NDA’s Aadhaar Bill stronger than UPA’s on privacy: Nandan Nilekani

The Aadhaar Bill, 2016 clearly specifies that the biometric information captured will be used only for Aadhaar enrolment and authentication.

Written by P Vaidyanathan Iyer | New Delhi | Updated: March 17, 2016 6:45 pm
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NANDAN NILEKANI, the first Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), and considered one of the chief architects of Aadhaar, says the NDA government’s Aadhaar Bill has enough safeguards and this is probably the most stringent law on privacy till date in India.

“In fact, this (the Bill on privacy) is stronger than the original Bill. The Bill has very robust privacy protection beyond what any other legislation has ever provided in India. It is as good as it gets,” Nilekani told The Indian Express.

The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016 clearly specifies that the biometric information captured will be used only for Aadhaar enrolment and authentication. It will not be used for any other purpose nor shared with anyone. Such information will not be published or displayed publicly. Further, the authority cannot reveal the biometric information to any institution requesting authentication for a specific purpose.

BLOG | Aadhaar Bill: No respect for the law

The only exception to privacy protection that the Aadhaar Bill, 2016 provides is for reasons of national security. An individual’s information may be revealed in the interest of national security if a joint secretary in the Central government issues such a direction. Here, too, the decision will be valid for six months, and has to be reviewed by an Oversight Committee comprising the Cabinet Secretary and the secretaries of Legal Affairs and Information Technology.

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While this has sparked a debate on privacy being compromised in the name of the vaguely defined national security, the UPA government’s National Identification Authority of India Bill of 2010 too provided for such an exception in the interest of national security. The only difference is that the joint secretary had to take the approval of the Minister-in-charge. In the Aadhaar Bill, 2016, it is the highest level bureaucrat (Cabinet Secretary-led oversight committee) and not a political committee.

According to Nilekani, “World over every database is open for national security. In any country, national security concerns provides for authorities to access any system. The question is whether anyone will misuse it. The Aadhaar Bill has enough safeguards, and its privacy constraints are stronger than the previous Bill. It is a big leap forward in the quality of legislation India has seen.”

READ: Aadhaar bill is through after Opposition scores a few brownie points

Arghya Sengupta, Research Director, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, who assisted the NDA government in drafting the Aadhaar Bill, said personal privacy and personal data protection are two distinct issues. “My personal privacy is different from data protection. Of course, we need a separate privacy law. That is a big gap in the system. But as far as privacy of personal data and its protection is concerned, the Aadhaar Bill is a beta version of the privacy law will look like,” he said.

Explaining the rationale behind a bureaucrat-led oversight committee instead of a political committee (the earlier Bill provided for clearance by a minister-in-charge) to review a direction by a joint secretary, Sengupta said, “National security is not a prerogative of Parliament, but of the government.” While the possibility of misuse will always exist, the ultimate guard is the courts, he added.

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  1. S
    Selva
    Mar 17, 2016 at 12:22 pm
    Now Khangrees and thier NGO Chumchaas will say, Nandan's g-g-father has RSS genes, hence he shifted his loyalty - Pappu will tell and all chumchaas will start echoing...
    Reply
    1. H
      Haradhan Mandal
      Mar 17, 2016 at 6:22 am
      Nobody has yet given us a figure of how much money was spent on this humongous project (money wise humongous) (AND IF THE MONEY WAS SPENT WELL) and also an estimate/audit of the benefit (saving money from leakage, corruption and duplication of beneficiaries). AND IF THAT could have been done/achieved thru other administrative methods/systems . So far LPG cooking gas is the largest user-base (other than BPL/MNREGA programs, hopefully). Someone should give us how many AADADHAR Card holders/wage-payment were covered in the BPL/MNREGA programs and how much SUBSIDY money was spent on them. DBT (and AADHAR) was all about them.
      Reply
      1. I
        IML sood
        Mar 17, 2016 at 8:00 am
        Truth is always a truth?Now a Cong. Is supporting the Govt.s bill while party is thinking of going to Cout of law.What a hypocritics Pappus party people are?These shameless are nearing their elimination fromIndian political system.So these seems tobe desperate attempts to survive.
        Reply
        1. Y
          Yogita
          Mar 17, 2016 at 7:08 am
          Well done BJP for the vision and foresight of making Nandani dream come true
          Reply
          1. A
            Adgalakumar
            Mar 17, 2016 at 8:08 am
            Congress wants let loose of wealth to continue for their political ends. Now they cannot without . Hence w lot of problem with Congress. It is good that other opposition parties has sensed and not supported their move. IT IS GOOD THAT RULING PARTY HAS DONE WELL IN EXPOSING CONGRESS . AND HELPED PEOPLE TO GET THEIR DESERVING SHARE DIRECTLY IN THEIR BANK ACCOUNT, THAN BEING LOOTED BY LEADERS EARLIER. DO CONTINUE WITH SYSTEM FOR ALL THE GAPS AS NECESSARY, THERE BY COUNTRY WILL BE SAVING AND EARNING MORE THAN TAKING LOAN FROM COUNTRIES FOR DEVELOPMENT
            Reply
            1. B
              Balasaheb
              Mar 17, 2016 at 9:13 am
              There are some people who speaks truth , puts ethics before party
              Reply
              1. B
                BHARAT RAM
                Mar 17, 2016 at 11:37 am
                Note- Nandan nilekani is right but not BJPian (or BHAKTA). if he speak on Intolerance he will be same as other intellects then problem will arise for some kind of BJPian, actually some of people do not want to hide their privacy at the cost of BJPian.
                Reply
                1. B
                  Bhushan Rane
                  Mar 17, 2016 at 7:07 am
                  Shri Nandan Nilkeni was to be PM candidate of Congress party .I really appreciate his views.Eye opener for Pappu and company
                  Reply
                  1. B
                    B
                    Mar 17, 2016 at 4:54 am
                    The founder of Aadhhar under UPA has given mark. Now why Congress is cribbing in RS and LS?
                    Reply
                    1. D
                      DK
                      Mar 17, 2016 at 11:35 am
                      If someone questions integrity and credibility of Mr. Nilekani to comment on Aadhaar and the relevant nuances, think again. I only hope and wish, NDA is wise enough to bring Mr. Nilekani at the helms of Aadhaar to give it technological leap in its directions.
                      Reply
                      1. D
                        DA
                        Mar 17, 2016 at 9:18 am
                        Refreshing non-partisan honesty, even going against party-line. Mark of a professional. It would have been nice if civil and criminal remedies were available for breach of privacy. That is the only flaw I can think of. Expectation of absolute privacy is unreal - Intelligence agencies can breach pretty much anything, legally or not. That's their mandate.
                        Reply
                        1. D
                          din
                          Mar 16, 2016 at 10:12 pm
                          GOL MAL HAI Bhaya Dole MAL
                          Reply
                          1. K
                            Kannada First
                            Mar 17, 2016 at 10:27 am
                            Here comes a brave statement. True Kannadiga spirit, Nilekani avre.
                            Reply
                            1. T
                              T DUTTA
                              Mar 17, 2016 at 2:52 am
                              PREVENTION OF IMPERSONATION----may be the greatest benefit of AADHAR CARD SYSTEM---IMPERSONATORS SNATCH AWAY THE BENEFITS AND CREDIT WHICH IS DUE TO THE PERSONS THEY IMPERSONATE
                              Reply
                              1. I
                                Indian
                                Mar 17, 2016 at 10:49 am
                                No, you blind bhakats are...
                                Reply
                                1. A
                                  arv
                                  Mar 17, 2016 at 5:40 am
                                  ok now so the architect is saying but congress left is saying something else. shows pettiness of congress. NDTV and Indian Express can you show this duplicity over the board like you did for Kanhaiyaa. I guess you wont because you are targeting modiji.
                                  Reply
                                  1. M
                                    Mohan
                                    Mar 17, 2016 at 3:07 pm
                                    Nandan's statement is a slap on the face of Chornia hi
                                    Reply
                                    1. G
                                      G.Lakshminarayanan
                                      Mar 17, 2016 at 5:05 am
                                      Aadhar, at last, seen its light !! The Govt. has done a good job, by tweaking the bill as a money bill, otherwise, this would have also been another GST. One and only wish is that the same should not be crippled in the name of ;Judicial review !! After implementation and experience, umpteen possibilities exist to improve the bill, so that it acts as an 'universal identification number' of a person, at least in India. The 'privacy' argument is a 'hoax' !!
                                      Reply
                                      1. H
                                        Hemant
                                        Mar 17, 2016 at 6:25 am
                                        I am all for this bill. Sooner we start better. We have a long way to go where we can have a uniform identification of Indian citizens. if this was done in time we will not have issue we have in border states today. This will help in planning for development with accuracy. A better estimate can be arrived with this. As far as opposition is concerned that will always be there. Opposition should raise there points to make it better but not perfect. If we look for perfect bill that will never be there . All bills need to be looked in context ground realities and sense of timing also downside of not having a bill at all.
                                        Reply
                                        1. I
                                          Ind
                                          Mar 17, 2016 at 12:56 pm
                                          Khangree frustrated mind licking here. Who cares.
                                          Reply
                                          1. I
                                            Indradeb Pal
                                            Mar 17, 2016 at 9:08 am
                                            The analysis by Nandan N. exposes the congress claims.
                                            Reply
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