Safety of Aadhaar
(GS-II: Government Policies and associated issues)
The Unique Identification Development Authority of India (UIDAI) chose to withdraw its advisory two days after it was issued, encouraging users to desist from distributing photocopies of their Aadhaar Card.
The notification has been withdrawn to avoid any misinterpretation.
What did the UIDAI advisory say?
Holders should utilise a masked Aadhaar card instead of the traditional photocopy.
The document must not be downloaded from a cybercafé or a public computer, and if it is, it must be wiped from the system permanently.
The first eight numbers of the twelve-digit ID are hidden behind ‘XXXX’ characters in ‘Masked Aadhaar.
What does the law say on usage of Aadhar and its safety?
The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 makes it clear that Aadhaar authentication is necessary for availing subsidies, benefits and services that are financed from the Consolidated Fund of India.
The requesting entity would have to obtain the consent of the individual before collecting his/her identity and ensure that the information is only used for authentication purposes on the Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR).
The Act makes it clear that confidentiality needs to be maintained and the authenticated information cannot be used for anything other than the specified purpose.
Identity information or authentication records would only be liable to be produced pursuant to an order of the High Court or Supreme Court, or by someone of the Secretary rank or above in the interest of national security.
The UIDAI is a statutory authority established on 12th July 2016.
Parent body: Works under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
Initially, the UIDAI was set up by the Government of India in January 2009, as an attached office under the aegis of the Planning Commission.
Mandate: The UIDAI is mandated to assign a 12-digit unique identification (UID) number (Aadhaar) to all the residents of India.
Total: As of 31st October 2021, UIDAI had issued 131.68 crore Aadhaar numbers.
(GS-III: Mobilization of resources)
The Union Cabinet has cleared a proposal allowing cooperatives to sell products on the Government-e-Marketplace (GeM) platform.
The move will benefit 27 crore people associated with 8.5 lakh cooperatives.
The micro and medium small industries will get buyers and it will boost the prospects of “Vocal for local” and Atma Nirbhar Bharat.
What is GeM?
It is a one stop portal to facilitate online procurement of common use Goods and Services.
The portal is open for all government buyers— Central and State Ministries, departments, public sector enterprises etc.
Private buyers cannot buy on the platform but private people can sell products to government bodies through the portal.
Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Significance of GeM:
Naga peace process
(GS-III: Internal security related issues)
Naga rebel group National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) or NSCN(IM) has stuck to its demands for a separate flag and a constitution in an indication that the deadlock in the peace talks with the central government, aimed at bringing an end to India’s oldest insurgency, is likely to continue.
The process has been ongoing since mid-1997 when the NSCN (I-M) declared a ceasefire with the armed forces. Other groups began opting for talks in 2001. However, it has been put in a cold storage” since the Framework Agreement was signed on August 3, 2015.
How old is the Naga political issue?
The British annexed Assam in 1826, and in 1881, the Naga Hills too became part of British India. The first sign of Naga resistance was seen in the formation of the Naga Club in 1918, which told the Simon Commission in 1929 “to leave us alone to determine for ourselves as in ancient times”.
In 1946 came the Naga National Council (NNC), which declared Nagaland an independent state on August 14, 1947.
The NNC resolved to establish a “sovereign Naga state” and conducted a “referendum” in 1951, in which “99 per cent” supported an “independent” Nagaland.
On March 22, 1952, the Naga Federal Government (NFG) and the Naga Federal Army (NFA) were formed. The Government of India sent in the Army to crush the insurgency and, in 1958, enacted the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.
Agreement in this regard:
The NSCN (IM) entered into a ceasefire agreement with the Centre in 1997 and the two have been holding talks since then, while a conglomerate of seven different Naga national political groups (NNPGs) also got into separate talks with the Centre since 2017.
The Centre signed a “framework agreement” with NSCN (IM) in 2015, and an “agreed position” with the NNPGs in 2017. However, the NSCN (IM)’s demand for a separate Naga flag and constitution has been a delaying factor in signing a final deal on the protracted Naga political issue.
The 2015 ‘agreement’:
After years of negotiations with successive governments, the NSCN(IM) had on August 3, 2015 signed a framework agreement with the BJP-led Centre.
The “agreement” was based on the idea of “shared sovereignty” for the Nagas, a community comprising more than 60 tribes (the exact number is unclear) spread across the Northeast and parts of neighbouring Myanmar.
Shared sovereignty denotes sharing of administrative and legislative power between India and ‘Nagalim’.
Under this arrangement, the Naga Hoho, the apex body of all Naga tribes, would look after the welfare of all Naga-inhabited areas, irrespective of their integration with the proposed ‘Nagalim’.
Caste-based census in Bihar
(GS-II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)
An all-party meeting held in Bihar has unanimously decided to start the caste-based census very soon.
Bihar Legislature’s two resolutions demanding caste-based census had already been rejected by the Central Government because it would be a “divisive exercise”.
The centre, however, said “States can hold caste census on their own”.
How have caste details been collected so far?
While SC/ST details are collected as part of the census, details of other castes are not collected by the enumerators. The main method is by self-declaration to the enumerator.
So far, backward classes commissions in various States have been conducting their own counts to ascertain the population of backward castes.
What kind of caste data is published in the Census?
Every Census in independent India from 1951 to 2011 has published data on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, but not on other castes. Before that, every Census until 1931 had data on caste.
What is SECC 2011?
The Socio-Economic Caste Census of 2011 was a major exercise to obtain data about the socio-economic status of various communities.
It had two components: a survey of the rural and urban households and ranking of these households based on pre-set parameters, and a caste census.
However, only the details of the economic conditions of the people in rural and urban households were released. The caste data has not been released till now.
Difference between Census & SECC:
The Census provides a portrait of the Indian population, while the SECC is a tool to identify beneficiaries of state support.
Since the Census falls under the Census Act of 1948, all data are considered confidential, whereas all the personal information given in the SECC is open for use by Government departments to grant and/or restrict benefits to households.
Pros of caste census:
The precise number of the population of each caste would help tailor the reservation policy to ensure equitable representation of all of them.
There is a possibility that it will lead to heartburn among some sections and spawn demands for larger or separate quotas.
It has been alleged that the mere act of labelling persons as belonging to a caste tends to perpetuate the system.