Saturday, August 9, 2014

Aadhaar Roundup-3

Aadhaar project is well on its way to completion. Nearly 730 enrollments have happened and 650 million aadhaar numbers have been generated as of 28th July,2014. Nearly 45 million enrollment packets were rejected as duplicates. The project has crossed several hurdles till now and faced the litmus test several times.
The first and foremost is that the new NDA government has chosen to complete the enrollments into aadhaar. They have sanctioned nearly 2000 crore for enrollments of nearly 10 crore more people in this fiscal year 2014-15. This is higher than what the UPA provided in its last year in office. There was an important meeting of the prime minister, finance minster and various cabinet secretaries where all issues regarding aadhaar were discussed. The finance minster Mr. Arun Jaitley has been told to sort out the legal issues surrounding making aadhaar mandatory. Also it has been decided that the NIAI(National Identification Authority of India) bill pending since 2010 will be passed as soon as possible.
The turnaround in the NDA stance on aadhaar came after a crucial meeting of prime minster with Mr. Nandan Nilekani(Ex-Chairman,UIDAI) on July 1st where he gave a presentation on aadhaar. The new government appears to be in no hurry to foist a half baked solution on the people. So aadhaar enrollments continue but its linkage to DBTL or PDS is kept in abeyance. The aadhaar would purportedly be used to only eliminate duplicate and ghost identities in beneficiary lists. Its use as a bridge in sending benefits to bank accounts may need other pillars like financial inclusion in place which may take some more time. This cautious approach is not only wise, this is brilliant and pragmatic.
After having travelled so far the aadhaar project is now getting rolled out in hard to enroll places like eastern UP, Bihar and Chhattisgarh. It has faced maoist threats. Lawlessness pervades in these areas where mafia rules. It would be difficult for the enrollment agencies to enroll people at the same cost that they did in safer areas of the country. Enrollments are at 10-12 million levels per month as of july,2014. They are expected to accelerate to normal rate of 30 million per month. Several state governments such as AP, Karnataka and Maharashtra have decided to use aadhaar to eliminate bogus ration cards.
Out of respect for some aadhaar related blogs and sites I am giving a link to them.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

What makes us unique – A few Statistics

Some stats from my memory, which you will find interesting, in case you didn’t know. I divide them into two categories viz those stats that are likely to improve and those that will worsen. I am sure there are a million other ways of looking at things and that many other stats. These are some i know about.

Improving and likely to improve further:-

These statistics are showing improvement and are likely to improve further.

While agriculture provides the largest source of employment its share in economic output as a percentage has reduced to 18% employing nearly 50% of the labour force. Agricultural growth is needed to increase income. As lesser and lesser number of people depend on agriculture per capita income of agriculturists will increase. Prices of food items has risen several fold in the past few years and many farmers have become rich overnight.
Energy Deficit
Non-renewable sources of energy are expected to exhaust soon. Our present energy deficit where we import nearly 80% of our petroleum requirements might cease to exist in four to five decades as petro stocks dwindle. We are endowed with large renewable resources such as solar and wind energy.
Electricity T&D among highest in the world
Most state electricity boards have reported improvement in T&D losses which are at a high 20-25%. The reduction in losses is being aided by modern methods/devices of electricity distribution and slow migration to smart grids. Per capita consumption of power has increased and is now at nearly 800 units per person per year.
Giant strides in education are being taken and literacy would soon reach eighty to ninety percent in another decade. We are losing our uniqueness on this dimension fast. People are recognizing the importance of educating their children.
Low Telecom and Internet Penetration
A large percentage of consumers have wireless as a means of connectivity in the last mile. Rural tele density which was very low before the advent of mobile phones has reached nearly 40%. Urban areas have nearly 100% tele-density and almost everyone in cities now owns a mobile phone. Smartphone sales have started picking up and the trickle is turning into an avalanche. Internet penetration has reached 200 million users in which a majority access through their mobiles. Internet user base is increasing at a rate of 6 million every month at this time (July,2014). Mobile data consumption has doubled in the last one year. There are a large number of students using the internet as a learning tool.
Cash heavy economy
The number of credit and debit cards is slowly picking up. The number of ATMs has crossed the figure of 1 lakh and is set to cross 5 lakh in five years. The figure of Per capita ATM machines in India is among the lowest in the world. Financial Inclusion is the new mantra. There are nearly 400million debit cards and 24 million credit card users. Computerization in banks has made it easier to give better service to customers. Internet banking, mobile banking and branchless banking have made it a very different playfield.
Caste and Religion hold sway
Slow progress in cutting away divisions of caste and creed is apparent. There is improvement in the orthodox thinking of the earlier generation and the newer generation is more open minded. There are more and more inter caste and inter religion marriages. Reservations even though not a good step to reduce inequities is working at reducing poverty among dalits. People esp the lower castes suffered as a consequence of the rigid structure of the society. Beliefs and value systems in the society are changing. Wealth is a new parameter of class and caste is losing its hold. Modern thinking youth are thinking differently than their elders and questioning unfair practices, taboos, traditions and rules.
No proper town planning
Our cities and towns lack proper planning of roads and other civic amenities. We are losing an opportunity to plan our cities by improper laws and restrictions. Most towns have controls over FSI (Floor Space Index) and this has a bearing on the rental rates which are among the highest in the world. Most towns have controls such as in Bangalore where development cannot happen in the green belt. Such restrictions have caused illegal and unregulated development in the green belt. This is a lost opportunity at development with proper planning.

Worsening and likely to worsen further:-

Environmental degradation
Water scarcity and desertification are a reality we are staring at and this seeming worsening of matters should be turned into sustainable equilibrium by determined action. River interlinking can be a solution to problems of excess and shortages. Stricter implementation of pollution standards and zero tolerance for law breakers needed. Government should work with the industry to take our businessmen into confidence. It is not necessary that Industry partake with the profits and benefit citizens. They should at-least take measures to not harm their health as a consequence of their operations. Those industries that draw resources such as water, electricity and minerals and those that exploit labour such as mines should implement steps to mitigate the impact of their operations.
Low rates of divorce
While divorce rates are very low in our country there is a gradual increase in the numbers. This shows that couples are no longer willing to put up with unhappy marriages. While this development looks to be a worsening from the past it also correlates with increasing incomes and greater financial freedom of the female. Hence increasing divorce rates seem to be a natural consequence of development.
Sex Ratio
This is a statistic which is a cause for concern. There are only 930 females for every 1000 males.

Indian Market Overview

Comparing India and China, we don’t have censorship of the internet. We go with the flow and accepted facebook and twitter as our own. We use Google for searches. We read from the same news sites that the world reads from and there is no censorship of that. In India foreign companies are free to set up 100% owned units in most of the sectors and engage in business and repatriate 100% of the profits.
Facebook has a target of having 1 billion users from India. This means pretty soon Indians will overtake the Americans as the biggest chunk of Fb users from any country. Americans and their multinationals on their part have been less than helpful, treating India as just another market. To them China is the place to be, a place to locate their factories and India a place to sell their produce. This world order will change very soon.
India has been exporting its human resources to USA since ages and at a great loss. Many US organizations have a high percentage of Indians. Things are changing slowly and lesser number of students have opted for higher studies in the US this year than last. India relinquished its first position in sending the largest number of students for higher studies, to china. 100 thousand Indian students take admission in US varsities every year.
India is undergoing a revolution in the Internet and Mobile sphere. Internet penetration which was less than 10 percent has risen fast, mostly due to Internet access through smart devices. Now we have more than 240 million users and expected to rise to 360 million internet users by the end of 2015.
Mobile operators have seen revenues from Data double in six months. ARPUs have started rising and this has raised earnings. There has been a rapid rollout of 3G across the cities. Consumers have turned from being petitioners to being aspirational. I have many things to say on this but i cut short the talk and continue some other day.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Chunaav Ke Baad Ki Kahani

Narendra Modi               : Ab Ki Baar
Rahul Gandhi                 : Kidar ?
Mayavathi                      : Behenji Dikhti Nahi
Mulayam Singh             : Zandu Balm ?
Lalu Prasad                    : Laaten Gayab
Jayalalitha                      : Amma Majbooth
Mamatha Bannerji         : Goonj uthi Shehnai
Karunanidhi                   : Raja Ya Runk?
Nitish Kumar                 : Bihar may Bhookamp
Ram Vilas Paswan         : Aye Din Bahar Ke
Chandrababu Naidu       : Naidu Ban Gaya Gentleman

Sunday, May 18, 2014

NaMo Ambition 2014-2019

Narendra modi led NDA is handed a majority and guess what!!! It is a rock solid government never seen since 30 years. NaMo after he is sworn in and settles down is sure to face increased aggression from Pakistan. If the first few days pass without any eventuality like riots or something then these are the statistics that would show up after 5 years. Let us see which ones are easier or more difficult to achieve.

1)    1 USD= 38 rupees. This is probably the best possible outcome but a lot would depend on how our exports perform. It is a realistic target. Indian currency is expected to appreciate even without a BJP government but a target like this is a medium term goal. Intrinsic value of rupee looking at PPP is somewhere around 14-16 per dollar. If economy improves it may achieve even more.

2) India Shall be a manufacturing hub for consumer electronics, heavy  machinery, pharmaceuticals, automobiles, defence arms and ammunitions. This too is easy to achieve since India is already almost there in pharmaceuticals and automobiles.

3)    Indian Export Business 450 billion USD per year. Current exports are near 300 billion per year. So exports of 450 billion by 2019 means a growth of 8.5 percent every year which is quite achievable. Current export growth is near 5-6 percent with wide variation. If volatility is curbed and sustainable increase in exports is achieved then it would mean a lot.

4)     At least 30 universities shall fall under top 100 universities all over the world. Among all the targets this one is probably the most difficult to achieve. Rome was not built in a day. Not even a single Indian university appears in the top 100 currently. Education is something the BJP government is going to work on a lot.

5)  Indian Agricultural growth with continuous 8-10% of growth every year. This has already been achieved in Gujarat and will not be difficult to replicate in the whole of India.

6) India shall produce cheapest and quality materials in all over the world. This target is something that is vague and without clear goal post. So it goes more as rhetoric than anything material.

7)   Every Indian soldier shall have original bullet proof jackets. This too needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. It is not clear if the bullet proof jackets with soldiers currently are original. And it is not clear who or how achievement of this goal post be measured.

8)  Every Indian soldier shall have best and advanced arms. This is something more measurable than the earlier one and would definitely be a welcome change but still a vague goal post.

9)  To create at least 20 crore employment and convert 20 crore people from BPL to APL. Among all the goals if this is achieved it would be like “sone pe suhaga”(hindi). Pretty difficult but achievable. Current Five year plan speaks of creating 10 crore jobs in the plan period and achieving twice that may be herculean.

~~~~ALL THE BEST~~~~

Monday, December 16, 2013

Linking cash deposit for LPG subsidies to Aadhaar is a sham

June5, 2013... Deccan Herald
This is a discussion that took place between me and one of the authors of an article on aadhaar-DBT linkage. Here is the link to the article:
I am posting till where we went in the discussions. Another of my reply to the last comment has been deleted by the site moderators so I am posting in my blog.

Mukesh Kamath:
I know some people having many gas connections. They take excess cylinders from agencies and supply to commercial establishments. Even with aadhaar nothing stops a person from getting another connection in his wife's name. DBT for LPG will cause little hardship to the housewife as she needs to keep aside higher sum for cylinder purchase. However diversion will reduce because the cylinders will be sold at market rates to consumers. If agency fellow gets same amount selling to consumer or hotel then there is no benefit in diversion.
I completely disagree with the following
"To siphon LPG subsidy(In the old/present system), the LPG cylinder would have to be supplied to an ineligible (non-domestic) customer who would then pay the subsidy amount to the eligible customer in whose name the connection exists and the
subsidies pocketed/shared. This is highly improbable and easily detectable." Basically did not understand what is the meaning of that and wonder how this collusion can be detected.

Hi Kamath,
The whole point in my article could be summarised as follows.
1. LPG customers and their consumption pattern of subsidised cylinders could be determined by linkage to presently available customer number (and address). There is no need for any other number, such as electric meter number of UID number. (The people you "know having many gas cylinders" would have many customer numbers with the same address where the cylinders are delivered.) How cylinders do they have? Would such cylinders add up to 375 million per annum? Are these used for commercial purposes? If so they have to be delivered at a commercial establishment. Connivance of distributer / delivery person is required for this.
2. Crediting subsidy into bank accounts would not prevent use of the subsidised cylinder for commercial purposes.
3. LPG subsidies cannot be siphoned off in cash unless the cylinders are sold. The "ineligible" persons are those who have many cylinders who are not eligible for more than one connection and two cylinders for this connection.
Please read the article carefully to understand the above.
Could you please say how UID numbers and subsidy transferred into bank accounts would prevent misuse of subsidised LPG cylinders?

Mukesh Kamath:
Hi Sir, I agree to all points you have mentioned to some extent. The truth lies somewhere in the middle...Even i have some points which looks at the other side of the story.
1) There is collusion between agencies and hotels:
Some agency delivery boys deliver subsidized cylinders to hotels directly or after pilfering(This cannot be controlled in a systemic way without DBT). Our area infact had an illegal bottling plant where subsidized cylinders were pilfered and commercial cylinders were filled.
2) DBT will stop direct collusion:
What DBT will do is stop direct collusion between agency and hotels and give scope for collusion between domestic consumers and hotels(Less likely and limited by the cap). I agree crediting subsidy into bank accounts would not prevent diversion(It prevents collusion between agency and hotels).
3) Reduced benami connections and upper limit on diversion:
One thing that will happen and i am sure you will also agree to this, is that due to the 9 cylinder cap and linking connections to aadhaar benami accounts will reduce(Due to linking) and diversion will reduce(Due to cap). With steps taken for KYC, diversion has already reduced. The additional benefit of DBT over this is given by the next point.
4) Since nearly 30-40% people are reluctant to link aadhaar number with bank account fearing taxmen they will loose LPG subsidy benefit. So corrupt tax evaders/ultra rich privacy advocates will not get LPG benefit. Very rich people earlier had no option but to accept the subsidy. This can also be called as savings.
Considering your idea about uniqueness of addresses, can't two addresses spelt differently refer to the same place or dwelling unit????

I thank you for agreeing with points made by me.
1. How will DBT control collusion between Delivery boys and hotel owners? DBT merely credits the subsidy into the bank account of a genuine customer. The subsidised cylinder could still be delivered anywhere. It is the misuse of the cylinder, which is the problem not the subsidy. Do you think that the siphoning of subsidies of this magnitude is done at the level of delivery boys?
2. If DBT will NOT stop diversion of the cylinder, how ill it stop collusion between agency and hotels? How will DBT stop collusion between these two? Please elaborate.
3. How does DBT or UID numbers reduce benami connections? In what way is UID number superior to existing customer number or the electric meter number that was tried sometime back in Karnataka and given up? Cannot the oil company monitor the number of cylinders consumed against a customer number (upper limit) as well as against UID numbers?
4. If UID / Aadhaar is meant to detect tax evasion, why does not UIDAI and Government say so? Why pretend that it is only for targeted welfare? RBI regulations stipulate that any deposit of cash beyond Rs. 50,000 is not permissible. High value cheque deposits are to be reported to RBI (Income tax). How did Madhu Koda, for example, send out Rs. 4000 Crores? How do you think tax evaders have black money in tax havens? Who are these people? Why is the government not acting against them? If those who are to act against tax evaders take no action now, how do you think that once UID numbers are linked to bank accounts, tax evasion will stop?
5. A person may have any number of houses and addresses. They need not be spelt differently. If one who owns two or more houses has more than one LPG connection, one for each house, how would UID detect this? If UID number can be used to detect such fraud, why can’t customer number be used in the same way?
Our PM’s permanent address is in Guwahati. Should he have a LPG connection there as well as at No. 7 Race Course road.

Mukesh Kamath:
Sorry for late reply... Space considerations make my reply short...
1) Earlier delivery boy was supposed to collect 410 from domestic cons. and 850 from commercial cons(Assume). He was making fake bookings for domestic cons. and delivering to commercial cons. Now he will collect same amount of 850 from everyone. Commercial cylinder rates of 1400 per 19.6 kg cylinder need to be brought down to 1100. Per kg cost difference for domestic and commercial is 60(850/14.2) and 71(1400/19.6) respectively.
2) Point number 1 will stop collusion.
3) Aadhaar cannot be issued to non-existent person so linking gas consumer number to aadhaar will reduce benami connections. Point number 3 makes it superior.
4) It is a carrot and stick approach and govt wants to dangle the carrot before the cart so that it moves a little and later it can use the stick. Goodwill needs to be generated hence carrot first.
5) UID would detect it simply because the person is same. He can't link both gas connections with same aadhaar number. He can't get two aadhaars for doing that.

1. Point No. 1 & 2: You say, “He was making fake bookings for domestic consumers and delivering to commercial consumers. ----- Now he will collect same amount 850 from everyone.” This is your first point. Then you say in point 2 “Point 1 will stop collusion” (between delivery boys and hotel owners). If the delivery boy collects Rs. 850 from the hotel where he delivers the cylinder and the DBT goes into the bank account of the domestic consumer the subsidy (Rs. 850 – Rs. 410 = Rs. 440) “leaks” into this account and the subsidised cylinder is used for commercial purpose.

2. “Aadhaar” is for ALL RESIDENTS. Subsidies are for citizens. Hence, resident non-citizens could obtain subsidies. Data of over 14 Lakhs people in AP data of all people in Delhi who registered before 2010 and data of over 10 Lakh people in Maharashtra has been lost. Don’t you think that some of this could be used for creating fake IDs for LPG customers? UIDAI’s EAs have been caught making fake IDs. A FIR is filed in Bangalore. Fingerprints could be easily faked. UID number is NOT superior to customer number, since the number of cylinders consumed would reveal whether they are put to commercial use or not. A domestic consumer will usually use about 9 cylinders a year. This is the limit fixed now. As per Oil Company norms you cannot book a cylinder within 21 days of the receipt of the previous cylinder.
3. Your Point 4: What is the “carrot”? Firstly, carrot is dangled not before carts, but in front of donkeys (in the proverb)! Are you suggesting that the Govt is (and should) treat people like they were donkeys? What is the “stick” that you imagine will come later?
4. On your Point No. 5, please send a RTI query to UIDAI and ask them how many duplicate IDs they have detected so far and you will see the stupidity of the UID scheme.
6. What happens when two families live at the same address and have two kitchens? How would UID stop politicians and the oil mafia from forcing Oil Companies to divert LPG in tanker loads for commercial use and accounting for the same against consumers who although they have connections do not consumer cylinders, since they have gone away for long periods? The subsidy need not be claimed through DBT, but the LPG is misused.

Mukesh Kamath:
1.       Yes the subsidy goes into the account of the domestic gas consumer and he can’t be cheated of his share of subsidy for consuming gas. This assumes that a consumer of gas indeed needs gas and will consume it. We cannot do anything to a poor person who takes gas connection and diverts gas cylinders to hotels and makes do with kerosene stove. Such people will indeed benefit and you can say subsidy leaks. The difference is it leaks to the consumer and not gas delivery boy.
 2. Aadhaar is for all residents. Subsidy is for citizens. This is a call the government has to take. I agree with you in saying that we need to find out who are those non-citizens who have aadhaar numbers who are benefiting. Their aadhaar number should be cancelled. Yes fake IDs can be created to claim benefits but this can be detected. Diversion of cylinders has already reduced a lot by the steps you mentioned.
3.       Carrot is the subsidies and stick is the denial of subsidies to the rich. Donkeys are the people. It is better to treat people as donkeys since they respond by working hard. If you keep supplying them with free food they behave like rats and multiply.
4.       Duplicate IDs were a result of several factors. Same pen drive containing enrolment records might have been used two times to load the same records twice. Two distinct persons might have been flagged as duplicates by an error in matching records. Real duplicates might have gone through and given two aadhaars. Finally real duplicates might have been accurately caught. The strictness with which matching is done, if it is more, two distinct persons start getting classified as duplicates and if strictness is less real duplicates go through. I tried my best explaining without terms such as FPIR,FNIR etc. Mr. Thomas you are deliberately trying to mislead the country. Duplicates which have gone through as distinct aadhaar are less than 1 lakh for entire country of 124 crore. Only one such case has come in media. This is an accuracy unmatched by any other technology.
5.       I see that you have given up on point number 5. Deliberately trying to mislead people by hook or by crook. So invent a few more such silly ruse.
6.       Very rarely do two families living in same place have two kitchens. Gas agencies do allow two connections to the same house address. I am sure there will be two different heads for the two families and they can link their connections to two different aadhaar numbers. Gas tankers used to be priced at subsidized rate earlier times. If now tankers move at market rates subsidy has to go into many different accounts. Not a single politician’s account. And another thing is gas booking is completely computerized now and fake bookings are nonexistent. You cannot make a call to book cylinder from someone else’s registered mobile number. So diversions will also be less.