(1/16) "The poor are the guinea pigs for immature financial technologies"

Jean Drèze on the Airtel-Aadhaar scam, Aadhaar Payment Bridges System, 'LALA' rules & the resulting havoc on fragile lives of the poor.



#Pensions #AadhaarFail #Airtel
(2/16) Vimla Devi from Murhu Jharkhand explains how she has been running pillar to post to find out about her pensions. She last received them in Sept. 2017.

(3/16) A team from @rozi_roti, when investigating the issue, find out that the money is being sent to an Airtel payment account that Vimla knew nothing about. Here is proof of the same.

(4/16) How does this happen? First, Airtel payment wallet account are opened behind customer's back. Happened because when one used Aadhaar biometrics to authenticate and buy an Airtel SIM card, they 'consented' to the opening of an Aadhaar-linked Airtel payment wallet.
(5/17) Okay, but how did the pension end in the Aadhaar payment wallet? This is where Aadhaar Payments Bridge System comes. The wizards of APBS want Aadhaar to become a "financial address", as the @UIDAI puts it - Aadhaar will suffice and you don't need bank a/c #, IFSC etc.
(6/17) But what if you have multiple bank accounts? APBS sends money to whichever account is most-recently linked to Aadhaar. Drèze calls this the 'latest-Aadhaar linked account' aka LALA rule. Unfortunately, most people including Vimla (and most of us) have not heard of it.
(7/16) Yet, it is the brilliant LALA rule that lead to Vimla's pensions being diverted to her Aadhaar payment wallet.

Fortunately, even the relatively privileged suffered from such issues with their LPG subsidy being diverted into similar Airtel payment wallets.
(8/16) In Dec '17, Airtel paid an 'interim penalty' of Rs. 2.5 crores.

As noted here, given that these accounts are still active (see tweet #3), the 2.5 crores seems more like a bribe than a penalty.

(9/16) The Airtel scam is just one eg of the hazards of the LALA rule. As most people haven't heard of it, they often spend a lot of time & money looking for 'direct' benefits. This is esp. unkind to elderly, single women & disabled persons, for whom every visit can be an ordeal.
(10/16) Premani Kunwar was a victim of the havoc from LALA. Late last year, Premani Kunwar died of starvation after her pension was diverted to someone else's account because her Aadhaar number had been wrongly linked to it.

(11/16) Further, the term LALA rule is just one of the many hurdles. . Many accounts which used to receive DBT benefits were frozen because the a/c holder was unable to meet the 'e-KYC' requirements (including biometric authentication)
(12/16) Another issue is the one of "rejected NREGA payments". According to official MoRD data, close to Rs 500 crore of NREGA wage payments were rejected in 2017-18, of which Rs 321 crore was still pending last May.

One of many reasons for delays is "inactive Aadhaar".
(13/16) Incidentally, when asked what "inactive Aadhaar" meant via an RTI, UIDAI pleaded ignorance and forwarded to MoRD. MoRD in-turn forwarded it to the Jharkhand Govt., who have helpfully forwarded it back to MoRD.
(14/16) Depriving pensioners or NREGA workers of their meagre incomes, without putting in place effective assistance facilities, is a glaring injustice. Interestingly, the UIDAI had no difficulty in recognizing the injustice when it came to the diversion of LPG subsidy.
(15/16) Swift action was taken and an audit was even commissioned from (the fraud) @PwC. Meanwhile, poor people continue to be treated as guinea pigs for immature financial technologies.
(16/16) "What needs auditing is not just Airtel's antics but the entire DBT system and, especially, APBS. But with the UIDAI safely ensconced behind a thick wall of impunity, who will bell the cat?"


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More from @roadscholarz

Aug 1, 2018
(1/11) @rssharma3, Twitterati has already had a hearty meal of this but in case you haven't followed, contrary to all you Aadhaar Uncles' claims of curbing (all sorts of obscure) fraud, Aadhaar has instead enabled many kinds of fraud. #AadhaarFail
(2/11) What if you find that your Aadhaar number is linked to a bank a/c without consent?

Certainly happened with Mr. Kulkarni. He was lucky it was his own account. What if yours get linked to an account used for unscrupulous activities? #AadhaarFail

(3/11) What if your loan application gets rejected because a loan in your name was drawn and defaulted on, all without your consent? Sure happened to Mr. Thakur from Bhopal. #AadhaarFail

Read 11 tweets
Jul 22, 2018
Questions to NN following from @virsanghvi interview: NN(@2.30) "I wrote to the Prime minister about privacy in 2010" - would be kinda nice to see what exactly was said. Can he release that correspondence?
NN@2.45: "I went back to being a good guy in the last few months" (we dispute this self-certification)..."people have realized that there are lots of things happening in the world which were far more pernicious".
No, NN. ...2/n
Aadhaar is as bad as China's social crediting system which at least is happening in a country which no many think of as a real democracy.
NN@2.48 still maintains that "In the Aadhaar design, Aadhaar was designed not to collect data". Wow. 3/n
Read 25 tweets
Jul 13, 2018
13 deaths in jharkhand since September 2013
Premani Kunwar was one of them
Several of these deaths were due to Aadhaar related disruptions in ration and pension delivery
Read 8 tweets
Jun 4, 2018
*Aadhaar Propaganda Lives OK: CGD’s fishy blog*

The most recent CGD (@CGDev) blogpost on Aadhaar has prompted a few questions.

Thread (1/17) #AadhaarFail

2/17: What credibility does lead author @AlanHGelb, who was party to fabrication of the oft-cited $11 billion Aadhaar savings figure for the World Development Report 2016, have on this issue?

The bogus figure originated in the spotlight co-authored by Gelb. See images.
3/17: To understand just how and why the $11billion savings figure was cooked up, and how audacious post-hoc calculations were fabricated to justify the number, please read this post by Drèze & Khera.

In short, it was all just made up. Entirely.

Read 18 tweets
Apr 1, 2018

"Aadhaar, A Double Whammy" by Reetika Khera

#AadhaarFail 1/6
"In the final hearings on the Aadhaar project in the Supreme Court, the Attorney General's main (perhaps only) line of defence is that the court must 'balance' the right to life of millions, which he claims is guaranteed by Aadhaar, with the right to privacy." 2/6
Says even were to grant (for the sake of argument) that Aadhaar enables in delivering welfare and admit that a trade-off b/w right to life and right to privacy exists in the case of Aaadhaar, J Chandrachud's privacy judgement was a resounding rejection of such a proposition. 3/6
Read 6 tweets
Sep 25, 2017
Still believe #Aadhaar is good for #welfare? Here's why it's not. Glimpses from a recent PDS- Aadhaar Survey in Jharkhand /0

Olasi Hansda*, a widow, cannot walk, hence cannot authenticate herself = No grains since Jan. /1

Fingerprints do not match for Jainathram = No grains since Sept. 2016 /2

Read 20 tweets

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