a policy that could run the risk of denying welfare to just a few people, putting their lives at risk, is not worth implementing regardless of how many millions it benefits.

 

 

 

 

Aadhaar Card Issues

[op-ed snap] To achieve its full potential, Aadhaar should be made easier and safer to use

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Aadhaar - working and way ahead

Context

From 2010, when Ranjana Sonawane received the first Aadhaar number, in less than 10 years, 95% of the adult residents in India have gotten Aadhaar. 

Aadhaar

  • ID – For a large number of these people, Aadhaar was the first usable ID. Without Aadhaar, they found it difficult to access services.
  • Survey – the latest State of Aadhaar Report (SoAR) — a study that attempts to capture the impact of Aadhaar in the real world brought out the voice of the users.
  • Satisfaction – they are satisfied with Aadhaar (92%), trust that the data is safe (90%) and feel that it has made PDS rations, MGNREGS and other social programmes more reliable (80%). 

Significance of Aadhaar

  • State of living – Away from the experts, people who do not always get enough to eat are living. For them, exclusion isn’t a concept, but a lived reality.
  • Report findings on service access
    • nearly 50% of the people have used Aadhaar to access rations, MGNREGS, social pensions, SIM cards or bank accounts for the first time.
    • 81% of Aadhaar holders say that they will provide it if they have a choice of which ID to provide.
    • 61% of beneficiaries trust that Aadhaar prevents others from accessing their benefits.

Limitations of Aadhaar

  • Authentication – there are some cases where authentication fails because the biometrics are defaced due to age. Supreme Court judge, Justice Srikrishna, recounted how he too had trouble in getting authenticated due to the difficulty of scanning his fingerprints.
  • UIDAI assurance – UIDAI has maintained that there would be individuals for whom biometric authentication does not work. 
  • Exception handling mechanism – Failure to authenticate cannot be a reason to deny any services to them and the organisation requesting the authentication must provide an exception handling mechanism in such cases.

Way ahead

  • The report indicates a need for the state to wrap the unfinished agenda of ensuring that Aadhaar works for everyone.
  • Marginalised groups must be enrolled, the process to update records should be made simpler, the grievance redress systems need to be strengthened, and exclusions due to Aadhaar could be eliminated.
  • Focus on improving the user experience, making it easier for everyone to use Aadhaar safely every day.

Aadhaar Card Issues

Explained: Should Aadhaar be linked to social media accounts?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Debate over right to privacy

  • From January 2020 the Supreme Court will hear cases seeking the linking of Aadhaar with social media profiles of individuals.
  • It will be the first big legal battle on the right to privacy after the Supreme Court held in a landmark verdict in 2017 that privacy is a fundamental right.

What is the Issue?

The two significant questions of law that the court will look into are:

  1. Whether mandatory linking of Aadhaar to social media accounts violates an individual’s right to privacy, and
  2. The balance between intermediary liability and free speech.

Context

  • The government submitted an affidavit stating that the Internet has emerged as a potent tool to cause unimaginable disruption to the democratic polity.
  • It said that it will notify “extant rules” for “effective regulation of intermediaries” such as social media platforms.
  • Intermediaries, as defined by the IT Act, 2000, include telecom service providers, network service providers, Internet service providers, web-hosting service providers, search engines, online payment sites, online auction sites, online market places, and cyber cafes.
  • Section 87 of the IT Act gives power to the central government to frame Rules; currently, Rules framed in 2011 regulate intermediaries.

The cases

  • Facebook, WhatsApp and Google had appealed for the transfer of such cases to the Supreme Court from the Madras, Bombay and Madhya Pradesh High Courts, where at least four such cases were pending.
  • In October 2018, Sagar Suryavanshi, an advocate, moved the Bombay High Court seeking a ban on all paid political content online 48 hours before elections.
  • Suryavanshi has withdrawn the case, and informed the High Court that he would join the proceedings before the Supreme Court as an intervener.
  • In July 2019, advocate Amitabh Gupta move the MP High Court seeking mandatory KYC of all social media users using Aadhaar and other identity proof.
  • Facebook argued that these cases involved answering questions related to fundamental rights — specifically the rights to privacy and free speech.
  • If different High Courts heard the cases separately and gave conflicting verdicts, citizens’ fundamental rights could be affected, Facebook argued.

New guidelines on the way

  • The central government informed the apex Court that fresh guidelines for regulating intermediaries under the IT Act were in the pipeline.
  • There are various messages and content spread/shared on the social media, some of which are harmful. Some messages can incite violence.
  • There may be messages which are against the sovereignty and integrity of the country. Social media has today become the source of large amount of pornography.
  • Paedophiles use social media in a big way. Drugs, weapons and other contraband can be sold through the use of platforms run by the intermediaries the court said.
  • In January, the Ministry for Information and Technology had published draft Rules on regulating intermediaries, seeking responses from the public.

Privacy and sovereignty

  • The Madras High Court had sought an affidavit from V Kamakoti, a professor with IIT Madras, who said he could provide the technology to enable the intermediary to decrypt the encrypted message when necessary.
  • WhatsApp, on the other hand, has submitted that it is impossible for it to trace the creator of the “questionable content” since it has end-to-end encryption.
  • While the court highlighted that “de-encryption, if available easily, could defeat the fundamental right of privacy.
  • The court said that de-encryption of messages may be done under special circumstances but it must be ensured that the privacy of an individual is not invaded.
  • At the same time “the sovereignty of the state and the dignity and reputation of an individual are required to be protected”.

Aadhaar Card Issues

Multipurpose National ID Card (MPNIC)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : MPNIC

Mains level : Need for MPNIC

  • India could have a single multi-purpose unique card that will serve as an identity card and double up as a voter card, PAN and even a passport said Union Home Minister.

Multipurpose National ID Card (MPNIC)

  • MPNIC was first suggested by a 2001 report on “Reforming the National Security System” by an empowered Group of Ministers during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
  • The GOM report itself was a response to the K Subrahmanyam-led Kargil Review Committee, which was instituted in the wake of the Kargil conflict of 1999.
  • The GOM included LK Advani, (MHA), George Fernandes (Minister of Defence), Jaswant Singh (MEA), and Yashwant Sinha (Minister of Finance) recommended MPNIC in relation to the growing threat from illegal migration.

Are we seeing the reprise of the MPNIC?

  • It is difficult to surmise if MPNIC exactly is being reprised.
  • Although there is no such scheme in the offing, it was possible to get rid of excess processes and cards such as the Aadhaar card, the voter card, the identity card etc.
  • But the government would want to link various databases if it intends to create a card that works as a single point of access to various accounts held by an individual.
  • Moreover, technology has taken a giant leap since the MPNIC was first proposed in 2001.
  • A good example of that is the existence of the Aadhaar database, which now has almost all residents of India on it.

Back2Basics

National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID)

  • The government is expected to launch the NATGRID by the start of 2020.
  • The Natgrid would reportedly be used by 10 agencies such as Intelligence Bureau (IB), Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW), CBI, and ED among others.
  • It aims to scour data real-time from 21 databases such as airline travel, credit card transactions etc with the aim to track and prevent terror and illegal immigration activities.
  • The existence of the Natgrid would obviate the original need of MPNIC – that of tracking terror suspects and illegal immigrants.

Aadhaar Card Issues

[op-ed snap] Privacy rights, wrongs

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Security - Privacy - Technology debate; Aadhaar issue

CONTEXT

Supreme Court has agreed to hear together multiple public interest litigations pending in Madras, Bombay and Madhya Pradesh high courts, calling for the linking of Aadhaar with social media accounts. 

Why the linkage

  1. Death threats, criminal intimidation, smearing and stalking are commonplace in social media.
  2. The mills of rumor and fake news have the capacity to spark violence and conflict.

Challenges to the linkage

  1. It could have international implications and inspire litigation in other nations. 
  2. Privacy is at stake. Supreme Court clarified it and defined it as a “guaranteed fundamental right” in 2017. That SC judgment was hailed by Electronic Frontier Foundation, the pioneering digital civil liberties group.
  3. The right to privacy is fundamental and cannot be reduced under normal circumstances.
  4. The data security of Aadhaar remains doubtful and it is not mandatory even for banking purposes.

What needs to be taken care of

  1. The balance between the imperatives of privacy and security should be maintained.
  2. Right to life is absolute until a death sentence is pronounced, and the right to liberty can be conditional only in a state of unrest or emergency. 
  3. The question of striking a balance with an absolute right cannot arise under normal circumstances. 

Way ahead

  1. Phone numbers associated with social media accounts can identify owners with complete accuracy since sim cards are issued against identity documents.
  2. The technical solution to the problem – AI can identify dubious content by textual analysis and flag it as spam or malware. Twitter proactively swept away Chinese accounts spreading disinformation about the Hong Kong protests. 

Conclusion

The Supreme Court should mandate a technical solution because it cannot encroach upon the very value that is upheld and protected.

Aadhaar Card Issues

[pib] Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the amendment

Mains level : Aadhaar and associated issues

  • In a major move aimed at making Aadhaar making people friendly, the Union Cabinet has approved “The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019” to replace the earlier ordinance.
  • The Ordinance amongst other things envisaged strengthening of the Aadhaar Act as per the directions of the Supreme Court and recommendations of Justice B.N.Srikrishna Committee.

Details of the Amendment Bill

The salient features of the amendments are as follows—

  • Provides for voluntary use of Aadhaar number in physical or electronic form by authentication or offline verification with the consent of Aadhaar  number holder;
  • Provides for use of twelve-digit Aadhaar number or its alternative virtual identity.
  • Gives an option to children who are Aadhaar number holders to cancel their Aadhaar number on attaining the age of eighteen years;
  • Permits the entities to perform authentication only when they are compliant with the standards of privacy and security specified by the Authority
  • Allows the use of Aadhaar number for authentication on voluntary basis as acceptable KYC document under the Telegraph Act, 1885 and the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002;
  • Proposes deletion of section 57 of the Aadhaar Act relating to use of Aadhaar by private entities;
  • Prevents denial of services for refusing to, or being unable to, undergo authentication;
  • Provides for establishment of Unique Identification Authority of India Fund;
  • Provides for civil penalties, its adjudication, and appeal thereof in regard to violations of Aadhaar Act.

Impact:

  • The decision would enable UIDAI to have a more robust mechanism to serve the public interest and restrain the misuse of Aadhar.
  • No individual shall be compelled to provide proof of possession of Aadhaar number or undergo authentication for the purpose of establishing his identity unless it is so provided by a law made by Parliament.

Aadhaar Card Issues

How Justice Chandrachud’s dissent on Aadhaar influenced Jamaica ruling

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Aadhaar and associated issues

  • In a recent ruling in Jamaica, its top court stroked down National Identification and Registration Act, which would have allowed collection of biometric information from all citizens to be centrally stored.
  • The apex court of Jamaica relied heavily on Indian SC Justice D Y Chandrachud’s dissenting judgment on the Aadhaar Act last year.

India comes to scene

  • Aadhar data thefts are very well versed in news these days, invoking the dissents for Aadhar.
  • Justice Chandrachud had expressed the sole dissenting opinion in a 4:1 verdict that had upheld the Aadhaar Act.

Dissenting opinion matters

  • The court referred to Justice Chandrachud’s (JC) observation that when biometric systems are adopted in the absence of strong legal frameworks can pose “grave threats to privacy and personal security.
  • Their application can be broadened to facilitate discrimination, profiling and mass surveillance.
  • He also referred to JC’s observations about recent trends indicating reluctance of developed countries to deploy biometric technology including scrapping of the National Id Register and ID cards in the UK.
  • Justice Chandrachud demonstrated a greater sensitivity to the issues of privacy and freedom that is not as evident in the judgments of the majority.
  • He had a clear-eyed view of the dangers of a state or anyone having control over one’s personal information and generally.

Why Indian case is relevant globally?

  • Justice Chandrachud’s observation that absence of an independent regulatory framework renders the Act largely ineffective while dealing with data violations.
  • A fair data protection regime requires establishment of an independent authority to deal with the contraventions of the data protection framework as well as to proactively supervise its compliance.
  • There is a dire need for a strong independent and autonomous body which has the power to examine the operations of the Authority and report to an institution that is independent of the Authority.

Consent at Peril

  • Justice Chandrachud had observed that the “proportionality test failed because the Aadhar Act allowed private entities to use Aadhaar numbers.
  • It would lead to commercial exploitation of the personal data and profiling without consent.
  • Profiling can be used to predict market behaviour and preferences and even influence the choice for political office.
  • These are contrary to privacy protection norms. Susceptibility to communal exploitation renders the relevant provisions arbitrary.
  • The failure to define ‘services and benefits’ also were unreasonable and disproportionate.

Way Forward: One right cannot be taken away at the behest of another

  • The state failed to demonstrate that the targeted delivery of subsidies entails a necessary sacrifice of the right to individual autonomy, data protection and dignity.
  • The technology deployed in the Aadhaar scheme reduces different constitutional identities into a single identity of a 12-digit number.
  • This infringes the right of an individual to identify her or himself through a chosen means.
  • Aadhaar is about identification and is an instrument which facilitates a proof of identity. It must not be allowed to obliterate constitutional identity.

Aadhaar Card Issues

[op-ed snap]A bridge to nowhere

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: Read the attached story

Mains level: Problems marginalized section is facing due to diversion of payments under direct benefit transfer


News

CONTEXT

Poor are facing problems due to diverted payments and aadhar based payment system.

Background

  • The mass diversion of LPG subsidies to Airtel wallets that came to light in 2017.
  • Many of the wallets were unwanted, or even unknown to the recipients. Those affected, fortunately, included millions of middle-class Airtel customers who protested when the goof-up emerged.

What is diverted payments?

  • This is an instance of what might be called “diverted payments” — bank payments being redirected to a wrong account, without the recipient’s consent or knowledge.
  • diverted payments have become a widespread problem in recent years, not so much for the middle class as for powerless people such as old-age pensioners and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) workers.
  • The main culprit is the Aadhaar Payment Bridge System (APBS).

ABPS

  • The basic idea of the APBS, an offspring of the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), is that a person’s Aadhaar number becomes her financial address.
  • Instead of having to provide multiple account details (say, her name, bank account number and IFSC code) to receive a bank transfer, she only has to provide her Aadhaar number.

Introducing Bank account into ABPS

  • Induction of a bank account into APBS involves two distinct steps, both of which are meant to be based on informed consent.
  • First, the account must be “seeded” with the customer’s Aadhaar number.
  • Second, it must be connected to the NPCI mapper — a step known as “mapping”.
  • In cases of multiple accounts for the same person, the APBS automatically sends money to the latest-mapped account.
  • When the Jan Dhan Yojana (JDY) was launched Aadhaar numbers were seeded into these accounts without proper verification.

Problems and challenges with ABPS

  • Haphazard seeding continued well beyond 2014 because the government wanted to bring all direct benefit transfer (DBT) payments — pensions, scholarships, subsidies, MGNREGA wages, and so on — under the Aadhaar payments umbrella.
  • Thus the groundwork required for APBS to work — reliable seeding of bank accounts with Aadhaar — had simply not been done when the APBS was rolled out.

1.Problems with E-KYC

  • The seeding mess, it seems, was sought to be cleaned up by making “e-KYC” compulsory.
  • To enforce e-KYC, many banks used the “ultimatum method”: a deadline was set, and people’s accounts were blocked when they missed the deadline.
  • Compulsory e-KYC became a nightmare for poor people, for a number of reasons:
    • Some did not know what they were supposed to do.
    • Others had problems of biometric authentication.
    • Others still struggled with inconsistencies between the Aadhaar database and the bank database.
    • Among the worst victims were old-age pensioners.
    • To this day, in Jharkhand, many pensioners are struggling to understand why their pension was discontinued after e-KYC was made compulsory.

2.Forcing of ABPS

  • APBS was forced on millions without consent.
  • Mapping (the induction of an Aadhaar-seeded account into the APBS), according to NCPI and UIDAI guidelines, should be based on an explicit request from the customer.
  • This gives a measure of protection to educated middle-class customers. It ensures, for instance, that they know which account their money is being directed to by the APBS.
  • For poor people, however, consent is a fiction.
  • In Jharkhand at least, bank accounts have been mass-mapped onto the APBS without any semblance of consent.

Impact of diverted payments

  • The result of this premature and coercive imposition of the APBS is that diverted payments have become a serious problem in Jharkhand.
  • For example, recent victims include Premani Kunwar, an elderly widow in Garhwa district who died of hunger on December 1, 2017, two months after her pension was diverted by the APBS to someone else’s account.
  • Others affected are MGNREGA workers.
  • Already discouraged by delays in wage payments, they have to contend now with diverted payments and other pathologies of the APBS.

Other Problems with ABPS

  • rejected payments — another nightmare for powerless DBT recipients.
  • Second, these problems are magnified by a pervasive lack of accountability.
  • When people have problems of diverted or rejected payments, they have no recourse.
  • Third, none of this seems to perturb the agencies that are promoting the APBS and related financial technologies.
  • nobody appears to be in charge of enforcing the consent norms and other “guidelines” issued by the NPCI.

Conclusion

The RBI may be the nominal regulator, but the real action is at the NPCI, the UIDAI and other strongholds of the Aadhaar lobby.The UIDAI did take cosmetic damage control measures from time to time in the last two years. Judging from Jharkhand’s experience, however, the pathologies of the APBS continue to cause havoc on the ground. An independent and participatory review of the system is long overdue.

 

 

 

Aadhaar Card Issues

Indians can use Aadhaar to visit Nepal, Bhutan

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | India & its neighborhood- relations.

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Travel norms mentioned in the newscard

Mains level: India’s ties with Nepal and Bhutan


News

  • Aadhaar cards are now valid travel documents for Indians under 15 and over 65 travelling to Nepal and Bhutan, according to a Home Ministry communique.

New norms for Nepal

  1. Indian citizens going to Nepal and Bhutan don’t need a visa if they have a valid passport, a photo identity card issued by the government of India or an election ID card issued by the Election Commission.
  2. Earlier, persons over 65 and under 15 could show their PAN card, driving licence, Central Government Health Service (CGHS) card or ration card, but not the Aadhaar, to prove their identity and visit the two countries.
  3. The Aadhaar card has now been added to the list.
  4. A certificate of registration issued by the Embassy of India, Kathmandu, to Indian nationals is not an acceptable travel document for travelling between India and Nepal.
  5. However, the emergency certificate and identity certificate issued by the Indian Embassy in Nepal will be valid for single journey for travelling back to India.
  6. Article 7 the 1950 Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship allows free movement of people between the two nations on a reciprocal basis.

Other rules

  1. Teens between 15 to 18 years will be allowed to travel between India and Nepal on the basis of an identity certificate issued by the principal of their school in a prescribed form.
  2. In case of a family (like husband, wife, minor children and parents) travelling together, all persons will not be required to carry relevant documents (such as a passport or an election ID) if one of the adult members has valid travel papers.
  3. The other family members must have some proof of their identity with a photograph and their relationship as a family, such as a CGHS card, ration card, a driving licence or an ID card issued by school/college.

Why such move?

  1. About six lakh Indians live in Nepal, according to data by the Ministry of External Affairs.
  2. Nepal shares a border of over 1,850 km with five Indian states — Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

A case for Bhutan

  1. Indian nationals travelling to Bhutan need to have either an Indian passport with minimum validity of six months or a voter identity card issued by the Election Commission of India.
  2. Bhutan, which shares borders with the Indian states of Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and West Bengal, has about 60,000 Indian nationals, employed mostly in the hydroelectric power and construction industry.
  3. In addition, between 8,000 and 10,000 daily workers enter and exit Bhutan everyday in border towns.
  4. The 1949 Treaty of Friendship between India and Bhutan allows for free movement of people between the two nations on a reciprocal basis.

Aadhaar Card Issues

[op-ed snap] Aadhar Amendment Bill-How it affects you

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 critically analyses the issues wrt Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018, in a brief manner.


Context

  • The Aadhaar Amendment Bill was pushed through the Lok Sabha— without any debate and no discussion.

Analysis of the proposed Aadhar Amendment Bill and how it can be interpreted in light of the recent SC judgment

 

  1. Alternative virtual identity
  • Along with the 12-digit Aadhaar enrolment number, an  “alternative virtual identity” generated by the UIDAI has been added when the “requesting entity” asks for verification.
  • Area of concern:  The rules of what a “virtual identity” would be or how it would be used, or even who can use it are not defined.

 

  1. Children can opt out
  • Section 3A introduced in the Amendment allows a person who was enroled in the Aadhaar system as a child to file an application to cancel their Aadhaar enrolment within six months of turning 18.

Area of concern: While the provision allows a child to opt out of Aadhaar on turning 18 years of age, Aadhaar will still be required for those who want to avail any benefit or subsidy from the government. Further, there is no provision to allow an adult to request cancellation of their Aadhaar enrolment.

  1. Offline verification 
  • Instead of a biometric authentication of Aadhaar number, offline verification using the Aadhaar number has been introduced.

Area of concern: 

  • Section 4 clause 4 of the Amendment Bill includes the term “an entity” which can be permitted by the UIDAI to perform Aadhaar authentication.
  • Activists and lawyers also point out that “an entity” in this clause can include private companies if the government permits them to authenticate Aadhaar. The earlier provision for allowing private entities to conduct Aadhaar authentication had been struck down by the Supreme Court.
  1. Aadhaar as purely voluntary for KYC under the Telegraph Act and under PMLA for Banking and financial services
  • Even though the Supreme Court struck down mandatory Aadhaar linking for KYC of mobile phone connections, and under PMLA for Bank accounts, the Aadhaar amendment specifies that customers can choose Aadhaar authentication, offline verification or their passport or any other form of identification that is allowed by the government.
  • The amendment proposed for the PMLA also recognises that “other reporting entities” that are not banks — i.e., financial institutions — cannot ask for Aadhaar authentication but can use offline verification or other forms of ID.

Area of concern

  • The amendment under PMLA is also slightly unclear since it allows banks to conduct Aadhaar authentication in addition to other forms of identity, which goes against the SC verdict that allowed Aadhaar authentication only for access to government subsidies and services. Also, private banks would come under the definition of “banking services”.
  • Further, the PMLA provision says that “other reporting entities” could also be given access to Aadhaar authentication if they comply with privacy and security standards.
  • This is an area of concern since it could be used to allow private service providers to access Aadhaar authentication.
  1. Civil penalties
  • The Bill also introduces civil penalties for violating Aadhaar norms and illegal access to data under chapter 6A added by the Amendment Act.
  • The proposed Section 33A says that a civil penalty of up to one crore rupees may be imposed on an entity for violating Aadhaar norms. Also, for each additional violation by the same entity, an additional penalty of up to 10 lakh rupees per day may be imposed if violation of the rules continues.
  • The inquiry for such violation will be conducted by a Joint Secretary or higher level officer appointed by the UIDAI.

Area of concern

  • Any person whose identity has been compromised cannot file a civil complaint — only the UIDAI can initiate a complaint about the violation, and the inquiry will be conducted by the UIDAI appointed official.
  • Appeals can be filed before the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal by the entity on whom the fine has been imposed. However, only the UIDAI can file an appeal if the adjudicating officer takes a decision in favour of the entity.
  • Also, no complaint can be filed before a civil court. Only the Supreme Court can hear appeals against the order of the Tribunal.
  1. Enhancement of criminal penalties.
  • Criminal complaints can be filed by a person whose identity has been violated. Under Section 38 and 39, which prescribed punishment for corrupting data or accessing the central data repository, or for denying services, the punishment has been enhanced from a maximum of three years to a maximum jail term of 10 years. Under Section 42, punishment has been enhanced from a maximum of one year to a maximum of three years.
  • Also, in what will come as a relief to activists, the amendment in section 47 proposes to allow a person whose identity is violated to approach a criminal court to file a complaint under sections 34 (impersonation), section 35 (appropriation of identity to change information), 36 (unlawful collection of Aadhaar data), 37 (disclosure of identity related information), section 40 (using identity information for other purpose) and 41 (violation by enrolling agency).

Area of concern:

  • All these offences are bailable and carry a jail term of a maximum of three years. Activists had raised concerns about the danger of identity theft and violations. Stricter penalties have been imposed only under sections 38 and 39, for unauthorised access or leaking or distribution of data from the central data repository.
  • Complaints under 38 and 39 can only be made by the UIDAI.
  1. Surveillance and national security
  • Disclosure of Aadhaar data under section 33(1), including authentication of records, can now be done only on the orders of a high court judge. The Aadhaar Act had given the power to a district judge to pass such orders.
  • Also, for disclosure on court orders, both the UIDAI and the person whose data is being disclosed will now be given the opportunity for a hearing. Also, the court cannot order disclosure of core biometric information.
  • Under section 33(2), where the government could order disclosure of Aadhaar data and records “for national security”, the official required to sign off on such a request is now a secretary-level officer, higher than the previous provision of a joint secretary level official.

Area of concern: 

  • The Supreme Court had specifically struck down section 33(2) that allowed for disclosure of identity “for national security” and had said there has to be “involvement of a judicial officer, preferably a High Court judge” before such an order could be passed.
  • This suggestion has been ignored.
  • The national security provision also does not allow for any hearing from the UIDAI or the person concerned. It also does not include the provision to protect core biometrics, as has been specified under 33(1).

Safeguards

  • Any entity that conducts offline verification of Aadhaar cannot conduct online authentication. The collection, storage or use of Aadhaar number or biometric data cannot be done by an entity that conducts offline verification.

Area of concern: 

  • Since the “offline verification” has been introduced by the amendment, how this will actually be conducted is not clear.

Aadhaar Card Issues

Aadhaar Card Issues

[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 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
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VARSHA PALAVE
VARSHA PALAVE
11 months ago

Good article