Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Is India willing to think that technology-led solutions can enhance governance & transparency in the country? Ought to nice be given away for the sake of perfection?


To reach masses, reduce the digital divide & have inclusive growth, development initiatives like UID are a game changer. The current debate around UID project-relevance, know-how, security & privacy, duplication of work, costs-indicate that the owner makers are having second thoughts. After years & 100 million registrations, they ought to not be doubting fundamentals of the project, but focus on addressing issues & finding solutions. Open ended review processes delay successful execution of any dream project. 

The UID project in all its details went through interministerial scrutiny & was cleared by the Cabinet. It was supported by states, irrespective of political affiliations. If the concerns are on project costs, then the one-time cost of implementation of this project would be a fraction of the funds lost through leakages in our social schemes, apart from the multifold improvement in efficacy. It will be leveraged by the Centre, state & local governments as well as the private sector. They must not forget the mandate of UID is of a developmental project & ought to not be burdened with issues of security, terrorism, illegal immigration etc.

UID is the only project in the world that leverages multimodal biometrics combining fingerprint & iris with the accuracy levels of 99.9%. Is there a better way of providing identity of the last man & woman in an Indian village who cannot even spell their names? For its high degree of accuracy, among others, biometrics are also being used by the US Immigration authorities for authentication. 

There can be privacy & security concerns associated in dealing with citizen's information that may get interlinked. UIDAI stores biometrics, it is only for authentication & personal information cannot be accessed. Banks, PDS, immigration & income tax can embed the Aadhar but each will manage & control its own information. The probability of all agencies colluding to profile citizen is  negligible. Moreover, a privacy bill is being drafted to make positive legal enforcement. 

Concerns on duplication of efforts, inter-ministerial collaboration, the role of state governments & the Centre, use of multiple private agencies, delays etc may be valid concerns, but are operational in nature & can be resolved. They must think this is the right initiative for India & risks of not doing higher. A project of this magnitude will have naysayers, fence-sitters, vested interest & those uncomfortable with alter. There's even larger number who understand the chance that this provides. Do most revolutions get caught in a political crossfire? Can they step aside & make way for national interest? They cannot make it another progressive project lost in the din? Let us put our convictions together to resolve the issue & put UID back on rapid track.
Source:TOI

Friday, January 13, 2012

Government might have put FDI in multi-brand retail owner in ice storage but it is the first thing that the farmers have sought in the upcoming Budget.


Unlike past years, farmers demands charter reads different this year thinking about the Government doesn't have money now and for the next few years due to economic slowdown, policyowner paralysis, and mega projects like MGNREGA and National Food Security Bill (NFSB). While NFSB will need `6 lakh crore over the next three years, MGNREGA will need `60,000 crore every year.


In a budgetary consultation on agriculture with the Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Consortium of Indian Farmers Association (CIFA) a of the largest consortiums of farmers in the country  listed it as the first demand.
why they sought liberalisation, policies and reforms in this year Budget,said Chengal Reddy, Secretary General of CIFA.

The consortium said that the Government ought to approve FDI in multi-brand retail, remove restrictions on sugar levy and release, liberalise export, permit commodity trading and implement Aadhar card to enable direct money subsidy to farmers and PDS beneficiaries.

Farmers said unremunerative prices and high labour cost are the most critical issues and MGNREGA ought to be linked to agriculture. The consortium also sought priority lending status for dairy sector at interest of four percent to check increase in milk cost.

Aadhar, which has the potential check misuse of subsidies, is in a limbo after rejection from the standing committee on finance. Farmers require Aadhar project to go on as this will cease pilferage of fertilizer, kerosene, PDS and other subsidies.

Reddy said that Mukherjee, who was accompanied by Agriculture Secretary PK Basu and Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices chairman Ashok Gulati, told the delegation of farmers the budget would concentrate on increasing agri production (to fulfill NFSM grain requirement), reducing production variations (to check steep inflation) and reforms.

Source:dailypioneer

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Scrap Nandan Nilekani Aadhar Project


Describing the action of advancing advantageous Aadhar character cards as illegal, a PIL filed in the Madras High Court has approved to atom the project, adage claimed and biometric capacity of citizens are actuality calm after the permission of Parliament.

When the address filed by S Raju of Vriddhachalam in Cuddalore commune came up for acceptance today, the aboriginal bank absolute Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice K B K Vasuki beneath to break activity of the Unique Character Authority of India (UIDAI) but issued apprehension to the Centre, Tamil Nadu government and UIDAI.


When the abode was taken up, Raju's admonition N G R Prasad submitted that the UIDAI, constituted through an controlling order, had no admiral to abridge claimed capacity of bodies for Aadhar cards. Headed by co-chairman of Infosys Nandan Nilekani, UIDAI has so far spent Rs 673 crore amid January 2009 and Nov 2011, while estimated amount for 2011-2012 would be Rs 1,500 crore.

The admonition acicular out that back an attack was afresh fabricated to acquaint a Bill in Parliament, the Standing Board on Finance discussed and alone it on assorted grounds. "One of the capital area aloft by the board is that the Aadhar activity is a blackmail to civic aegis and abusage of abstracts of residents," he claimed.

Without any approved antecedent for its existence, UIDAI has been entering into MoUs accompaniment governments, axial government organisations and clandestine entities to assassinate the project, it said, abacus bodies are actuality asked to accommodate capacity like name, age, address, afar from scanned images of fingerprints and iris.

"It is cogent to accompaniment that in the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of Civic Identity Cards) Rules 2003, there is no acknowledgment of accession biometric abstracts from the residents."

Prasad acclaimed that accumulating of such capacity after any permission from any approved ascendancy or Parliament is actionable and that it amounted to austere contravention of the built-in rights of citizens.

Prasad bidding apprehensions over the Centre's claims that the capacity are actuality aggregate for the purpose of aegis and accepting abundance schemes and arguable that the achievability of abusage of claimed capacity was actual high. "If the activity is aimed at distributing abundance schemes, how appear assets and bloom accompanying capacity are not excluded?" he asked.

Noting that the Citizenship Rules 2003 talked alone about "visible identification mark", the PIL said the agenda is actuality fabricated binding for casework like LPG accumulation and banks. Describing it as "surveillance profiling" and "compulsory abstraction of movements" of citizens, the abode approved disbanding of the ascendancy and putting its activities on authority with actual effect.

Source :economictimes