Dr Manmohan Singh
Cabinet Committee on Unique Identification Authority of India related issues
Government of India
Through Cabinet Secretary, Government of India
Subject-Concerns about Unique Identity Manifesto, NATGRID, World Bank’s eTransform Initiative & contracts with US & French Biometric Companies
I wish to draw your considered attention towards the manifesto titled “2083: A European Declaration of Independence” brought out by Norwegian gunman and neo-Crusader, Anders Behring Breivik who carried out the heinous attacks on his fellow citizens. This manifesto refers to the word “identity” over 100 times, “unique” over 40 times and “identification” over 10 times. There is reference to “state-issued identity cards”, “converts’ identity cards”, “identification card”, “fingerprints”, “DNA” etc. The “unique identity” manifesto of 1500 pages prepared for Europe is attached.The words in this manifesto give a sense of deja vu.
It finds resonance in the unique identification (UID) number exercise for Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR) for National Intelligence Grid that is unfolding in our country amidst emergence of terror groups of all shades and colours who can access or wikileak the “online database” that was proposed in the Union Budget 2009-10. A careful perusal of documents reveals that it is being linked to the electoral database too.
This is also with reference to the news report “Whistleblower NGO at receiving end of police” and “NGO’s shelters shut after it pointed out UID flaws” in The Times of India (July 4, 2011). Following this on 9th July, 2011, a “Citizens Declaration Against UID Number” was adopted in New Delhi which called for the audit of the activities of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) since January 2009 by Comptroller Auditor General (CAG) of India. The Declaration adopted at a meeting organised by Sahari Adhikar Manch and Indo Global Social Service Society sought abandonment of the UID project. The Declaration and the list of organisation that participated in it is attached.
Earlier, at a meeting “to learn from ongoing struggles, discuss Legislative Oversight on IFIs & strategise towards Policy Standards for National/Private financial institutions in India” held in Kolkatta during 20-21st June 2011, some 70 organisations called for the scrapping of the UID Number project. This meeting was organised by National Alliance of People’s Movements, Bank Information Center, National Hawkers Federation and Delhi Forum. A National Seminar was organized jointly by A N Sinha Institute of Social Studies (ANSISS), Patna, INSAF and Citizen’s Forum for Civil Liberties, New Delhi on “Idea of Unique Identification (UID) Number/ Aadhaar Project” on 21st February, 2011 in Patna also sought stoppage of the project.
At a National Consultation on “Litigating Against Corporations for Human Rights” held in Goa, during 5th & 6th February 2011, the participants gathered from all over the country and aboard endorsed the Statement of Concern seeking halting of UID Number project. The National Consultation was organsied by Human Rights Law Network, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, All India Drug Action Network, PEACE, Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India, SEZ Virodhi Manch, Initiative for Health Equity in Society.
While UIDAI has been informing the residents, citizens, concerned government departments and the media that the UID Number scheme is voluntary, the ‘Legal Framework For Mandatory Electronic Delivery of Services’ of Union Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, refers to “UIDAI – UID based authentication for services” as an enabler, thus making it compulsory. Although the National Identification Authority of India Bill (NIAI), 2010 has not yet been passed by the Parliament, UIDAI has been functioning without legislative approval since January 2009.
I submit that as per Cabinet Secretariat’s website (http://cabsec.nic.in/showpdf.php?type=council_cabinet_committees), the “Functions” of Cabinet Committee on Unique Identification Authority of India related issues include “All issues relating to the Unique Identification Authority of India including its organization, plans, policies, programmes, schemes, funding and methodology to be adopted for achieving the objectives of that Authority.” The legislation-NIAI Bill, 2010 which was introduced in the Parliament in December 2010 after the launch of the UID Number scheme in September 2010, and after the presentation of the Union Budget of 2009 and 2010 that made allocations for UIDAI is with the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance but does not find mention as part of its function. A careful perusal of the Bill shows that its Section 57 is one of the most controversial provisions imaginable in a parliamentary democracy.
It appears that the UID Number and the NIAI Bill is linked to the Land Titling Bill, 2011, National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid), World Bank’s eTransform Initiative, Census, National Population Register, UNDP, US and French Biometric technology companies like L1 Identities Solution, Accenture (which works with US intelligence agencies) and Morphis, and Pakistan’s National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA) which was established in March 2000 to provide integrated homeland security solutions. It also seems related to proposed Privacy Bill, DNA Profiling Bill and Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations (PIII) in pursuance of World Bank’s Transformational Government initiative that has failed in UK,
It is noteworthy that senior officials of NADRA and UIDAI like Shri Tariq Malik and Shri Nandan Manohar Nilekani have been awarded by ID WORLD International Congress, the Global Summit on Automatic Identification in Milan, Italy in 2009 and 2010. Is it a coincidence that on June 23, 2011 UNITED NATIONS PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD was given to Managing Director of Mission Convergence Smt Shyami Sodhi in Tanzania which is implementing the UID Number program in the National Capital Region of Delhi? It is germane to note that World Bank’s eTransform Initiative too is supporting convergence of public sector, private sector and citizen sector.
I submit that the “Strategic Vision on the UIDAI Project” document that was prepared and submitted to Processes Committee of the Planning Commission (set up in July 2006) by M/S Wipro Ltd (Consultant for the design phase and program management phase of the Pilot UIDAI project) seems to be missing. Another 15 page document of WIPRO’s titled “Does India need a Unique Identity Number?” cited example of UK’s Identity Cards Act, 2006 on page no. 6 to advance the argument of UID Number in India?. Now UK’s new Government has abandoned its National Identity Cards Scheme and has announced it in the British Parliament, the same legislature which passed India Independence Act, 1947. Will UID database (CIDR) and NATGRID be under legislative scrutiny?
I wish to draw your attention towards a document titled “Homeland Security in India” that underlines the connection between UID number and National Intelligence Grid (NAGRID). This document has been prepared by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) which has a membership of over 300,000 companies and KPMG, a transnational firm that operates in 140 countries which is affiliated to KPMG International, a Swiss agency. NATGRID Chief Capt. Raghu Raman, wishes to hand over “internal security” of the country to the “commercial czars” and recommends “private territorial armies” to safeguard “corporate empires” as per his paper titled “A Nation of Numb People”. The paper is attached.
I submit that Capt. Raghu Raman who is the Chairman of Internal Security Committee, Bombay Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCI). He is Head of Subgroup on Industry Guidelines. He is a Member of National Task Force on Internal Security, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). He is member of the London Speaker Bureau. He is the former CEO of Mahindra Special Services Group (MSSG) – a leading corporate security risk consulting firm. As you are aware our intelligence organisations are not accountable to the Parliament, revealing this Intelligence Services (Powers and Regulation) Bill, 2011 has been introduced as a Private Member Bill by Manish Tiwari, Spokesperson of the Indian National Congress. Is it sufficient? It is noteworthy that Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Shri Arun Jaitly has rejected the idea of NATGRID. A cover story that attempts to map out its ramifications published in Hindi is attached. Is it the case that India’s security is more safe from transnational interests in his hands than in the hands of our Parliament?.
It is relevant to examine the reasons for the advocacy of NATGRID by Col. Richard Kemp who has served in the British Army from 1977 to 2006 and who was Chairman of British Forces in Afghanistan and worked for the Joint Intelligence Committee around the globe by citing terror attack in the Norway last week and the attack in Mumbai the week. In an article in The Times of India dated 26 July, 2011, he states that “one of the greatest failings in British intelligence that allowed the July 2005 attacks to succeed was inadequate IT” and blames “bureaucratic paralysis” in India that has stalled the implementation of the National Intelligence Grid (that) needs to be unlocked – and fast. Such touching faith in IT is misplaced. Late Roger Needham, a British computer scientist aptly said, “if you think IT is the solution to your problem, then you don’t understand IT, and you don’t understand your problem either.” Col. Richard Kemp does not disclose that UK government has abandoned its identity card project that was launched by the UK Labourt Party government he served.
I wish to draw your attention towards Nandan Manohar Nilekani’s promotion of Hernando de Sotto’s failed idea and book ‘The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else’ through his own book Imagining India arguing that national ID system would be a big step for land markets to facilitate right to property and undoing of abolition of right to property in 1978 in order to bring down poverty!.In the Draft Land Titling Bill too there was a reference to Unique Property Identification Number. It appears that the real motive of the UID Number is being hidden. Even the revised Land Titling Bill, 2011 which is open for public comments till 31st July, 2011 is explicitly linked to UID Number.
In such a backdrop, it is relevant to identify the seemingly anonymous corporate and foreign donors who seem to be driving the UID Number, NATGRID and related programs of World Bank Group, UNDP and legislations.
I wish to draw your urgent attention towards the World Bank’s partnership with six multinational companies and two governments that was announced by the World Bank on April 23, 2010 in Washington. It is also to draw your attention towards a Wikileaks cable that reveals how the US State department is interested in knowing about India’s Unique Identification program, a biometric database of the world’s largest democracy. The information sought by US authorities is available on Wikileaks website. It appears that UNDP’s “Innovation Support for Social Protection” [Award ID: 00049804, Project: 00061073; Confer: Output 1, Target 1.2 (a) & Output 3 (a), (b)] is also linked to it.
I submit that there is something inexplicable about following multiple identities of Shri Nilekani:
1) He is head of Technology Advisory Group on Unqiue Projects (TAGUP) that proposes “private company with public purpose” and with “profit making as the motive but not profit maximising”.
2) He is head of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) which is functioning without legislative approval either at the centre or in the states and has signed contracts with US companies like L1 Identities Solution that works with US Intelligence agencies.
3) He is head of Committee on Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) technology for use on National Highways that proposes Radio Frequency Identification (RFID).
4) He is head of Inter-ministerial task force to streamline the subsidy distribution mechanism
5) He is head of Government of India’s IT Task Force for Power Sector
6) He is member of National Knowledge Commission
7) He is member of Review Committee of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission
8) He is member of National Advisory Group on e-Governance
9) He is member of Subcommittee of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) that dealt with issues related to insider trading
10) He is member of Reserve Bank of India’s Advisory Group on corporate governance
11) Prime Minister’s National Council on Skill Development
The list is not exhaustive. Shri Nilekani has many more identities as a shareholder and as a former head of a corporation.
In view of the above concerns, I wish to know whether you have taken note of these issues which seems linked to our national security, human rights and natural resources. I have made similar submissions earlier as well.
I will be happy to share all the documents based on which I have made the above submissions.
Member, Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL)
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)
Mb: 09818089660, 07739308480
Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Union Minister of Finance
Shri Salman Khursheed, Union Minister of Law and Justice and Minister of Minority Affairs
Shri Jairam Ramesh, Union Minister of Rural Development and Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation
Chief Minister, Government of Bihar
Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance
Chairman, Public Accounts Committee
Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture
Chief Election Commissioner
Comptroller & Auditor General of India
Lt Governor, Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi
Chief Secretaries, Governments of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Puducherry, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura.
Administrators, Governments of Andaman and Nicobar (UT), Dadra and Nagar Haveli (UT), Daman and Diu (UT) and Lakshadweep (UT)
P.S: The UID project is going to do almost exactly the same thing which the predecessors of Hitler did, else how is it that Germany always had the lists of Jewish names even prior to the arrival of the Nazis? The Nazis got these lists with the help of IBM which was in the ‘census’ business that included racial census that entailed not only count the Jews but also identifying them. At the US Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, there is an exhibit of an IBM Hollerith D-11 card sorting machine that was responsible for organising the census of 1933 that first identified the Jews.