Every developed country including America decided to give specific, unique identity cards, but as soon as they got an indication of the risks involved, they stopped the project mid way. India is a unique country, where in the name of giving benefits to the poor, the project is still continuing. Here, from the court to the Parliamentary Committee, everybody is crying out that the Aadhaar project should be stopped, but it falls on the deaf ears of the Government. When the Government is asked the total amount that will be spent on this project, it says we do not know. When the Government is asked that biometrics data collected from the people has been shared with which companies and countries, it says we do not know. The Aadhaar card, about which the UPA Government had shown so many big dream to people, is developing into a scam which will shred the prestige of several prominent people in the country.
If an ordinary person tells a lie, practices deception and does wheeling dealing or underhand dealing in money, he is punished by a court. Several examples will be found in the country in which under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code, many people have been in jail for years for underhand dealing involving a hundred or five hundred rupees. Several Government officials are undergoing punishment for the crime of misusing public money. Whether it is a big industrialist of the country or a friend of the Prime Minister or no matter who it is, cheats the public and grossly wastes the public money, then shouldn’t such a person be punished? If it is a crime to misuse public money, why hasn’t Nandan Nilekani, the Congress Party candidate from Bengaluru, been arrested so far? Why was a case not slapped on him for cheating? Are we living in such a country where action will be taken against a person who has cheated on a comparatively small amount of money and has relatively less influence but if that person has defrauded a large amount of money, is a friend of the Prime Minister, and the media, saluted by TV anchors and editors, not a single voice will be raised against him even if he wastes thousands of crores of rupees of the Government?
Nandan Nilekani is the father of the project to make Aadhaar cards in the country. He has imposed this project on the country through deception. He is the first such person in the country, who, without taking oath remained at a high ranking post equivalent to that of a Cabinet Minister. He was the Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) which was responsible for preparing the Aadhaar cards. Currently he is contesting the Lok Sabha elections as the Congress Party candidate from Bengaluru. When his candidature created an uproar, he had to resign from his post but amidst all this the Supreme Court issued orders due to which his problems have increased. The Supreme Court ruled that the Aadhaar card is not compulsory and the Government should immediately withdraw its order to make the Aadhaar card mandatory. The Court has also directed UIDAI not to give the biometrics data to any other institution or organisation. The Supreme Court also also struck down a Bombay High Court decision that called on the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to share biometric data for criminal investigations.
The Supreme Court also said that due to not having an Aadhaar card, no person should be deprived of any Government service. This means that whether it is cooking gas or any other service, now you can avail these services without the Aadhaar card. However a case related to the Aadhaar card is going on in court, after which the Government and Nandan Nilekani may come in for more criticism and ridicule. Incidentally, the Aadhaar card is caught in controversies because it was Chauthi Duniya weekly newspaper that first focused on the dangers inherent in the Aadhaar card. We had revealed how the Aadhaar card was a conspiracy to pass on your and mine information to the CIA and other foreign intelligence agencies. With the passage of time, the seal of the Supreme Court is being put on everything that Chauthi Duniya revealed in the Aadhaar card context.
According to information received through the Right to Information law, the biometrics system is not hundred per cent accurate and secondly, the uniqueness of the Aadhaar card too is imaginary. This information has been provided by Ernst & Young Private Limited and Netmagic Solutions Private Limited who deal with the Planning Commission and with this information the basis – the ‘aadhaar’ — of the Aadhaar card is destroyed. The big claims that Nandan Nilekani had made about this card are all proved to be lies. At the beginning of the project Nandan Nilekani had claimed this was the most precise and highly specialised card so far and could not be duplicated. Nandan Nilekani should explain why he misled the country?
When the Central Government launched the Aadhaar card project, its features were embroidered with big stories. Tall claims were made that now people would be freed from the hassle of producing different kinds of identity cards for different things, but bungling in this UPA Government dream project is at its peak. By spending a certain amount of money anyone can get an Aadhaar card made. Recently a sting operation by a site revealed that by giving a certain amount of money, illegal Bangladeshi migrants can easily get an Aadhaar card made and become accredited citizens of India and gain valid voting rights. Whereas a Minister of the UPA Government and Nandan Nilekani, the boss of this project had assured that no illegal migrant will be able to get a fake identity card of our country made and nor can a duplicate of the card be made. The Aadhaar card project has been has now fully taken the shape of a scam. The Supreme Court will now have to decide whether any criminal case against Nandan Nilekani can be framed or not.
It is also a scandal because now the technical and legal basis of the Aadhaar card is in the grip of questions. By admitting the technical flaws, institutions and organisations linked with the project have exposed all the claims which Nandan Nilekani had been marketing so far. After these disclosures, the Government and the UIDAI will find it difficult to give answers in the Supreme Court. We must remember that the Aadhaar card has no legal basis. This is the sole programme in the country which had already been implemented before it was introduced in Parliament. The fact is that the UPA Government could not have got this law passed in Parliament because a Parliamentary Committee had raised questions about the programme itself. The Parliamentary Committee has said that the programme lacks rationale. In addition, a case is underway in the Supreme Court.
The person who has filed the case against UIDAI has himself been a judge in the Karnataka High Court. Justice (retired) Puttuswamy filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court. There has been a consensus on this petition amongst many Supreme Court and High Court judges. The most important question is : under what law are the
biometrics of the people of the country being collected? After going through all the laws in the country it emerges that such a law is there only in the jail manual. Biometrics can only be taken of prisoners and that too on condition that the day the prisoners are released, biometrics files linked with the prisoner or prisoners would be burnt. But under the project the Government is bent on collecting the biometrics of the people and sending the information to foreign countries. The Supreme Court has given directions that the UIDAI cannot share the biometrics data with anyone. It is a ‘safe deposit’ of the people and sharing that biometric information with other agencies is a breach of fundamental rights.
Now here a technical question arises arises. The UIDAI has not only shared the biometrics of the people, but also has also given the information in the charge of foreign agencies. This is the way of working of the UIDAI. The care and operation of all the biometrics information, is in the hands of those companies which have relationships with such countries which are notorious for espionage and in the hands of those companies which are run by retired officers of foreign intelligence agencies. What does this mean? Are we deliberately putting our country in danger in the hands of America and foreign agencies?
It was disclosed in recent days, amongst those countries whose internet and phone records America’s security agency NSA was collecting, India was number one. To collect India’s telephone and internet data, the NSA has taken the support of two of its programmes. The funny thing is that the American Government’s Intelligence CommunityIntelligence has accepted allegations of getting spying done. United States Intelligence Community said that it does not want to answer the fact publicly, because it is a part of its intelligence policy. The Congress led UPA Government should have strongly opposed America’s misadventure, such monitoring and spying, but the opposite happened. Instead of opposing, Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid began to give strange arguments in support. Salman Khurshid said that it is not spying, it is an analysis of computer studies and call patterns. If this is not spying, Salman Khurshid must explain what is spying?
By admitting the technical flaws and therefore dangers, institutions and organisations linked with the project have exposed all the claims which Nandan Nilekani had been marketing so far. After these disclosures, the Government and the UIDAI will find it difficult to give answers in the Supreme Court. We must remember that the Aadhaar card has no legal basis. This is the sole programme in the country which had already been implemented before it was introduced in Parliament. The fact is that the UPA Government could not have got this law passed in Parliament because a Parliamentary Committee had raised questions about the programme itself. The Parliamentary Committee has said that the programme lacks rationale. In addition, a case is underway in the Supreme Court.
Of course, Edward Snowden, who was working with America’s National Security Agency made many disclosures recently. He said that in today’s information warfare India was the target of many countries. Therefore, by dealing with Ernst & Young, the Safran group, Accenture, In-Q-Tel and MongoDB the Planning Commission has played a joke with the country and the fundamental rights of the people. These companies are of those countries, whose alliance is preparing for monitoring network to watch over the whole world. Snowden had given sensational details of the American and British spy programmes in a media leak. A spying programme run by the American National Security Agency — XKeyscore – in 2008 had in its training material a map with all the server details of the entire world. According to the map, one of the American spy servers seems to be in an area adjacent to the capital of India, New Delhi. It is worth understanding that those companies at whose disposal the UIDAI has placed our information are the same companies which are considered experts in the entire world in setting up monitoring systems.
After the Second World War and before India’s Independence, a network had been developed with the sole purpose of monitoring of other countries. America’s National Security Agency, England’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Canada’s Communications Security Establishment, Australia’s Signals Directorate and New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), etc. are included in it. Now many other countries have become a part of this group. In this atmosphere India itself should take steps to make itself secure, but we take decisions which are the exact opposite. What is the reason that the Government is bent on playing with the security of the country? A Parliamentary Committee had also opposed it. The Yashwant Sinha headed Standing Committee of Parliament had very serious reservations and objections to the UID. But even then the Government paid no attention. The question that should be asked is whether biometrics data collected till now by the UIDAI been shared with any foreign company or agency? If this data is already in the hands of foreign agencies, it means we have already come under their monitoring, and secondly that the Supreme Court’s ruling which says it should not be shared has no meaning.
What needs to be understood is that these companies are active in many countries. They have all the techniques available to collect data of any country from internet companies, can hack servers can listen in to phone calls. The access of these companies extends to many countries and they can work at any level, this was disclosed by Snowden. The performance of foreign agencies and the muddle in the Aadhaar card project gives birth to a big danger. It should be hoped when the next hearing takes place in the Supreme Court on 28 April 2014, the court will focus on this danger. For the unique identity cards in the country, a company called Wipro prepared a document, and submitted it to the Planning Commission. The name of this document was ‘Strategic Vision on the UIDAI Project’ . This means that all the arguments of UID, its plan and philosophy are there in this document. Now it is said that this document has disappeared. Wipro prepared another 15 page document on the need for UID entitled ‘Does India Need a Unique Identity Number’. In this document, to explain the need for UID, Wipro gave the example of Britain. The project had been given the green signal on this plea. It was a matter of surprise that the Government of Britain had closed down its project. There had been an investigation which proved that this card is dangerous, it would lead to violation of privacy of the citizens and the general public could be the victims of spying. Now the question that arises is that when the background of the project is so baseless and devoid of vision, what is the compulsion that the Government has to implement it, setting aside all rules and laws and opposition? Just like the file has disappeared, Nandan Nilekani too has nowdisappeared.
He has now become a politician, so that when this scam comes up for debate, the whole matter may be politicised. If a new Government comes, it will have to reconsider the UID. According to the Supreme Court decision, it will have to make secure all the biometrics information collected. With foreign companies, what intelligence agreements were made will have to be told to the people. How much money has been wasted, this too the public should know and proceedings should be started to bring it back, so that in future no private company or someone created by the media can fool the people of the country and the Government.