Tag Archives: Aadhaar

New Delhi:The deadline for the Aadhaar-linking of bank accounts, mobile phones and all government schemes will be extended to March 31, the Supreme Court today ruled, accepting the centre's suggestion.

The order is an interim or temporary one, which will be in effect till the court decides whether making Aadhaar-linking mandatory for welfare schemes and financial transactions, like getting a loan or filing taxes, violates the constitutional right to privacy. The top court will start hearings on that issue on January 17.

The government said on Wednesday that the December 31 deadline for linking every bank account to Aadhaar can be pushed to the end of March.


The court said new bank account-holders who don't have Aadhaar cards, have to apply for these.

The top court is hearing a number of petitions that have challenged the validity of the 12-digit Unique Identification Number and the government's move to make it mandatory.




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New Delhi: The Supreme Court will hear on Thursday a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of mandatory linking of Aadhaar to various schemes.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra on Wednesday said the matter will be heard at 2 p.m. on December 14 told to news agency IANS


The petitioners are pressing for an extension of interim relief on the mandatory linking of Aadhaar to various schemes, including bank accounts and mobile numbers.







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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday asked a batch of petitioners to mention next week their plea for extension of interim relief on linking bank accounts and mobile numbers with the Aadhaar scheme.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud asked senior counsel Shyam Diwan to mention the matter next week.

The deadlines for linking of bank accounts and mobile numbers with Aadhaar are December 31, 2017 and February 6, 2018 respectively.

The court had earlier said that it would commence the hearing on the batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar in the last week of November.

Former Karnataka High Court judge Justice K.S. Puttuswamy and others have challenged the validity of Aadhaar Act on the ground it violates the fundamental right to privacy.





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Ranchi:  To most children, festival holidays bring joy and a break from studies. For Santoshi Kumari, it meant starving. The 11-year-old died on September 28 at her village in Jharkhand, months after the administration allegedly stopped giving her family subsidized food. A report by district officials says the cause of death is malaria, but her family claims she died crying, "bhaat, bhaat (rice)."

Chief Minister Raghubar Das has ordered an investigation and demanded a report within 24 hours on whether Santoshi's family was denied food for months and their ration card cancelled because it had not been linked to their Aadhaar unique ID number. "Such an unfortunate incident should not be repeated in my Jharkhand, every officer must make sure," he said amid spiraling outrage over the tragedy.

Santoshi's family held a ration card which entitles India's poorest to cheaper rice, wheat and sugar under government schemes. A non-profit, the Right to Food Campaign and NREGA Watch, alleges that a local dealer cancelled the family's food ration after a state government letter in March gave a three-week deadline for linking every ration card with Aadhaar. "My daughter died begging for rice...For four or five days, no one in the family had eaten," said Santoshi's mother Koyli Devi, who is being treated in hospital.

"She (Santoshi) would get food in the school, but because of Durga Puja holidays there was no food in the school."

Of some 700 homes in and around the village Karimati, 10 families - including that of Santoshi - were stripped of their ration card by a local officer.
Two days after Santoshi's death, reports brought activist Tara Mani Sah to the village. "When I learnt that a family is not getting food, I went there on September 30. I saw that the family neither had food nor a place to live."

Activists stress that cancelling a family's ration benefits is a violation of several Supreme Court orders since 2013, which say that an Aadhaar number cannot be made compulsory for food benefits to poor families.

Jharkhand's minister in charge of Food and Civil Supply, Saryu Rai, appeared to blame his own government as he said his orders were ignored even though he is the minister in charge. He accused the state's top official of issuing an order in complete disregard to his instructions not to cancel any ration card. "Ration cards of people with no Aadhaar card cannot be canceled. If someone has done this, then it is wrong," he said.





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New Delhi: The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on Wednesday denied there has been a security breach of its database, following reports that data of some 6,000 Indian businesses and government agencies was up for sale on Internet.

The reported breach "does not contain any confidential data of UIDAI and has not affected any services provided by the authority", said a statement from the UIDAI, a statutory authority collecting and maintaining the world's largest biometric ID system.


Over 117 crore Indians were said to have enrolled for Aadhaar till August 14 this year for direct transfer of financial benefits and other subsidies and services by the government.

"The UIDAI constantly strengthens and reviews its infrastructure and ecosystems in line with the best international security practices and technological standards and have multi-layered security and privacy considerations built into the core strategy of Aadhaar with three basic doctrines of minimal information, optimal ignorance and federated database which give higher level of security," the statement said.

The statement comes after global IT security firm Quick Heal's Enterprise Security brand Seqrite discovered an advertisement on DarkNet forum that claims to have access to data of over 6,000 Indian businesses that include Internet Service Providers (ISPs), some key government organisations, banks and enterprises.

Seqrite Cyber Intelligence Labs, along with its partner seQtree InfoServices, tracked the advertisement by an unknown hacker who priced the information at 15 Bitcoins (nearly Rs 42 lakh).

The organisations whose services were said to be at risk were UIDAI, Idea Telecom, Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), Flipkart, DRDO, Aircel, Reserve Bank of India, BSNL, SBI, TCS, ISRO, ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund, VMWare, Employees' Provident Fund Organisation and various Indian state government portals.

The UIDAI, however, said it had robust security controls and protocols to counter any attempts or malicious designs of data breach or hacking.

"Security of Aadhaar is of critical importance to the government and the UIDAI has given it paramount significance."





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New Delhi: The government is moving ahead with linking Aadhaar with mobile SIM cards and all unlinked phones will be deactivated after February 2018, said informed sources.

The sources said Aadhaar mobile linkage is being done as per the orders of Supreme Court passed in February this year in Lokniti foundation case and all SIM cards have to be verified with Aadhaar within a year from the date of judgement, with all unlinked phones to be deactivated after February next year, so criminals, fraudsters and terrorists cannot use the issued SIMs.


The sources said that biometrics cannot be stored by the mobile operators nor they have access to any of the other personal data.

They said biometrics collected should be encrypted by telecom company and sent to UIDAI at that moment itself and any storage of biometric by a service provider is a criminal offence punishable with up to three years of imprisonment under the Aadhaar Act 2016.

The Central government had told the Supreme Court in February that it would put in place, within a year, an effective mechanism for the verification of pre-paid mobile users who constitute 90 per cent of the total subscribers.

Asking the government to put in place the mechanism for the verification of existing pre-paid mobile connection holders "as early as possible", the court disposed of the petition by Lokniti Foundation seeking the scrutiny of the subscribers so that those having pre-paid mobile connections on fake identities are weeded out.


(Inputs From IANS)




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New Delhi:  Biometric cards have facilitated disbursement of as much as Rs 83,184 crore to beneficiaries of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) schemes without the notorious leakages of the past, industry body Assocham said on Sunday, citing its report on the matter.


"Real benefit of Jan Dhan and Aadhaar is finally reflected in the number of beneficiaries of government DBT schemes. The amount of funds transferred under DBT schemes between January 1, 2013 and March 31, 2017 is Rs 83,183.79 crore," an Assocham-Thought Arbitrage report said on completion of three years of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) scheme for financial inclusion.


"The real achievement lies not in the amount disbursed, rather in the fact that these amounts were disbursed with minimum leakages or malpractices and that is important in terms of good governance," the study said.

DBT schemes have resulted in weeding out of 3.34 crore duplicate consumers under PaHAL and a further 2.33 crore ration cards being deleted, Assocham said. Total savings under DBT have been Rs 49,500 crore until December 2016.


Total subsidy paid under DBT in 2016-17 is Rs 74,502 crore. Cash subsidy paid under DBT is expected to increase to Rs 1 lakh crore subsequently, the industry chamber added.


The report's publication follows the Supreme Court ruling earlier this week pronouncing privacy as a fundamental right.


"The landmark verdict by the 9-judge Constitution Bench does provide a window for the Aadhaar-related government schemes. The judgement clearly stated that 'the legitimate aim of the state would include, for instance, protecting national security... and preventing the dissipation of social welfare benefits," Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat said in a statement here.


"When the apex court talks about prevention of 'dissipation of social welfare benefits', therein lies a window for Aadhaar cards, in so far as its applicability on the DBT and other welfare measures is concerned," he added.




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During my lecture tour of universities in China last week, India's relationship with China flared up, courtesy another border dispute, this time at Sikkim. While Chinese students were curious about India - asking me questions ranging from the Sakyamuni Buddha to Aamir Khan - the border question, surprisingly, never came up. Matters of diplomacy are rarely influenced by public opinion, especially those of students in their formative years. But India's relationship with China is one that encompasses not just recent history, with war and border transgressions, but also delves from historical narratives. Let me illustrate this relationship and its potential by considering three specific historical episodes. 

A Peaceful Border?

In 1841, General Zorawar Singh Kahluria of the Sikh Empire led a 5,000-strong army into Tibet from Ladakh, passing Lake Mansarovar, reaching Gartok and Taklakot, sweeping an arc from Ladakh to Nepal. When the onset of winter, coupled with heavy losses in the Battle of Toyo in 1841, sparked a retreat, the Qing Empire gave chase, advancing on Ladakh and laying siege to Leh. Reinforcements from Jammu soon came and repulsed them, beating them decisively at the Battle of Chushul (1842). Contrary to expectations, the pre-independence history of India and China's borders has not always been peaceful. 

Skirmishes like this across the border have occurred more often than not - Emperor Tang Taizong apparently sent across a force of over 8,000 infantry led by Wang Xuance to conduct a punitive raid on Magadha in 648 AD. Migrations have happened in hordes as well - the prince of Mong Mao, Chao-lung Sukaphaa journeyed in 1228, with 9,000 Tai followers, from the Shan valley in Yunnan province to the Brahmaputra Valley. The Tai tribe soon merged with local tribes to form the Tai-Ahom people in Assam. An isolated existence of the two nations, across the Himalayas, has actually been a historical anomaly. 

Over the past few years, border transgressions have become increasingly frequent as China expands its influence, testing Indian resolve. India's response has been measured and principled, seeking to stand its ground while de-escalating where possible. As both countries rise, egged on by populist media, tensions are likely to escalate - it's not like there is a shortage of potential flashpoints - for one, Tibet (India as a democracy cannot simply look away) will always remain.  
While such skirmishes will continue, resolving the nearly 3,500-km border issue could take decades. Our concerns about China's investments in our periphery will continue - large investments to buy influence ($62 billion proposed for Pakistan, $24 billion for Bangladesh, $8.3 billion in Nepal); through debt (Sri Lanka owes China $8 billion and has now been forced to offer equity swaps in airports, along with a 99-year lease of Hambantota port to China); and in some cases, even transferring land (Tajikistan ceded 1% of its territory to China as part of debt forgiveness measure). Breaking the impasse requires a return to the negotiating table to resolve the border issue in a fair and reasonable manner based on sound strategic principles. 

This process, however complicated, should not prevent us from meaningful cooperation where our interests coincide. We share similar goals in deterring climate change and expanding access to Western markets, particularly in services. Such cooperation can even take strange turns - membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) means that China, India and Pakistan could even conduct military drills together. 

On Trade

In 1403, the Yongle Emperor Zhu Di of the Ming Dynasty in China commissioned the construction of a grand treasure fleet which was commanded on seven expeditions by Admiral Zheng He. The first voyage in 1405 had the treasure fleet sailing to Champa, Java, Malacca, Aru, Ceylon, Qiulon and Calicut, with a ship splitting off to visit the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The second voyage in 1407 saw the fleet visiting along similar ports, while landing in Cochin and Calicut and participating in the investiture of Mana Vikraan as the King of Calicut. The same voyage also saw the fleet conduct punitive action against the King of West Java. The third voyage in 1409 saw the fleet engaging in a military confrontation with King Alakeshvara of Ceylon in 1411, invading Kotte, and taking King Alakeshvaracaptive to Beijing. The next set of voyages routinely used Calicut, Cochin and Bengal as pit-stops for exploring Arabia and Africa, establishing Ming China as the pre-eminent naval power of the 15th century and drawing numerous kingdoms into its tributary system. 

As the "One Belt One Road" (OBOR) initiative gathers steam, we see this pattern similarly repeated, with Chinese ships visiting key Indian Ocean countries, doling out investments and establishing skewed trading relationships. Port investments have been made, in places like Hambantota, Penang, Kuantan, Kalibaru and Malacca, while naval bases are being set up in Djibouti and Gwadar. China has expended significant effort in trying to get India onboard OBOR, with diplomatic permutations even suggesting changing the name of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to suit India's preferences. 

India has been wise to hold strong, protecting its nascent industries from being exposed to oversupply in China's factories. Where India can cooperate with China is to utilize the Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar (BCIM) corridor as an avenue for expanding trade, while boosting livelihood and infrastructure in the North-East. We must carefully cherry-pick China's expanding bouquet of investment options, while avoiding the fateful choice made by Pakistan (CPEC's master plan showcases China acquiring thousands of acres of agricultural land, building surveillance systems in cities like Peshawar and Karachi and dominating its agricultural and industrial economy while privileging Chinese citizens, all for the pittance of $1 billion a year). 

Let us not overplay our hand - building our manufacturing strength and bolstering employment will require encouraging Chinese companies like Foxconn and BYD to invest in India's industrial economy. It will also require keeping our markets open to their penetration, whether in electronics (consider how Oppo and Vivo have flourished in India's Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities) or in automotive (encouraging electric cars will require electric car manufacturers, mostly Chinese, to manufacture in India). We need $455 billion of  investments in infrastructure development in the next 5 years - Chinese banks can help provide that, albeit only at suitable commercial rates. However, as in the day of Zheng He, China's road to dominating Asia and exporting its overproduction (in areas as varied as capital goods, high speed rail, steel and solar panels) will require access to India's strategic location and its market.

OBOR is currently a strategic project (it's still cheaper though slower to ship goods via sea instead of trucks or train from Guangzhou to Berlin, via Kazakhstan and Russia). The land and sea routes arrive at no large markets till Europe except India (it makes little economic sense to build a railroad from Tibet to Nepal, unless one were to extend it to Bihar in the future). While joining OBOR, especially CPEC, remains out of the question, India needs to be brought onboard other joint mechanisms, with all its sensitivities about security concerns, trade deficits and border transgressions kept paramount. Utilizing Chinese financing and expertise for building our comprehensive national strength will hold us in good measure in the future. Pursuing this trade does not imply giving up on our national interests but it does imply biding one's time while building our capabilities. 

On Cultural Transfer

In 627, a young Chinese monk, Xuangzang, had a dream that convinced him to travel from China to India. As partially chronicled in "Journey to the West", one of the four great classical novels of Chinese literature, Xuangzang (more popularly known as Hsuan-tsang in India), reached India in 630 AD, passing through Bamiyan and Purushapura (now Peshawar), Taxila, Jalandhar, Mathura, Nalanda, Amravati, Kanchi, Ajanta and Pragjyotishpura (now Guwahati) returning back to Chang'an in 645 AD. His journeys led him to study with a variety of Buddhist masters, taking 657 Sanskrit texts back with him, and developing the Faxiang school of Buddhism. His careful translations of Indian Buddhist texts to Chinese have enabled researchers to recover lost Buddhist texts, especially given the destruction of the famed Buddhist monasteries of Taxila, Nalanda, Vikramshila and Odantapuri. His journey exemplifies the best of India and China's relationship, offering benefits to both parties, amidst amity. For China, India has historically served as a source of learning, while China in turn has offered a variety of innovations (including the compass, paper, tea, gunpowder, printing and silk). Even Zheng He's famed voyages have left a cultural imprint - Chinese fishing nets in Kochi and the Galle Trilingual Inscription in Sri Lanka (honoring Buddha, Vishnu and Allah). 

Despite differing political systems, we have historically exchanged goods and ideas through routes as varied as the Silk Route and coastal shipping. Our billion-plus populations ensure that we face challenges that are different to most other countries; our solutions are different as well. China has excelled at building integrated high-speed railways, while India has built a national identification system (Aadhaar) from scratch to scale. We can benefit from expanding people-to-people relationships. 

To simply voice hope that India and China be partners-in-arms would be naive, but we can take steps to shift the relationship onto a more stable and even keel. We must hold strong to our security interests, but that does leave potential for a partnership. India and China, two civilization-states, cannot be at loggerheads forever - this relationship, one between 2.6 billion people, is the one that will determine the fate of Asia and the world at large






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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to pass an interim order on petitions challenging several government notifications mandating Aadhaar for availing benefits under various social welfare schemes.

Refusing to pass an order, the vacation bench of Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice Navin Sinha said: "No interim order can be passed ... on mere apprehensions."

Fixing July 7 as the next date of hearing, the bench asked senior counsel Shyam Divan, appearing for petitioners Shanta Sinha and Kalyani Sen Menon, to show if people were being deprived of the benefits under social welfare scheme for not possessing Aadhaar number.

The court said this as Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench that the June 30 deadline mandating the possession of Aadhaar number for availing benefits under social welfare schemes had been extended to September 30.

Declining to pass any interim order, the bench referred to the June 9 judgment when the top court had upheld the newly inserted Section 139AA of Income Tax mandating linking of the Aadhaar number with the Permanent Account Number (PAN) and for filing Income Tax Returns.

The vacation bench said: "In view of the observations made in June 9 judgment ... no further observation is required."

The court said on June 9: "First thing that is to be kept in mind is that the Aadhaar Act is enacted to enable the government to identify individuals for delivery of benefits, subsidies and services under various welfare schemes. 

"This is so mentioned in Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act which states that proof of Aadhaar number is necessary for receipt of such subsidies, benefits and services."

The petitioners have challenged a series of 17 notifications making Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits including mid-day meal, disability pensions as well as for victims of Bhopal gas tragedy.

Shanta Sinha was the first Chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and a Magsaysay award recipient and Kalyani Sen Menon is a feminist researcher.



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