NCCF/UIDAI/2014/005 2nd March 2014
Hon. Chief Minister of Goa,
Hon. Chief Minister of Goa,
Through Mr. Avertano Furtado,
Hon. Minister for Labour & Fisheries and
MLA, Navelim Constituency.
Sub: Request to withdraw the Direct Benefit Transfer of LPG Subsidy (DBTL) Scheme
The Direct Benefit Transfer of LPG Subsidy (DBTL) Scheme which is being enforced in a few states including Goa, is a total failure and needs to be immediately withdrawn and scrapped as many persons who have enrolled by linking their Aadhar number & Bank account to their LPG connection, have not received the subsidy amount in their banks. Now with the Central Government having announced that the scheme will be suspended and the Petroleum Minister, Mr. Veerappa Moili having endorsed this in national Television, the people of Goa are at loss to understand as to how the LPG dealers are charging full rate for the cylinder refills and how the subsidy amount will be reimbursed to them.
In addition there are many of us who have not yet enrolled for the Unique Identification number (UID) or ‘Aadhaar’ issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India for the following reasons:-
1. The National Identification Authority of India, (NIDAI) Bill 2010”, which was introduced in Parliament was rejected by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance in December 2011, calling it directionless, lacking clarity of purpose and raising serious concerns regarding national security. The Committee rejected not just the Bill, but it also trashed the UID scheme. Implementation of the UID scheme without a law violates the Constitution.
2. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Mr. Rajeev Shukla has replied in both Houses Parliament, i.e. in Lok Sabha on 8/5/13 and in Rajya Sabha on 23/8/13 that Aadhaar card is not mandatory for availing subsidies including domestic cooking gas and that “if any public sector undertaking is doing it, we will correct it”.
3. The Aadhaar enrolment form says that Aadhaar is free and voluntary.
4. Supreme Court Judgment dt. 23/9/2013 in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 494 of 2012 says: - “In the meanwhile, no person should suffer for not getting the Adhaar card in spite of the fact that some authority had issued a circular making it mandatory”. Hence continuation of this system amounts to contempt of Supreme Court Orders.
5. The personal data like finger prints and iris scan will be owned by a Private entity not by the Government. As per the report of the TAG-UP Committee headed by Nandan Nilekani, government data and databases would be privatised through the creation of NIUs, which will then ‘own’ the data and the government would become a ‘customer’. In this set-up, we are witnessing the emergence of an information infrastructure, which the government helps by financing and facilitating the ‘start-up’ and by the use of coercion to get people on to the database, which it will then hand over to corporate interests when it reaches a ‘steady state’. “Once the rollout is completed,” the Nilekani committee says, “the government’s role shifts to that of a customer.” Those enrolling on the UID database have not been informed that their data is to yield profit for the UIDAI, Rs. 288.15 crore a year and its only investor, the government, does not even own the data. How many in the government are even aware of this investing of ownership in an entity that continues to remain deliberately undefined and opaque?
6. Right to Privacy is inherent in the right to life guaranteed under our Constitution. When the government proposes to gather personal and biometric data of the people it intrudes into their privacy. Such acts cannot be done without the sanction of law.
7. Aadhaar card is no longer unique; there are instances when it was duplicated. According to a report in Matrubhoomi, a Kerala-based newspaper, PV Narayanan, a resident of Panatthadi panchayat received two Aadhaar numbers: 548780623023 and 356459270677. There are instances reported in Goa also that 5 fake Aadhar cards were found.
8. One of the UIDAI's contractors is L1 ID Solutions (L1 for short). The company was formed through the efforts of La Penta, which merged two companies, Viisage and Identix to set up L1. Viisage was under investigation by US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for certain offenses. Is it prudent or even sensible to contract with such a company for biometric services for the entire population of this country? In other words to be identified as an Indian, a foreign, private shady company would have to verify and certify that the biometric images stored in their database matches that of the person being identified.
9. In any financial system based on authentication there is a concept of a password. In case of a banking system, if password is stolen, calling up the bank and asking it to deactivate current password and sending a new password is practical and workable option. In this Aadhaar card system this basic principle is broken: the password is biometric which cannot be changed. Thus, if biometric is lost (fingerprints can be stolen), that person is doomed, because it is not possible to get new fingerprints and the data will be lost forever to the person who stole the password. With how much care and how much ever security, there is a finite possibility that some people will lose their biometrics in this system and they will be shut down from the system for good.
10. But in case you still feel it is required, then please give us a choice to submit other I.D. documents like voter’s card, Passport, Driving license, Pan card, residence certificate, ect in lieu of Aadhaar. All these documents are unique i.e. one person can have only one card. On the other hand, it is clearly mentioned on the Aadhar card that it is only an identity card and not a citizenship proof, whereas some of the above mentioned cards prove your citizenship as well.
In this time of high inflation where the common men is already reeling under high rise in cost of everything, this extra load of Rs.600/- per cylinder will add to his misery. The majority of poor people are not used to banking system and most don’t even have bank accounts. Even after forcing them to open bank accounts, many people are unable to effectively use it and are finding it extremely difficult to pay Rs.1, 156/- upfront to buy a cylinder refill. Add to it the confusion of whether the subsidy is deposited or not. People all over Goa are losing their patience and have approached us for support in this major issue affecting each and every household in Goa. We have received complaints of people with Aadhaar card as well as people who have not yet enrolled for the Aadhaar card.
If the Mamta Banerji led All India Trinamool Congress Government in Bengal has demanded that the government fully complies with the verdict of the Honourable Supreme Court immediately and withdraws this notification, the Government of Kerala too has objected to this system and recently even the Maharashtra Government has put it on hold, why can’t the Goa Government also join in and scrap it? The Congress Government of Mr. Digambar Kamat was one of the 1st in India to sign the MOU with UIDAI without giving a thought to its implementation as well as the legal aspect, i.e. whether the Parliament has passed it or not.
Therefore in the best interest of Goans, we request that this scheme (DBTL) be dropped and the earlier system of buying the LPG refills at subsidized rate be followed in Goa.
Awaiting an early action from you, thanking you in anticipation,
For Navelim Civic & Consumer Forum,