Tag Archives: UID

Of mice, men and numbers

 

There will always be a part, and always a very large part of every community, that have no care but for themselves, and whose care for themselves reaches little further than impatience of immediate pain, and eagerness for the nearest good. Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784) Taxation No Tyranny

This seems to be the guiding philosophy behind all agencies, technologically empowered to gather information for their own ends. Governments have been, for very valid reasons, collecting in-depth information about the citizens, their location, education, well-being  and so on. It is now groups with less benign motives who gather information for their own ends. Not public information which is available from different sources, but invasive, personal information about routine activities that create a profile as X-Ray or MRI examination do of body.

Data – in itself an abstraction (meta-data?) – has come to represent materiality. Its value has outgrown that of idea. Lust for bits of insignificant reality has led to disregard and disdain for the individual. It was the idea that created a set of conditions known as democracy. Following the eternal ethos, Mahatma Gandhi stressed on purity of means to attain the desired (pure) end. Time and again his followers were frustrated by his insistence on absolute respect for this principle. It is evident in most everyday situations, the harm caused by neglect of this. The greatest harm, one that creeps in silently, is that impurity of action corrodes the mind. TheSpeaker

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Where knowledge is free

 

With a gesture of great hope, India has announced NATGRID.  This is a logical consequence to unique ID (UID) started a year back. The census exercise was designed as a preparatory step to this end and with people formally registering for (UID), a sharper data-set would be available to planners. An incentive had been originally envisaged and now various state governments are offering Rs. 100 to different segments, so that each individual has a bank account. The government will directly transfer a sum equivalent to US dollar 2.23 into the bank accounts of beneficiaries of social security schemes, pensioners, physically disabled and widows, and those of rural employment guarantee scheme who are below poverty line after they produce relevant documents as proof at the time of enrolment. Apart from understandable requirement for ration card (the sole universally obtained card across all sections in the country), other documents needed for UID like IP pump set details, Passbook number in milk cooperative society, Customer card number for LPG connection etcetera imply that data being collected would be used for other purposes as well.

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