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Secret government proceedings at the best of Power Mill lobbies are apparently acting to have the Handloom Reservation act set aside, ruining the lives of lakhs of handloom workers nationwide.

It is no secret that Mills have long hated the Handloom(Reservation of Articles for Production) Act of 1985. The act basically lists traditional textile items as reserved to be produced on handlooms alone (handlooms are defined as anything not a power loom). It appears that now the mills will succeed in getting rid of this Act, unless citizens intervene. The mandatory pro-lobby opinion forming article in MSM has quietly appeared, but there is little noise over it. Notice how it is a piece that argues against the Act out of the blue - absolutely nothing in the news to provoke a reassessment of the Act. Usually an indicator that there is something in the background that is coming up that the piece is preparing the readers for (or rather, setting up opinion).

The argument basically says that since the power looms are already violating the Handloom Reservation Act, it should be scrapped. It is an interesting argument that can probably be applied to the entire IPC.

Here's what's going on.

Quote from an email appeal for help by Marchalla Mohan Rao, President of the Handloom Weavers' Association of undivided Andhra Pradesh.

The Government of India is going to remove Hand Loom Reservation Act, which is giving some extent protection to the hand loom sector till now. Textile Department already Constitute a committee on this issue to analysis the implementation of reservation act and  possibilities of removable items of varieties of hand looms or to totally remove this act by putting in the Parliament for amendment. Committee meeting held  on 20th March,2015 in this regard in D C H Office Delhi, nobody telling about this issue, what is going on reservation act, they are maintaning the secrecy in the department.

In this context, we are all seeking  for your suggestions, how we can overcome from  this problem to protect the hand looms in india. In which way we can brought this issue before the government as well as civil society for their involvement for hand loom weavers movement.

So, please send your opinions and suggestions to over come from this problem and to protect the lakhs of hand loom weavers lively hood.

You can read more about the realities of weavers in Andhra.

Shyamsundari of Dastkar Andhra is more direct.

We had a two day deliberation in Delhi in the month of March regarding the importance of the Reservation Act in securing the interests of the handloom sector. I spoke to the Enforcement chief personally and to the two deputy directors. They agreed to come but failed to show up. The Secretary was given a direct invitation by one of the members of the Federation of Handloom organisations. Same was the case with the DCH. But there was no representation from the Handloom Department. And within a couple of weeks we hear from the enforcement officials(unofficially) that a move is on to repeal the Act. There seems to be a strong powerloom lobby behind the move and the Secretary Textiles seems to be playing an active role in the whole thing.

Livelihoods of weavers are already an issue. Third National Census of Handloom Units and Allied Activity Workers (2010) for Development Commissioner (Handlooms), ministry of textiles by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (India's oldest and independent think tank) tells us something about who these weavers are.

  • 87% of total household units (27.83 lakh) are located in rural areas.
  • Nearly 47% of handloom worker households are BPL and rest are non-BPL.
  • 29 lakh weavers constitute 76% of the adult workforce.
  • 9.38 lakh allied workers are 24% of the adult workforce.
  • Almost 67% weavers are engaged full time in weaving.
  • Almost 75% of handloom workers are women.
  • 60% of adult handloom workers have little or no schooling.

We are talking of some of the most vulnerable rural populations here. People who have no alternative employment. Three-fourth of them being women means that their loss of occupation and income is going to have a direct adverse influence on their children as well - a large part of income of women goes directly to the well being of their children. Lack of schooling means that the potential for already scarce jobs gets even lower. The one skill they do have will be rendered obsolete by mechanical alternatives that produce cheaper but employ far fewer people in a country where power is scarce and labour abundant.

The government's sabotage of rural employment schemes is only going to make this difficult. For a reference, textile mill workers rendered obsolete in 1993, are getting Rs 3000/- per month under Textiles Workers Rehabilitation Fund. They are not able to survive on these funds. Alternative employment for them itself is a problem without adding handloom workers to the mix. 15 lakh handloom households (53%) undertake handloom work exclusively for commercial purposes, while 4.38 lakh households (16%) produce for both domestic as well as commercial purposes.

Woman weaver at handloom from Walahjapet, Tamil Nadu
Woman weaver at her loom from Walahjapet, Tamil Nadu. Photo: Sweta Daga Source: ruralindiaonline.org

 

It is true that Mills already illegally produce and sell items reserved to be produced on handlooms. However, the law does protect the handloom workers, as action can be taken against the illegally produced goods. Also the illegally produced goods cannot undercut the prices of handloom produced goods. Without this protection, the market will be flooded with cheap textiles that the creators of handloom products cannot compete with. Yet, the soul of the traditional items will be altered forever.

"At present Crores of people are waiting for their jobs, every year more than 60,00,000 graduates/ post graduates/ technologists are coming out from the universities/ institutions. Why the government is not providing the employment to these youth, if there is any possibility." Marchala demands to know. "Another one important issue is if we alow the powerlooms in India; China, Bangladesh, Srilanka, Pakistan,Jermany,Korea, Thailand exporters are ready to dump their prodcuts in the Indian domestic market. It has not happened yet, because varieties are reserved for handlooms exclusively."

"Mechanization never creates employment, Our India has plenty of human resources. They should be employed by production activity. It is handlooms in rural India. No other industry except the service sector. Service sector also cannot provide employment regularly." It has been noted before by Ravinder Kumar that India had not added jobs in agriculture or manufacturing since 1995. Where is the rural person to seek employment?

"If we allow the powerlooms to produce the Silk/cotton Sarees and dress Materials, it will ruin the total handloom sector without any doubt. It will to the starvation among the weaving community and some parts of India it will lead to armed struggles, for example Jammu and Kashmir (where the official records require the government to adopt the Handloom Reservation Act or enact something similar, yet has not, resulting in the famed Pashmina being woven on power looms, damaging the livelihoods as well as traditional craft). Over 60% of India's weaver households reside in the North East and earn about Rs 300 per day. What happens of them and what will the impact of their disenfranchisement be on the regional unrest?"

Is this the future of our traditional arts at the hands of the government that appears to have interest in promoting both handlooms and traditions? Are we going to have exquisite silk saris produced by powerlooms that copy traditional designs and starve traditional weavers? What does a Ludhiana Power Looms pashmina shawl even mean?

Handloom sari at Walahjapet, Tamil Nadu
Handloom sari at Walahjapet, Tamil Nadu. Photo: Sweta Daga Source: ruralindiaonline.org

"On 29,80,000 hand looms more than 65,00,000 families of 1,20,00,000 people are depending for their livelihood. All these people will be abandoned by the state if powerlooms replace these creators of exquisite crafts like so much horse power labour mass producing identical designs.

The secrecy around the proceedings is ominous. This government has shown little inclination for accountability. It now depends on us to ask questions that require answers.

[tweetthis]Handlom fabric enthusiasts, please read this![/tweetthis]

Update: The Odisha government has opposed the bid of powerloom operators to get saris removed from the Handloom(Reservation of Articles for Production) Act of 1985.

Member of the European Parliament Viorica Dancila today put forward a question to the European Commission regarding the Prime Minister of India Mr Narender Modi's past record in keeping minorities safe in India.

The question was directed under Rule 130 to the European Commission.

The question raised

Question for written answer E-006046/2014
to the Commission
Rule 130
Viorica Dăncilă (S&D)

Subject:      Indian minorities

Following the general elections held in India last May, Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was elected Prime Minister. However, recent reports in the international media have expressed great concern over Modi’s past record and nationalist agenda. Modi, a member of a Hindu nationalist party, has been criticised for his role in the deadly Gujarat Hindu-Muslim riots of 2002 in which more than 1 000 members of the Muslim community lost their lives. Modi was Chief Minister of the state at the time.
India’s 1.3 billion population comprises a large number of minority groups, including Christians, Muslims and others.

Is the EU monitoring the situation in India regarding minority rights and the policy that the new Indian leadership intends to pursue on this matter?

Are the issue of the large proportion of India’s population living in conditions of extreme poverty and the initiatives that will provide greater access to education and food safety part of the ongoing EU-India FTA negotiations?

Given that national policies regarding minorities could potentially threaten peace and security in South Asia, including in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India, is the EU pursuing a collective agreement between these countries with a view to addressing such concerns?

Question can be verified online by visiting

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=WQ&reference=E-2014-006046&format=XML&language=EN

or
visiting

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/plenary/en/parliamentary-questions.html

Press Contact
Karen Jones
Press Release Department

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This article stating that Ved Pratap Vaidik was participating in the TrackII dialogue representing RSS and Modi (Ved Pratap Vaidik met Hafiz Saeed in same trip, confirming my suspicions about his interview) was apparently originally published in Manorama but isn't accessible anymore. Only copy seems to be in Kashmir Watch, which some people couldn't access. Duplicating it here for the sake of record.

Money matters

By Kallol Bhattacherjee

Focus on trade likely to be the defining feature of Modi's foreign policy

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi touched down in Bhutan on June 15, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was hosting a special Indian guest and his companions in Islamabad, who had come for a Track II dialogue. While the Prime Minister's Office is tight-lipped about editor and columnist Ved Pratap Vaidik's visit to Islamabad, he is believed to have gone to Pakistan as the representative of the RSS, tasked with dispelling misunderstandings about the Sangh Parivar and its south Asian agenda.

Vaidik had travelled to Lahore on his own to meet Sharif in May last year after the Pakistani leader won the elections. In return, Sharif, reportedly, rewarded him with rare access and contacts, which he used extensively during a trip to Pakistan early this year to convince its leaders that Pakistan can do business with India under Modi.

Najam Rafique of the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad, which is hosting the Track II dialogue, told THE WEEK that Vaidik represented not just the RSS, but also Modi. “Vaidik is visiting us as an emissary of the Indian prime minister. On June 23, he is addressing an in-house meeting at ISSI. The agenda is how to revive the Pakistan-India dialogue process and what issues are to be taken up. The Indian side is resisting to discuss Kashmir,” he said. Sources in Islamabad said the Modi government's focus was on trade, especially getting the non-discriminatory trade agreement ratified by Pakistan. Rafique, however, said it might not be easy and would require some arm-twisting by India. “The Pakistani side is insisting that Kashmir should be on the table during the Track II dialogue. But, there is a widespread understanding that trade has to come first,” he said.

Given the sensitivities involved, not all details are on public domain, but Union Minister Arun Jaitley's comment about a possible dialogue with separatists in Kashmir has added to the sentiment that the Modi government will manage south Asia unconventionally, with a surprise cast of characters, if necessary. Darakhshan Andrabi, leader of the Jammu and Kashmir Socialist Democratic Party, who is lobbying Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh for creating an alternative political platform in Kashmiri politics, said the Track II dialogue with Pakistan was aimed at attempting an enabling condition for going ahead with other aspects of life, like trade and development.

Former foreign secretary Shyam Saran said the Modi government's emphasis on trade with Pakistan, the rest of south Asia and the major world powers could well be the defining feature of Indian foreign policy under Modi. “Allowing Pakistani banks in India and the State Bank of India to operate in Pakistan and granting non-discriminatory market access to India by Pakistan will add to India's growth economy status. Much of our diplomatic stalling of the last five years happened because the world, after celebrating our economic growth for some time, suddenly started perceiving us as a low-potential economy hobbled by a weak political structure. India's diplomacy will change dramatically if Modi can create an impression by his initial deals in south Asia and Japan that India will prioritise trade over other differences, whether big or small,” he said.

These priorities will be reflected in External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's foreign trips as well. Swaraj, fresh from her tour to Bhutan, accompanying Modi, is expected to leave for a meeting with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on June 26, carrying forward the Look East dynamic of Modi's foreign policy. Already, the Bhutan visit of Modi is being interpreted as a message to China not to snatch away India's partners in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.

Saran said the September session of the UN General Assembly, which Modi was likely to attend, would give his team another major opportunity in perfecting its trade diplomacy. In Washington, DC, the United States India Political Action Committee, the organisation that facilitated the pre-election US visit of Rajnath Singh and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, is doing unofficial groundwork for Modi's visit. “We are excited about the defence IT sector as a new area, as India plans new investment zones in defence production,” said Sanjay Puri of USINPAC.

An immediate challenge for Modi will be in breaking ice with Italy, which is taking advantage of the football season by selling T-shirts with the names of the Italian marines charged for killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast. “The European Parliament will be headed by Italy from September and there is a possibility that tough Italy-India ties might hurt India-EU ties,” said a European ambassador.

The Modi-Swaraj-Doval team has begun with an intense plan of action. But, given the uncertainties in the world of diplomacy, it may also need some luck to succeed.

The gambit

Modi's tenure has begun with a bang:

* Neighbouring heads of state at the swearing-in ceremony
* First foreign visit to Bhutan, emphasising its significance
* Back-channel talks on with Pakistan
* Hosted Chinese foreign minister and Russian deputy PM
* Talks scheduled with Bangladesh PM
* Interactions being worked on with leaders of the US and Japan
* Renewed focus on trade diplomacy

-Source: The Week, India-
Print Version

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Political party supporters are usually biased in favor of parties they support, but BJP takes it to a whole new level with a complete disconnect with reason, dignity or even self-preservation. Some days it is like watching a road accident. It is horrifying and you can't bear to watch and you can't look away. Other days it is like a macabre dream, where you see someone walking off a cliff and you are only supposed to watch.

The election fervor comes with a lot of political and communal polarization. This is a time when it hits you that there is no level to which some of these will not fall, no sacrifice of own reasoning powers too great to see one person cannibalize not only political opposition, but own party as well.

BJP has lost its vision, all sense, decency and honor. Sometimes you just pity BJP supporters for the shit they have been fed. It is an alternate reality.

"No cases against Modi"

When do they see there is no Santa Claus? I don't even feel anger. I feel concern and fear. How does one communicate with a person whose "facts" come from some place not verifiable? What do you feel angry about if a person has been informed things that aren't true and taught suspicion about contradiction?

"clean chit" by Supreme Court.

They don't even have the mental freedom to wonder when Modi appeared before SC. Forget us "sickulars", but it would make some news even through the party pipeline if it was Modi's hearing in the Supreme Court? Where does the clean chit come from?

The alternate world created by BJP is like the Hote California. Check out any time you like, but you can never leave. Entire "facts" warped. And in this imaginary world, everyone is Modi's enemy, because basically most Indians hate India and he's the only one trying to save the country.

The creepiest part is if you speak with them, there is no sense of finding anything odd with any of the contradictions. It is like every belief is standalone and not required to tally with other beliefs - even their own other beliefs from their wonderland. Hindus persecuted for thousands of years, converted, killed in vast numbers, Hindus reproduce less than Muslims... but Hindus are still majority - but they are at threat of extinction - must be defended or will go extinct.And they can discuss this for hours with complete seriousness with no visible indication that anything doesn't tally up.

There is no perception of a logic mismatch between Hindus exterminated in their own land and continuing to be a majority. There is no mismatch between Hindus being a majority in spite of such extermination and them being under threat of extinction when they are not being slaughtered by the "millions". There is no mismatch between a four thousand year old faith (your mileage may vary) surviving a history of repeated invasions but unlikely to survive the present government unless citizens rise up to defend it.

It is like a complete suspension of critical thinking. Unquestioning recording of facts as informed with no urge to put them together and see what the larger picture looks like. Or perhaps there is no awareness of completely contradictory ideas being a part of the same picture.

It extends to other beliefs as well. The defenders of one of the few civilizations in the world with several "prostitute" professions with well outlined civil rights and legal protections today use the "fallen woman" standard of the monotheist religions to insult a woman they hate, but see no incongruence in their adoption of a near identical stand from those they claim to viscerally hate. They hate everything Islam and Muslim, but their leaders recommend very Islamic rules for women. Woman's place in the kitchen, school uniform with overcoat to prevent harassment of girls...

Their loudest accusations against those they hate, usually turn out to be their own practices - whether they are true about the accused or not. Funding from the "Ford Foudation" is a recent example. But there really are many. BJP supporters and leaders are found shouting the loudest on acts they have defended about the BJP. Weeks after officially persecuting South Africans in Goa AND defending the actions staunchly with an abundance of racist remarks, BJP had forgotten all about it, polished its halo and was accusing AAP of racism. BJP flip flops on free speech are too many to count. The irony of asking the country to move on from the 2002 riots while condemning the Mughal invasions is lost on BJP.

Their bizarre actions after the Delhi Elections were another example. Got most seats, refused to form government. Taunted AAP about not forming a government, but complained when it did. Told AAP to accept Congress support, accused AAP of accepting Congress support. Created a ruckus demanding resignations, accused of escapism when they resigned. Accused AAP of squanderinng public funds by not forming government, refused to form government in spite of having more seats. It is incomprehensible. This is party leadership in Delhi we are talking about, not your average supporter on Twitter.

It seems to be a brainwashing so determined that it leaves the brain damaged to even put two thoughts coherently side by side and get a sense of proportion. Without intending any insult, it is a scary symptom. You see basic coherence appear in under teenage children. What exactly is the level of regression we are talking about, and what goal is worth psyops of this scale that people have to completely destroy reasoning skills to support a cause that can't make sense with functioning critical thinking skills?

I am not angry. I am alarmed at the primitive level of operating of the brain, where everything is basically reduced to a fight or flight instinct for political purposes and executed with animal cunning like methods of pack attacks and simple dismissal of what cannot be thought through. What will devolving to such a level offer even the cause it serves? Will it enhance the Hindu cause to have people unable to reason out complex concepts and evolve them further for enriching the civilization?

You see this among Pakistani right wings on the Internet. Growing up with realities like "Indians are cowards", "India is the biggest threat to Pakistan", "Hindus are cowards" and what not, you cannot make sense of what they talk when you encounter them online. There is no point asking what Bangladesh is doing as a separate country if Pakistan has never lost a war against India. There will be some conspiracy theories of treachery, some circular logic or outright detour from the subject to return right back to the "belief" - "Pakistan has never lost a war against India" - you cannot budge it, because there is no logic entering or exiting from it to engage with.

It is psychotic and dangerous, but how do you get angry at what basically amounts to deliberately cultivated schizophrenia? In BJP you see it strongest around Modi. Modi's enemies are everywhere. Congress, Italian Sonia, Pope, CIA's Ford Foundation, AAP... within BJP.... everywhere. Not one moment to pause and wonder how it is democratic for a leader "everyone" hates to lead the country. No sense of any verification. Modi is a great leader, except his greatness must be explained by PR agencies and you have the same descriptions over and over. Modi will be an accountable Prime Minister, but doesn't like being questioned. Modi will make hundreds of new cities, but can't name one in twelve years in Gujarat. Can go on and on, but it is basically like "hypnosis". Where your critical thinking is suspended, and you believe whatever you are told.

Whatever you cannot explain is the conspiracy of "others" to turn you away from your true path and you must focus and return to it. It is the "others" without honor and liars, though fake pictures, pamphlets and propaganda are being used to support Modi, not others.

BJP coming to power in this primitive state of intellect is as good as turning country into mental asylum.

It is one of the reasons I rarely get angry with trolls. They are simply from an alternate reality, perceiving to be cornered and under threat. They believe the visions they are shown and what appears to us as hate and violence is them waging some imaginary desperate war for survival for most supporters - while the core criminals know exactly what they are doing.

To believe BJP propaganda is to believe that the party that never had a simple majority in the country is actually the true definiton of everything Indian and those who oppose it are not legitimate Indians. India has more anti-nationals than nationals in its population. Because basically most want to destroy their own country. There isn't the slightest shock to hear that Hindutva leaders called for karsevaks to be killed to enrage people and build mometum for demolishing the Babri Masjid. This is the kind of behavior they attribute to terrorists - jihadi - willing to die for a cause. Yet there is no discomfort learning that supporters like them were calculatedly wasted and passed off as victims of resistance to their cause to get more people like them. It is chilling. The complete lack of self-preservation or even comprehension of betrayal.

It is a bizarre mishmash addicted to supremacy that admires Hitler for the same reason it admires Israel and the same reason it admires Modi. Modi's biggest selling point, that will get bragged on the street, but never admitted officially is that it was under his rule that it was possible to teach the Muslims a comprehensive "lesson". It is why the riots after 2002 do not register in memory, because rioting Hindus are not a problem. Muslims did not riot. The "development" is merely a civilized veneer. If you could dispute and debunk every single claim of Modi, you still would not be able to budge his core supporters, even if you could show someone else superior in all aspects. Because the development is the selling point to get others to allow their desired leader leading the country. It isn't their reason. They will merely find another reason or allege a conspiracy or strike some deal that gives Modi something new to brag about.

The goal is that bloodlust. That addiction of annihilating lives and proving superior. Primitive. Reminds me of a comment about cannibals. They not just defeat their enemy, they eat him. That is how the subtle promises go. Riot accused given tickets. Statements that 30% of Muslims harbour terrorists. It sets the stage. it is a promise of an orgy to come. It is irrelevant whether it happens. Sooner or later it will. Moving in the right direction is all that matters to those seeking their supremacy fix.

There is no concept of the leadership owing them anything, even their own lives and safety - which, ironically is the reason they believe in the cause if asked openly. There is simply nothing to believe in that cannot be changed, no level of evil that must be avoided if it helps the cause. No amount of self-respect lost is too much. No sacrifice is too much - even if it is used to invent a lie for the cause where your own people kill you and turn you into a trophy to get more like you. It is all fine. There is a serene acceptance of the cause being right and everything else merely being the path to it.

It is sad that exploitative leaders destroy the minds of those supporting them. Ugly price of loyalty for mind to become unreliable. Bizarre as it seems, I feel angrier on behalf of BJP supporters than at them.

This is as disturbing a post to write, as it is to see the complete mental subjugation. I debated for a long time, tried to find better words. In the end decided to put it how I could, because this is the best I can express what I see, though I believe it falls short.

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While there is nothing new about problems emerging with the government pushed Aadhaar Cards, the scheme is dogged by recurring problems. Cobrapost has done a devastating sting that should put Aadhaar in its grave and see several people arrested, if there is accountable governance in this country.

Unraveling the ‘Uniqueness’ of UIDAI

What was supposed to be a unique identification number providing identification and access to a host of government benefits and services to Indian residents, ‘Aadhar’ has almost unvaryingly been extended to immigrants who have illegally crossed into the Indian border. Almost anyone, be it Indian or an illegal immigrant can get an Aadhar Card made without any proof of identity. More importantly, they get an Indian identity. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the nodal agency that issues Aadhar cards however seems oblivious to all this. Cobrapost, exposes the underbelly of Aadhar, which was for long touted as Government of India’s most ambitious programme.

The Inside Story:

Posing as a conduit or an immigrant applicant, our Cobrapost reporter poses as a benefactor of refugees from Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, and approached a dozen Aadhar offices. He tells them that these immigrants have no proof of identity or proof of address but need help in getting an Aadhar card. The convenience, with which almost each of the Aadhar enrolment officers gave assurances to not only provide the Aadhar Card but also a proof of Indian identity, wasn’t surprising. Without a prescribed rulebook for the fraud it was up to these officers to make their demands. Most of them were reluctant initially, but gave in when the applicant agreed to the prescribed fees. The negotiations happened and a time was fixed for the applicant to come. Almost in all cases, the Aadhar officers asked for a photograph and address written on a piece of paper for the purpose of making an affidavit, as proof of identity. The affidavit had to be countersigned by the local MLA or a gazetted officer thus making it valid. No one bothered to check the antecedents of our immigrant applicants.

From charges as high as Rs 500 to as low as Rs 2500, the ‘Aadhar officers’ agreed to make Aadhar Cards for applicants without any proof of identification or proof of address. These are the same people who have been entrusted to securely collect and send the biometric and demographic data of an individual to UIDAI’s data collection centre in Bangalore, Karnataka.

In a recently filed RTI query by a former defence scientist and RTI activist, Mathew Thomas, it has been found that UIDAI has not cared to check the antecedents of the companies that have been enlisted to collect biometric data. He alleges that the RTI made it clear that the data is being made accessible to foreign countries as these companies are owned by former CIA and FBI officials. Thus, clearly enough our personal data may just be sold to these companies who may use it in any manner they fancy.

In an interview published on 14th January, 2011 in the Hard News Magazine, Mr. Nandan Nilekani, Chairman UIDAI, on being reminded that biometrics have been known to malfunction when such a large number of people are involved said, “I think it will work despite the problems. Obviously, when you implement a brand new technology, there will be challenges. But, fundamentally, it will work. In a context where many people have no identity and the ways of authenticating identity are not very robust, the fact that we are taking this to 99.99 per cent of the population is in itself a huge improvement. We must look at the programme's progress in terms of where we are and where we are going.”
With no or extremely feeble privacy laws in place, it has become imperative for India to declare ‘Right to Privacy’ as a fundamental right. A draft bill, which was introduced by the then law minister, M. Veerappa Moily in 2011 has still not been passed by the parliament. Indian citizens cannot defend themselves in the wake of a loss of privacy. For now, agencies like the UIDAI, who have vast deposits of the biometric and demographic details of billions of Indians can function without any trepidation. Evidently, the Government of India is not bothered about malfeasance and neither does it care if common citizens like us, who have unknowingly given their personal details, have any right to disclosure.

UIDAI knew India had a population of more than a billion and with a growth rate of almost 1.5% per year, it was bound to increase. Providing a unique identification number is not wrong but the manner in which UIDAI collected biometric data and proof of identity was. With enrolment centers functioning as fly-by-night operators, charging varying amounts of fees for manufacturing Indian identities for non-Indian applicants, capitalizing on their nexus with their local MLAs in generating a parallel line of business, Aadhar has failed on all parameters it was based on. It has yet again proved that populism oriented, government mandated schemes do not work in a country with such humongous demographics. Perhaps, Nandan Nilekani should first accommodate more questions to justify UPA’s most ambitious programme than to blatantly promote his candidature for the Lok Sabha 2014 elections.

We are providing small excerpts from the twelve cases where Cobrapost has exposed the business of making Aadhar cards for illegal immigrants who approach without any proof of identity.

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