Sunday, March 6, 2011

187 - Unique ID plan hits advisory panel roadblock - Hindustan Times

Prasad Nichenametia
1st Sepember 2010

Even as the target dates for issuance of first lot of UID numbers are stretching, the opposition to the Nandan Nilekani-led plan is increasing. After protests from NGOs and prominent individuals opposed to the authority they say is violating rights and provisions of the Constitution, some National Advisory Council members want a discussion and approval of the system before it can go into the public.

According to a member, the issue was supposed to be taken up in NAC on Monday but can be taken up in the next meet.

"There is no real informed debate on the project which has enormous potential of segregating the population (based on few parameters). It is a matter concerning people at large — public money being spent to profile common public," a member told HT adding the opinion is shared by some more people in the council.

In a petition sent to the Prime Minister, UPA chairperson and heads of government, a coalition of more than 100 NGOs, demanded scrapping of the project with immediate effect.

"UID violates basic rights to equality, dignity, privacy, expression and the right not to be discriminated against… it could be potentially discriminatory in a nation where caste identity is the most predominant socio-politico marker," the letter said.

It also called the appointment of Nilekani and functioning of UID as non-transparent, ‘influenced by vested corporate interests.’ The coalition now proposes to take the campaign into the public. The activists opposed to linking UID with the decennial census, said would consider boycotting the process.

"There is vast difference between census and UID. Without explaining what it means MoUs are being entered with private companies. They say UID would reform systems like PDS, but no detail of how it will is available in the public domain," activist Aruna Roy said.

"Involvement of private sector is alarming. We are afraid as where this data taken along with census can end up," Anil Chaudhary of INSAF said.