Delhi, Bengaluru and Jaipur face protests under Rethink Aadhaar campaign

New Delhi,June30:A number of people across the country staged protests against the Unique Identification or the Aadhaar project on Friday. The protests, organised under Rethink Aadhaar, a campaign launched by a group of people concerned about the Aadhaar project, were held in New Delhi, Bengaluru and Jaipur.

The group stated the Aadhaar project was unconstitutional, technically flawed, and violated the fundamental rights and civil liberties of the citizens of India.

The group wants the government to stop the mandatory use of Aadhaar and withdraw notifications making Aadhaar compulsory for any government benefits, subsidy, or services, and children’s welfare and education schemes. They want the government to stop the commercial use of citizens’ biometrics data and want a Rajya Sabha amendment for an “Opt Out” of Aadhaar, which would allow citizens to get all stored biometrics data and authentication records deleted.

On Wednesday, the government had amended and notified the income tax rules, making it mandatory to provide the 12-digit biometric Aadhaar ID when applying for Permanent Account Number. People had been asked to link existing Aadhaar numbers with PAN by Friday, June 30. The new rules will come into effect from July 1, 2017.

This link talks more about the campaign

Evidence gatherd by the site shows the destruction of welfare programmes due to their Aadhaar linkage. The Aadhaar project also has a sinister side to it — it is a surveillance-enabling programme, which threatens privacy and democratic practice.

On June9th ,the Supreme Court on Friday upheld the validity of linking Aadhaar with Permanent Account Number (PAN). However, it exempted those who do not have Aadhaar from mandatorily getting one till it decides on whether it is a violation of privacy.

The court issued a “partial stay” on the implementation of Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act, which makes the possession of Aadhaar card necessary on or after July 1, 2017 for the continuing validity of an existing PAN and filing income tax returns.

Earlier when cricketer MS Dhoni’s Aadhaar enrollment process, by a firm called CSC e-Governance Services India Limited, and Union minister of information technology (also of law and justice), Ravi Shankar Prasad, tweeted out a picture, freezing the historic moment for posterity.Dhoni’s Aadhar details were leaked.

A civil society organization, Rethink Aadhaar Campaign (RAC), commented soon after Prasad made his intervention: “No concrete steps or plans to keep aadhaar truly voluntary were given by Prasad. Empty words and rhetoric continue, as pensioners, ration card holders, and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) workers are pushed further into poverty and exclusion.”

Interestingly, the heated short duration discussion on aadhaar began with MP Rajeev Chandrashakhar, close to the BJP, expressing apprehensions about it, and opposition MPs followed suit by criticizing the notifications making aadhaar mandatory for essential services.
Opposition MPs raised the issue of the violation of the Supreme Court’s orders and exclusions due to Aadhaar in many welfare programmes. The Supreme Court had allowed only voluntary use of aadhaar and that too for only six government schemes, they added.
Chandrashekhar raised concerns regarding verification of the database. He pointed out that before the Aadhaar Act was passed in 2016, 100 crore people had already been enrolled, but no verification of the UID database had been carried out.
Chandrashekhar also pointed out that the Standing Committee on Finance on Aadhaar had concluded that the database was going to be ineffective even for the purposes of directing subsidies. He reminded the house that the Leader of the House had conceded that privacy is a fundamental right even without the Supreme Court saying so.