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Daily Vocabulary Dose by SSCtube (16-01-2018)

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Daily Vocabulary Dose by SSCtube (16-01-2018)

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The Aadhaar project (although the christening of it came later) was put in motion through an executive notification issued in January 2009, which established the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). The UIDAI’s task was to conceive a scheme that purported to identify residents using biometric information — including, but not limited to iris scans and fingerprints — and to provide to people a “unique identity number”.

In any event, the UIDAI steamed ahead with enrolments, even as the government dithered in enacting legislation. As a result, a mountain of data was collected without any safeguards in place. Making things worse, a scheme that was supposedly voluntary was now proving to be anything but. Citizens were coerced into parting with private information, compelled by threats from the government. A failure to enrol, we were told, would close doors to a raft of state services. Slowly, as the list of these facilities began to expand, given that the project lacked any legislative sanction, the Supreme Court was driven to intervene. The court issued interim orders, on different occasions, clarifying that the programme had to be treated as voluntary, and that no person should be denied a service simply because he or she hadn’t enrolled themselves with the UIDAI.

To reduce the merits of the petitions to a few issues would, no doubt, be reductive. But, ultimately, in question are four core interests: the first concerns whether the state can at all compel a person to part with his or her biometric information without securing the person’s informed consent; the second involves questions over the surveillance apparatus that the Aadhaar Act creates; the third raises questions over the level of exclusion caused by the use of Aadhaar, for example, concerns over the extent to which the programme meets its purported objectives; and the fourth questions the degree of protection offered to the data that the UIDAI collects, stores and operates. On each of these, any sensible reading of the Aadhaar Act would show us that the machinery that it has put in place flagrantly infracts fundamental rights, granting, in the process, enormously invasive powers to the state.

Now, it would certainly be naive to contend that an Aadhaar-free India will also be free of surveillance. But that is not the argument that the petitioners are making. Their argument is somewhat more nuanced. It is that the Aadhaar Act, in centrally maintaining all this data, enables a form of super surveillance, permits the creation of a perfect police state, allowing the government to track every one of our activities in real-time, to trace, at any given point of time, a person’s physical location. Some might find this kind of surveillance exhilarating. But, in reality, it only emboldens the state to treat everyone one of us as criminals, to make a presumption of guilt at the grave cost of basic civil liberties.

For its part, in the Supreme Court, the government will no doubt argue that Aadhaar can bring about many benefits, that it has the capacity to do good. But any policy, howsoever poorly framed, will likely bring about certain gains, some of them even unintended. The question here is ultimately one of proportionality, one of justice. In the case of the Aadhaar Act, the government’s intentions are patently clear. The aim is to create a seamless police state, which will chill our freedom and place the state in a position of rampant power. Will the Supreme Court dare to stop this?

Vocab Dose

  1. Conceive:   form or devise (a plan or idea) in the mind. मन में प्रपत्र या योजना (एक योजना या विचार)
    Synonyms – devise, formulate, frame
    Antonyms – destroy, fail, abort
    The dam project was originally conceived in 1977.
  2. Purported: appear to be or do something, especially falsely. कथित
    Synonyms: claim, profess, pretend
    Antonyms: conceal, disclaim, hide

    She is not the person she purports to be.


  3. Dithered: be indecisive. अनिर्णीत होना
    Synonyms: hesitate, falter, stammer
    Antonyms: continue, persist, forge

    I can’t bear people who dither.

  4. Coerced: persuade (an unwilling person) to do something by using force or threats.
    मजबूर करना
    Synonyms: pressurize, push, constrain
    Antonyms: allow, encourage, assist

    He reached the upper echelons of government.

  5. Intervene: take part in something so as to prevent or alter a result or course of events. हस्तक्षेप
    Synonyms: intercede, meddle, interrupt
    Antonyms: connect, unite, combine

    He acted outside his authority when he intervened in the dispute.

  6. Reductive: tending to present a subject or problem in a simplified form, especially one viewed as crude. किसी परेशानी को आसान तरीके मे पेश करना
    Synonyms: diminishing, minimal, remissive
    Antonyms: enhancing, enlarging

    Such a conclusion by itself would be reductive.

  7. Infracts:  to break, violate, or infringe (a law, commitment, etc.). किसी कानून को तोड़ना या उल्लंघन करना
    Synonyms: breach, violate, disobey
    Antonyms: obey, regard, agree

    Infracting the rules may invite punishment.


  8. Naive: showing a lack of experience, wisdom, or judgement. अनुभवहीन
    Synonyms: innocent, ignorant, candid
    Antonyms: aware, experienced, knowledgeable

    The rather naive young man had been totally misled.

  9. Exhilarating: making one feel very happy, animated, or elated; thrilling. किसी को बहुत खुश महसूस कराना
    Synonyms: thrill, excite
    Antonyms: depressing, boring, uninteresting

    We had an exhilarating two-hour rafting experience.

  10. Rampant: (especially of something unwelcome) flourishing or spreading unchecked.
    Synonyms: uncontrolled, unrestrained, unchecked

    Antonyms: restrained, limited, controlled

    The political violence was rampant.


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