[AI] Campaign by Citizens Against UID

rambabu adikesavalu rambabu_arb at yahoo.com
Sat May 1 10:42:31 EDT 2010

Dear Friends,
Last few days there had been a lot of discussions on the newly proposed UID and its usefulness on our list. Most of us believed that the inclusion of the aspect of disability in the UID could be very useful because of its multi-purpose utility.
However, I came across an article in Counter Currents, an online newsletter which gives a completely different picture. Its a campaign by the citizens against UID.
I thought that it would be nice if you could have some discussions on that article's point of view.
So I am pasting below the article. Please go through it and give your critical appraisal.
Dr. A.Rambabu

Please Endorse: Citizens Against UID

By Citizens Against UID

29, April, 2010

Kindly endorse the campaign against Unique Identification Number (UID), 
        government of India's effort to give a number to every Indian citizen 
        like they do to cattle before they are led to the slaughter house. It's 
        kind of racial profiling which can be abused in a country like India 
        where they use the census data to butcher people in riots ( remember the 
        Gujarat pogrom). It's a violation of one's privacy, human rights and a 
        threat to democracy. And they are tagging it with the ongoing census. 
        There is a great threat that the information collected through census 
        can be passed onto the UID authority, which is headed by a corporate 
        CEO. It can be easily stated that it's not the Maoists the 'greatest 
        internal threat' to Indian democracy, but the UID is. Please endorse 
        this statement and pass it on to your friends and relatives who value 
        Indian democracy.Please endorse the statement by clicking here
        We, representatives of people’ movements, mass organizations, 
        institutions and concerned individuals including all the undersigned 
        strongly oppose the potential tracking and profiling based 
        techno-governance tools such as the Unique Identification number (UID) 
        by the Government of India and the manner in which legitimate democratic 
        processes have been undermined through this.
        The proposed UID project seems to be perched on an anti-people 
        perspective and violates a number of basic rights guaranteed under Part 
        III of the Constitution of India including Articles 14, 15, 17, 19 and 
        21 viz., the Rights to equality, dignity, privacy, expression and the 
        right not to be discriminated against, The project seems to be aimed at 
        profiling people by pooling in biometric and retinal data pertaining to 
        an individual and could be potentially discriminatory in a country where 
        caste identity is the most predominant socio-political marker. Further, 
        it is a travesty on the dignity and privacy of individuals. At another 
        level, given the fact that more than one third of our population live 
        below the substantial level called “poverty line” and without literacy & 
        numeracy, a large section of our population would find itself unable to 
        handle this number in a meaningful way and thus face the danger of 
        virtually stripped of their citizenship and thereby the very legitimacy 
        of their existence on the land of this country.
        This project which has been launched at a budgeted cost of INR 1900 
        Crores for the year 2010-2011 in a country where the Government has 
        officially declared that 400 million of its citizens are living below 
        poverty line is , thus an insult to the dignity of the Peoples of India. 
        The project headed by a person of the rank of the Union Cabinet 
        Minister, whose appointment was not transparent and a staff overhead of 
        more than 100 is also working under the most non-transparent processes 
        and we fear that the decisions are made and influenced by vested private 
        and corporate interests who have had a record of anti-people and 
        anti-democratic activities. There is no wide public discussion on the 
        feasibility or desirability of the project.
        It is in this context that we have serious objections to the way the 
        decadal census process is being used to pitch the UID process and no 
        discussion on this has happened in any of the democratic forums 
        including the Parliament, which also transgresses n the right to dignity 
        and privacy of individuals and their choice to opt out of the UID 
        process. If the UID continues to be tagged with the Census process – we 
        would also consider boycotting the same. It is a matter of great concern 
        that the powers that be have deliberately kept silent on the inter 
        linkage between the UID and current mode of census
        In this situation it is not clear which decisions are being made by the 
        private sector or by the elected representatives. There are proposals 
        within this project that will result in changes to the PDS, food 
        subsidy, MGNREGS etc are being put forward by the Planning commission 
        and UIDAI. They suggest that instead of food grains, cash subsidies must 
        be given to beneficiaries which can be encashed at public or private 
        sector shops.
        In the past the changes in policy were achieved through influence and 
        lobbying, but now entrepreneurs have been appointed as non-politicians 
        with cabinet rank. While the project was hailed as a “gamechanger” and a 
        welfare measure, the public at large have expressed growing concerns 
        about the UID and its implications for ordinary citizens. Many questions 
        are being raised about the nature, status and aims of the scheme. 
        Countries such as the UK, Australia and the USA have found similar 
        measures unworkable due to the serious probability of abuse and the 
        strong opposition of the public. There is a huge expenditure proposed 
        for the UID. The UID would affect every citizen. We as groups and 
        individuals feel the need to engage the larger public in an open 
        discussion about the UID and its proposed scope, implementation, 
        benefits and risks. We are also mobilising public opinion on issues and 
        concerns about the UID.
        We the undersigned demand that

        > the UID project be scrapped with immediate effect
        > all the transactions undertaken by the UIDAI project be scrutinised by 
        an accountable > public body from the democratic governance structure in 
        a transparent manner taking into consideration the concerns of the all 
        the peoples before venturing into the implementation stage
        > the financial and technological implications and the costs incurred so 
        far, including details of contracts entered into with respect to the UID 
        project be made transparent
        > the Census and UID project be forthwith de-linked
        Endorsed by
        Moving Republic, Bangalore
        Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore
        Citizens Action Forum, Bangalore
        PUCL, Karnataka.
        Slum Janandolana
        Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore
        Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF)
        PEACE, New Delhi
        Manthan Adhyayan Kendra, Badvani(MP)
        South Indian Cell for Human Rights Education & Monitoring (SICHREM), 
        Posco Prathirodh Sangram Samithi, Orissa
        Adivasi Mulvasi Astitva Raksha Manch, Jharkhand
        Himalaya Niti Abhiyan, Himachal Pradesh
        National Hawkers Federation
        Kerala Swathanthra Matsya Thozhilali Federation (KSMTF)
        Nagpur Municipal Corporation Employees Union
        Nadi Ghati Morcha, Chhattisgarh
        Peoples’ Solidarity Concerns- Bangalore
        Janvikas, Orissa
        Other Media Communications, Bangalore
        Visual search, Bangalore
        Theeradesa MahilaVedi, Kerala
        National Coastal Women’s Movement, Chennai
        Alliance of women’s right in Disaster(ANWORD), Chennai
        Kerala Tourism watch
        Dalit Women’s Forum, Andhra Pradesh
        Centre for Education and Documentation, Mumbai
        IPTA (Bihar)
        EKTA (commitee for communal amity), Mumbai
        EQATIONS, Bangalore
        Openspace, Bangalore
        Rajadhari Basti Uriyan Parishad, Orissa
        Chhattisgarh Kisan Mazdoor Vikas Kendra
        Asangatit karmakar Shramik Union, UP
        Munsikhan Mawat vikas Community Foundation, Alwar, Rajasthan
        Pondichery Slum Dwellers Federation
        Himpravesh, solar, Himachal Pradesh
        Chhattisgarh Action Reserch Team (CART), Raipur
        ViBGYOR Film Collective, Kerala
        Adivasi, Sarumgi Vikas Sangh, Gujarat
        Samata, Orissa
        Society for Culture & Development, Kerala
        Youth Initiative for Leadership Training, Kerala
        Patabhedam Magazine, Calicut, Kerala
        Global Alternate Information Applications(GAIA), Thrissur, Kerala
        Kabani – The Other Direction, Kerala
        Pedestrian Pictures, Bangalore
        Just Peace Foundation, Manipur
        Concern, IISc, Bangalore
        New Socialist Alternative, Karnataka
        Infochange India
        Privacy Network in Asia
        Anivar Aravind
        Vinay Byndoor,
        Vinay Srinivasa
        Bobby Kunju
        Chittaranjan Singh (PUCL-UP)
        Hiren Gandhi , Darsan, Ahamedabad
        Dr SINILAM , KSS, INSOCO, Kerala
        Sakthiman Ghosh, Kolkotta
        Raajen singh ,Social Activist, Mumbai
        Sarasila Pradhan, Orissa
        Animanand Ekka, Chhattisgarh
        Surekha Kanwar, Chhattisgarh
        Kumud Nandgave, Raipur, Chattisgarh
        Sanjay Sachan, Laxmi Grameena Vikas Samsthan, UP
        Azma Azis, UP
        Jannu Anand , nagpur
        Deen Dayal Vyas, Chethana Sansthan, Alwar, Rajasthan
        Dharmapat Ranjit, Kandhamal, Orissa
        Rajan, Indo Global Social Service Society, bangalore’
        Subaih Dehariya, Villege Andol, Madhya Pradesh
        Bhuvanlal Dehariya,Villege Andol,Madhya Pradesh
        Ramsumes Pal, Madhya Pradesh
        M. Latha Mageswari, Mahila Milan, Pondicheri
        P. Satyakama , WORD, Puduchery
        J.S Dhukhia, Solar, Himachal Prasesh
        Bibin K R Rai , Officer, Urban Poverty IGSSS, New Delhi
        Dr Mohan Sigh Panwar, Daliyon ka Daghiya , Uttarkhat
        RP Sahi, Participatory Action Group, Lucknow
        waheeda Rehman, Jan Swaraj Trust, Ahmedabad
        Qureshi Mohd. Arif, Jan Swaraj Trust, Ahmedabad
        Asha Makade, Chhattisgarh Action Reserch Team (CART), Raipur
        Vijayakumar H Kulkarni, Karnataka
        Deliakar, CNDP, New Delhi
        Alok Mohanti , Orissa
        Imran khan, Journalist, Indian Express
        Indu Praksh Singh
        Ruchi Gupta
        Dr. T T Sreekumar, National University of Singapore
        Anil Tharayath Varghese, Delhi
        Sebin Abraham Jacob
        Pushpa Achanta, Bangalore
        Anand Bala, Banagalore
        Mahtab Alam, Civil Rights’ Activist and Journalist
        P K Sundaram, Ph.D. Researcher, JNU
        Sravanthi Kollu, Bangalore.
        Praveen Arimbrathodiyil, REDHAT, Pune
        Javed Iqbal, Mumbai
        Ashik S, Software Engineer, Thiruvananthapuram
        John Samuel, Infochange News and Features
        Anusha Hariharan,JNU, New Delhi
        K. Rahul Sharma, TERI University, New Delhi
        Smitha.Nair, JNU, Delhi
        Anu Fern
        Sadik P K
        Jenny Rowena, Miranda House, Univ of Delhi
        Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance, New Delhi
        Nidhi Agarwal, Environment Research and Action Collective, Himachal 
        Deepa Vasudevan, Kerala
        Neelan, chief executive Editor, amrita News , amrita T.V , Trivandrum, 
        R. Ramakumar, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
        Sukla Sen, Mumbai
        Malish C M, IIT Delhi, New Delhi
        J. T. D’souza , Mumbai
        Vickram Crishna , Mumbai
        Shazia Nigar, student, Delhi University.
        S. Sanjeev, Thiruvananthapuram
        Asit , New delhi
        Uditi Sen, kolkata & London
        Seema Duhan





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