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The Lowdown: India’s Unique ID Project Unraveled By Standing Committee

A Parliamentary Standing Committee report on Finance has detailed out significant issues with the way India's Unique Identity project was conceptualized and executed, stating that there was no clear purpose, lacked proper study before being approved, conflicted with existing initiatives, had issues related to privacy, circumvented Parliament, among other issues. It has recommended, on finding that the National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2010 in its present form unacceptable, that the data collected so far be transferred to the National Population Register, and the government reconsider and review the UID scheme and bring forth a fresh legislation before Parliament. With this, the UID project, which might have addressed the high cost of Know Your Customer verification, risks delays and perhaps even cancellation. The observations of the Standing Committee: 1. Circumvention of Parliament: That the clearance came from the Ministry of Law & Justice for issuing aadhaar numbers, while the Bill is pending passing by Parliament, "on the ground that powers of the Executive are co-extensive with the legislative power of the Government and that the Government is not debarred from exercising its Executive power in the areas which are not regulated by the legislation". The committee has called the governments action as unethical. This issue was raised by Rajya Sabha MP Justice Dr. M. Rama Jois. Dr. Usha Ramanathan points out "It is a plain misconception to think that the executive can do what it pleases, including in relation to infringing constitutional rights and protections for the reason that Parliament…

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Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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