Shri Arun Jaitley
Union Minister of Finance, Corporate Affairs, Defence
Government of India
Date: May 31, 2014
Subject- Ref: Biometric Aadhaar linked Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) for transfer of sovereign function of tax collection to a private firm
Let me congratulate on you on taking charge of the ministries of finance, corporate affairs and defence.
I submit that as finance minister you are inheriting the legacy of Shri James Wilson, a fee trade activist who became British India's first finance minister (called finance member then) who introduced Income Tax in India in 1860 to overcome the losses on account of the ‘Military Mutiny’ of 1857 by Indian revolutionary soldiers and after British Government realized that it cannot govern India indirectly through the fiction of the East India Company.
I wish to draw your attention towards your article “My Call Detail Records and A Citizen’s Right to Privacy” as the Leader of Opposition, Rajya Sabha which was published in Urdu, Gujarati, Hindi and English.
I submit that referring to the illegitimate advances of certain agencies trying to obtain your call records, you wrote, “This incident throws up another legitimate fear. We are now entering the era of the Adhaar number. The Government has recently made the existence of the Adhaar number as a condition precedent for undertaking several activities; from registering marriages to execution of property documents. Will those who encroach upon the affairs of others be able to get access to bank accounts and other important details by breaking into the system? If this ever becomes possible the consequences would be far messier.”
Your reading about the adverse implications of the disease called biometric identification syndrome spread by automatic identification and intelligence companies through likes of Shri Nandan Nilekani is quite accurate.
I submit that your comprehension is in sync with former intelligence contractor, Shri Edward Snowden’s disclosures. General Keith Alexander, as director of USA’s National Security Agency (NSA) had instructed information gathering saying, "sniff it all, know it all, collect it all, process it all and exploit it all”. This came to light when Russia Today made available some crucial pieces of information which was edited out NBC News broadcasted interview of Shri Snowden on the night of May 28, 2014. Shri Snowden observed, “The problem with mass surveillance is that we’re piling more hay on a haystack we already don’t understand.” This is what has been attempted by Shri Nilekani and people like Shri Sam Pitroda through Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations (PIII) who headed it in the rank of a cabinet minister.
It must be noted that by Notification No. A-43011/02/2009-Adm.1 (Vol II) dated 02.07.2009 appointment of Shri Nilekani as Chairperson of UIDAI in the rank and status of a Cabinet Minister was approved for an initial tenure 5 years. On March 5, 2014, Lok Sabha election dates were announced. On 09.03.2014, Shri Nilekani officially joined Indian National Congress without resigning from the post of Chairman, UIDAI. He wrote a letter to the Prime Minister relinquishing the post of Chairman, UIDAI vide ref.no. Chairman / 34/2013-UIDAI on 13.03.2014 but his resignation as accepted on 18.03.2014 by the ‘competent authority’ in Planning Commission, Government of India vide Notification no. F.6 /2009-Adm.I, with retrospective effect from March 13, 2014.
I submit that Shri Nilekani has been caught red handed in violation of the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules 1964. Under Rule 5 of the Rules regarding “Taking part in politics and elections” reads: “No Government servant shall be a member of, or be otherwise associated with, any political party or any organisation which takes part in politics nor shall he take part in, subscribe in aid of, or assist in any other manner, any political movement or activity.” While implicitly and informally Shri Nilekani functioned as a member of the Indian National Congress from July 2, 2009 but between March 9, 2014 and March 18, 2014, he functioned totally illegally and illegitimately by throwing all norms to the dustbin with impunity so far.
I wish to submit how biometric aadhhar is linked to Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN). It may be noted that the sovereign function of the tax administration is being transferred to Goods and Services Tax Network, a private body. This approach appears to have no parallel anywhere in the world.
I submit that a New Indian Express story ‘Aadhar cut down to size, data mining projects raise concerns’ (Sept 29, 2013) underlined how NIUs like GSTN are linked to biometric UID/aadhaar number. Supreme Court’s verdict on the legitimacy, legality and constitutionality of this identifier is likely to impact NIUs as well.
I submit that no taxation without political representation was the battle cry of the American Revolution. The issue is how GST can be imposed when there is no political representation in the GSTN. Chief Ministers of all non-Congress States and all the non-Congress parties be vigilant against the subversion of hard earned rights of true political representation in matters of taxation. Amidst opposition from Chief Ministers and officials from the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), GSTN is meant for controlling all new indirect tax data from the Centre and states.
It is noteworthy that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Dr J Jayalalithaa had sent a letter dated August 18, 2011 to non-Congress Chief Ministers urging them to stridently oppose the introduction of a Goods and Services Tax (GST). She argued that it would affect the fiscal autonomy of States. In the light of the proposal for GSTN, Dr Jayalalithaa’s opposition has been proven right because as per the plan, entire individual data—direct and indirect taxes—including registration, return and payment by taxpayers will be in custody of a NIU. It is a case of handing over of public data to a private entity. It is akin to day light robbery.
I submit that your predecessors have at the Finance Ministry have compelled the CBEC and Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to sign MoU for the sharing of data. This is to ensure that GSTN will be able to access and process the entire tax data-both direct and indirect taxes. It has asked the CBEC to hand over the processing of data for tax surveillance to GSTN. This has been done without any security or privacy safeguards.
I submit that such initiatives will lead to handing over the control over indirect and direct tax data to GSTN for tax profiling and surveillance without any legislation passed by Parliament, the personal sensitive information like biometric data is being handed over to UIDAI and its partner companies like Accenture from USA and Safran from France. This undermines citizens’ sovereignty, states’ autonomy and national security for good.
I submit that in April 2013, a number of news reports announced that the Government has ‘decided to set up a special purpose vehicle to provide information technology support to various stakeholders under the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST)’. The Goods and Services Tax is a value-added tax that is expected to replace all indirect taxes on goods and services imposed by the Centre and Indian states. The special purpose vehicle has been named the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN), is seen as an important step in ushering in a little understood but much touted reform, because it will make it possible to bring together taxation data from the Centre and states that was so far processed separately. The GSTN is already in place as a private limited company despite strong opposition by senior officials of the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), and Shri Naveen Kumar, former chief secretary of Bihar, has been appointed chairman. This body will control all new indirect tax data from the Centre and states and will have access to past data as well. The charges it will impose for processing this data will be the revenue that sustains its operations.
I submit that since the Finance Ministry headed by your predecessors directed the CBEC and Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to sign MoU for the sharing of data, Goods and Services Tax Network will be able to access and process the entire tax data of the country, both of direct and indirect taxes. Obviously, this should have been a matter for far more public debate than it has evoked, but the actual process of setting up Goods and Services Tax Network is far more alarming than this broad outline. Since it will have to be in place before the Goods and Services Tax is rolled out, the Finance Ministry has asked the CBEC to hand over the processing of data for tax surveillance to Goods and Services Tax Network, which would ensure it a revenue stream as soon as it takes over these functions.
As a result, Goods and Services Tax Network body will be the sole information hub for linking and processing all of India’s tax data, something that has never been attempted by the Government, leave alone a private entity. This is being done in the absence of any security or privacy provisions in place.
I submit that in January 2011, the Technology Advisory Group for Unique Projects (TAGUP) headed by Shri Nilekani recommended the setting up of five infotech intensive financial projects—for the Income Tax Department, National Pension Scheme, Reserve Bank of India, and for tracking government expenditure and Goods and Services Tax Network for the Goods and Services Tax. A similar structure for each of the five was proposed, a not-for-profit Section 25 company, with a self-sustaining revenue model, where the Government’s holding would be restricted to 49 per cent and private institutional holding set at 51 per cent.
I submit that a room at the end of a long corridor in Hotel Janpath, New Delhi in serves as GSTN’s office premises. Its Chairman Naveen Kumar has reportedly said, “We are basically an IT company. We will build infrastructure, operate and maintain it. This sector requires very high salaries and we can hire the best people from the sector. Then there is the question of the number of rules and regulations in government. Financial management norms have to be observed. These are quite time consuming. Doing anything takes time. We need to make records, observe rules, follow procedures, follow tendering methods, undergo vetting by the CAG, CVC and be under the CIC. Here we are not bound by rules, we can work faster, be more efficient.”
Having gone through relevant documents, I submit that the not-for-profit structure of GSTN means that before the company can sustain itself by levying user fees, it needs funds to hire the staff. Private investors—Housing Development Finance Corp Ltd, HDFC Bank Ltd, LIC Housing Finance Ltd, ICICI Bank Ltd and NSE Strategic Investment Corp Ltd—have no incentive to provide the necessary money. Therefore, GSTN has been set up on equity of just Rs 10 crore and the Government has provided it a one-time grant of Rs 315 crore. In effect, the government has funded a start-up that it does not even have majority control of.
I submit that despite the issue of money required, since GSTN is already in place as a self-sustaining body, it needs sources of revenue other than those that would be eventually generated from receiving and processing Goods and Services Tax data. This is unfolding as a result of the recommendations of the Empowered Group on IT Infrastructure for Goods and Services Tax headed by Shri Nilekani.
I submit that in November 2011, when the CBEC was brought fully into the picture, Ms Sheila Sangwan, then Member had summarised the problems with the Empowered Group’s proposals: ‘…a meeting was held wherein ‘There was unanimity amongst the officers present that the sovereign function to be performed by the tax administration should be kept out of the purview of the GST’ and GSTN, a private body. Ms Sangwan had pointed out that much the same could be done through a government-controlled body that would outsource computing requirements but would not lose control over the data. This has the advantage of retaining the security and privacy safeguards and legal controls that already exist for such data.
I submit that these apprehensions of senior officers of the CBEC have been set aside. In fact security at GSTN due to private control is worrisome. It is clear that tax profiling and surveillance has been handed over to GSTN without any legal mandate, the way biometric aadhaar unfolded.
I submit that this signals movement towards a regime where the country’s entire tax data will be accessible through a body which will be in no position to guarantee security standards.
I submit that likes of Shri Nilekani have been allowed to distort language and commit linguistic corruption to take away the sovereign function of tax collection from the Government and hand it over to National Information Utilities (NIUs) which is purported to be a private company with public purpose and which has profit making as motive but not profit maximizing.
I submit that in his book which was first published in 2008, Shri Nilekani is deeply worried because “zeroing in on a definite identity for each citizen particularly difficult, since each government department works as a different turf and with different groups of people.” He argues that “Our databases are in these disconnected silos” and states that “NIUs would be databases that amass information…” which will connect all these “disconnected silos”.
I submit that in this unprecedented move country’s most sensitive financial data -entire tax data of Indians has been turned over to a private firm, set up as a special purpose vehicle (SPV) named GSTN, an IT company on the recommendations of Shri Nilekani headed panel. GSTN is supposed to provide information technology support under the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST). There is no provision for data security in it.
As you are aware GST is a value-added tax which is expected to replace all indirect taxes on goods and services imposed by the Centre and Indian states. GST will replace the State VAT, Central Excise, Service Tax and a few other indirect taxes will be a broad-based, single, comprehensive tax levied on goods and services. It will be levied at every stage of the production-distribution chain by giving the benefit of Input Tax Credit (ITC) of the tax remitted at previous stages. GST is based on a destination-based taxation system, where tax is levied on final consumption. It is expected to broaden the tax base, foster a common market across the country, reduce compliance costs, and promote exports. The GST will be a dual tax with levy by both Central and State tax administrations on the same base. The GST demands a well-designed and robust IT system for realizing its potential in reforming indirect taxation in India. The IT system for GST would be a unique project, which will integrate the Central and State tax administration.
I submit that while presenting the Union Budget in 2011-12, the then Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee informed the Lok Sabha that Technology Advisory Group for Unique Projects (TAGUP) headed by Shri Nilekani, Chairman, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) which submitted its report dated January 31, 2011 and its recommendations have been accepted in principle. Other members of the TAG UP included Shri C. B. Bhave Chairman, SEBIR, Shri Chandrasekhar, Secretary, Department of Telecommunications, Shri Dhirendra Swarup, Former Chairman, PFRDAS, Shri S. Khan Former Member, CBDTP. Shri R. V. Ramanan Former Member, CBEC and Dr. Nachiket Mor Chairman, IFMR Trust.
This was a follow up what the Union Finance Minister had said in his Budget Speech of 2010–2011 with regard to the setting up of TAG UP. Para 104 of the Budget speech reads:
“An effective tax administration and financial governance system calls for creation of IT projects which are reliable, secure and efficient. IT projects like Tax Information Network, New Pension Scheme, National Treasury Management Agency, Expenditure Information Network, Goods and Service Tax, are in different stages of roll out. To look into various technological and systemic issues, I propose to set up a Technology Advisory Group for Unique Projects under the Chairmanship of Shri Nandan Nilekani.”
The TAGUP report states, “In recent years, Government functioning in general and specific projects in particular have come to involve complex Information Technology (IT) system development. Five projects stand out:
1. Goods and Services Tax (GST)
2. Tax Information Network (TIN)
3. Expenditure Information Network (EIN)
4. National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA)
5. New Pension System (NPS)”
It claims, “These five projects alone have immense transformative power and can change India’s growth trajectory.” The report reads: “The Group recommends that a class of institutions called National Information Utilities (NIU) may be put in place to handle all aspects of IT systems for such complex projects.” It further states, “As conceived by the Group, NIUs would be private companies with a public purpose: profit-making, but not profit maximizing.”
I wish to reiterate that NIU is manifestly an exercise in linguistic corruption with the aim of ‘building a coalition for change’.
TAGUP report claims that this concept is not new. It cites comparable examples like National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL), National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and entre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS). The report underlines that “The UIDAI published early on, the UIDAI Strategy Overview that described the strategic vision, from which many aspects of implementation have been derived.”
The TAG UP report reveals, “GSTN is an NIU that is being set up to serve multiple levels of Governments (Central and State) in GST”. It also states that “The IT Strategy for GST was defined and accepted within Government even before the NIU was selected.” It is noteworthy that IT Strategy for GST was also defined by Shri Nilekani.
I submit that in November 2011, Ms Sheila Sangwan, Member (Budget and Computerisation), had summarised the problems with the GSTN related proposals: ‘…a meeting was held on 14/15 November 2011 in the Chairman’s office (Shri S K Goel) to discuss the structure and functions of the proposed GSTN… Dr Nandan Nilekani has mentioned as minuted that there is need to go in for the SPV even without GST being introduced. ..There was unanimity amongst the officers present that the sovereign function to be performed by the tax administration should be kept out of the purview of the GST.’ It was noted that ‘Across the tax administration in the world, the privacy of taxpayer data is accorded utmost priority and it is the practice to house this data in Government hands…’ So far Chairman of CBEC has not addressed the essential question of who would be the repository of the data.
I submit that it was quite strange that Chairman of CBEC wrote that, ‘With regard to the concern of IT Security, it is not connected to the ownership of the management—Government or non-Government. In fact, the level of security is dependent upon the standards, safeguards and control processes that are put in place by the management. The GSTN could be asked to build necessary safeguards for ensuring the security and privacy aspects…With regard to the legislative route to set up SPV as Government entity, it is in complete contrast to the decisions taken in the past and it would jeopardize the consensus achieved so far and bring the discussions back to square one.’
The question is why is CBEC made to hurry to comply with the whims and fancies of Shri Nilekani and his coalition partners given the fact that Nilekani has never taken oath of office and secrecy?
I submit that Shri Naveen Kumar, the head of GSTN when was asked about control of the data said, “We will start from scratch with our own servers and beginning with a list of dealers we will start building a database of transactions on our system. For this, we do not need additional data from the Customs or any other department.” It is quite evident that servers of GSTN, a private company will be stored in a Grid of sort.
I submit that as Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee announced that India has “voluntarily sought a full-fledged Financial Sector Assessment Programme” from International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in January, 2011. This is similar to the voluntariness displayed in the drafting of Sixth Plan (1980-1985) after secret negotiations with the Bank.
I wish to draw your attention towards a chapter ‘Extended and Specialized Lending,’ in Silent Revolution The International Monetary Fund 1979–1989 by James M. Boughton published by IMF in October 2001, it is revealed that Congress Prime Minister Indira Gandhi “gave the go-ahead to enter into secret negotiations” with IMF, following which on November 25, 1980, Shri R.N. Malhotra, Secretary, Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance “visited the Managing Director at the Fund to signal his country’s interest in obtaining a credit arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) that offered the option of longer-term credits. The first negotiating mission went to New Delhi in January 1981, led by Tun Thin, Director of the Asian Department. The then Finance Minister, Shri R. Venkataraman, met with IMF’s Managing Director in Washington and subsequently signed and submitted the Letter of Intent on September 28, 1981. Following the IMF’s approval for EFF, Indian National Congress led government faced massive criticism for subjecting itself to IMF’s conditionality.
I submit that in an exercise of sophistry, this Congress led government argued that “the EFF arrangement did not impose conditionality at all, because it was fully consistent with the policies that were already incorporated in the Sixth Five-Year Plan” and after having internalized the conditionality imposed by IMF, Mrs Indira Gandhi informed the Parliament that “the arrangement does not force us to borrow, nor shall we borrow unless it is for the national interest. There is absolutely no question of our accepting any programme which is incompatible with our policy, declared and accepted by Parliament. It is inconceivable that anybody should think that we would accept assistance from any external agency which dictates terms which are not in consonance with such policies.” This IMF publication unequivocally establishes that Mrs Indira Gandhi lied to the Parliament and misled the nation.
I submit that GSTN is being created with an ulterior motive to bring it under the financial sector surveillance program of the IMF, World Bank Group in continuation of the policies pursued since the days of Mrs Indira Gandhi. These policies have made India servile to the dictates of the Bank. GSTN helps the World Bank Group to make deeper inroads and erode the financial sovereignty of the country in complicity with the ministers of the Congress party. The new government must reverse this trend in national interest.
I submit that Foreign Policy magazine of the Washington Post Company listed Shri Nilekani, apparently a protégé of Shri Mukherjee as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers in 2010. This was prior to disclosures about invasion of privacy by intelligence agencies of USA and UK by monitoring emails, web searches, and telephone records. And the disclosures by Wikileaks about the keen interest of US administration in the aadhaar project. It appears that Shri Nilekani undertook their task by collating biometric data of India. It is admitted his well wishers like the President of World Bank have volunteered his services to other developing countries as well. This was done in April 2013 at World Bank in Washington.
I submit that in October 2012, in an interview with McKinsey & Company, Shri Nilekani said, “Our goal, our vision, is by 2014 to have at least half a billion people on the system, which will make it one of the world’s largest online ID infrastructures. So that’s one metric of success. The second is we’d like to see two or three major applications that use this ID infrastructure. One of them is electronic benefit transfer, where governments will pay pensions, scholarships, or whatever entitlements by cash. And the third is [that] the mobile industry will use [the ID infrastructure] for verification”.
He added, “In the US, to me, the two big examples are the Internet, which was originally conceived as a defense project, and GPS. Again, it was a defense project. Both these things, though they began as [part of] a government defense infrastructure, today are the basis for huge innovation.” Shri Nilekani was/is aware that the substratum of the “world’s largest online ID infrastructures” is Internet which is in total control of US Government and US companies.
Let me inform you that in reply to the RTI application for copies of contracts with foreign companies, UIDAI at last agreed to share the because "contractual obligation in respect of BSP (Biometric Solution Provider) contracts has expired. Therefore, UIDAI has no objection in sharing the following contract details :-
a) Copy of contract of UIDAI with M/s L1 Identity Solutions for Biometric Technology; and
b) Copy of contract of UIDAI with M/s Accenture for Biometric Technology"
After examining these documents I wrote to UIDAI submitting that with regard to the M/s Accenture for Biometric Technology, I noticed that the first 237 pages appear to be in order but after that there is a one pager titled Annexure J Technical Bid Technical Bid as submitted by M/s Accenture Services Pvt Ltd. The Technical Bid document is missing. After that there is a one pager titled Annexure K Commercial Bid as submitted by M/s Accenture Services Pvt Ltd. The Commercial Bid document is missing.
With regard to the M/s L1 Identity Solutions for Biometric Technology, I noticed that the first 236 pages appear to be in order but after that there is a one pager titled Annexure I Non-Disclosure Agreement as submitted by M/s L1 Identity Solutions Operating Company Private Limited. But this document is missing. After that there is a one pager titled Annexure J Technical Bid as submitted by M/s L1 Identity Solutions Operating Company Private Limited. The Technical Bid document is missing. After that there is a one pager titled Annexure K Commercial Bid as submitted by M/s L1 Identity Solutions Operating
Company Private Limited. The Commercial Bid document is missing. These very pages were missing from the contract agreement of Ernst and Young as well. Also its pagination was not in order.
Company Private Limited. The Commercial Bid document is missing. These very pages were missing from the contract agreement of Ernst and Young as well. Also its pagination was not in order.
I also wrote to CIC responding to their letter dated September 10, 2013 stating that their reasoning for sharing the document due to "contractual obligation in respect of BSP (Biometric Solution Provider) contracts" having expired is flawed in the light of the previous judgment of Central Information Commission (CIC). Under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Public Information Officer (PIO) cannot deny information citing commercial confidence for agreements between a public authority and private party. While giving this judgment, CIC said “The claim of 'commercial confidence' in denying access to agreements between private parties and the masters of the public authorities—citizens—runs counter to the principles of the Right to Information.
“Any agreement entered into by the government is an agreement deemed to have been entered into on behalf of and in the interest of ‘We the people’. Hence if any citizen wants to know the contents of such an agreement he is in the position of a principal asking his agent to disclose to him the terms of the agreement entered into by the agent on behalf of the principal. No agent can refuse to disclose any such information to his principal,” the CIC said in its order dated 27 July 2009. An appeal for getting the missing pages has been filed by Col. Mathew Thomas and Qaneez Sukhrani who had filed the RTI applications, the former had asked me to appear on his behalf.
I submit that there is a need to examine the minutes of the admitted meeting between Mongo DB and UIDAI. It was evident from one of the RTI replies that UIDAI had given tasks to some company with whom it had no contract agreement. Its sounds like the R&D Centre of Bhopal which was operated by Union Carbide Corporation without permission based on "recognition"
I urge you to set up an inquiry commission to ascertain whether or not Internet that remains a defense project deeply allied with USA’s National Security Agency (NSA) is structurally linked to biometric aadhaar, National Population Register (NPR), PIII and GSTN. It is not without reason that Shri Nilekani maintained a deafening silence amidst NSA’s surveillance on Indian ministers and officialdom. In such a backdrop, it does not seem strange that PMO under the previous regime has withheld the correspondence it had with Shri Nilekani all through his tenure. The commission must unearth the players who wish to create and function through a fiction of private company with public purpose and profit making as the motive but not profit maximizing called NIU like GSTN.
Let me take the opportunity to submit that the Ministry of Defense must order a probe into the circumstances under which Admiral Nirmal Kumar Verma who as the Chief of the Naval Staff of Indian Navy, from 31 August 2009 to 31 August 2012 and as Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee got himself biometrically profiled on 18 August 2011 for aadhaar number. It must be examined whether he took the permission of Ministry of Defence before subjecting himself to the ignominy of being biometrically profiled. It is noteworthy that in November 2012, Admiral Verma was appointed as the High Commissioner to Canada. The probe must examine whether or not Admiral Verma’s biometric profile is available with Canada’s Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), which is part of the intelligence sharing alliance comprising of US, UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and France. In a seemingly unrelated development, Shri Nilekani was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, Canada on 31 May 2011.
I submit that Shri Nilekani was given ID Limelight Award at the global summit on automatic identification ID WORLD International Congress, 2010 in Milan, Italy on November 16, 2010 wherein Safran Morpho (Safran group) was a key sponsor of the ID Congress. Its subsidiary, Sagem Morpho Security Pvt Ltd has been awarded contract for the purchase of Biometric Authentication Devices on 2 February 2011 by the UIDAI. Earlier, on 30 July 2010, in a joint press release, it was announced that “the Mahindra Satyam and Morpho led consortium has been selected as one of the key partners to implement and deliver the Aadhaar program by UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India).” This means that at least two contracts have been awarded to the French conglomerate led consortium. Is it a coincidence that Morpho (Safran group) sponsored the award to chairman, UIDAI and the former got a contract from the latter?
It is noteworthy that Shri Tariq Malik, the then Deputy Chairman of Pakistan’s National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) was given the ID Outstanding Achievement Award on November 3, 2009 in Milan at the eighth ID WORLD International Congress.
In an interview, Shri Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks informed Imran Khan, a noted politician from Pakistan about the grave act of omission and commission. Shri Assange said, “…we discovered a cable in 2009 from the Islamabad Embassy. Prime minister Gilani and interior minister Malik went into the (US) embassy and offered to share National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) – and NADRA is the national data and registration agency database. The system is currently connected through passport data but the government of Pakistan is adding voice and facial recognition capability and has installed a pilot biometric system as the Chennai border crossing, where 30,000 to 35,000 people cross each day. This NADRA system is the voting record system for all voters in Pakistan. A front company was set up in the United Kingdom – International Identity Services, which was hired as the consultants for NADRA to squirrel out the NADRA data for all of Pakistan. What do you think about that? Is that a…? It seems to me that that is a theft of some national treasure of Pakistan, the entire Pakistani database registry of its people.” The interview is available here.
It must be noted that NPR is being prepared by Shri C Chandramouli, census commissioner & registrar general of India, is meant to create resident identity cards is exactly like Pakistan’s version of biometric exercise for citizens’ identity card which was completed by NADRA, ministry of interior, Government of Pakistan and their database has been handed over to US Government.
I submit that Dr M Vijayanunni, former Census Commissioner and Registrar General of India underlined had explained reasons for China giving up a similar exercise on Rajya Sabha TV on 2 February 2013.
In view of the above, if Shri Nilekani’s initiatives including GSTN are not reversed and he is not held liable and accountable in an exemplary manner for his illegal and illegitimate conduct and creation of questionable institutional entities, it will set a very bad precedent for ever.
I will be happy to share documents and references which have been cited above.
Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL)
Mb: 08227816731, 09818089660