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Newly installed underground dustbins in Dharamsala giving up within few weeks of inauguration

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Smart dustbin dharamsala

DHARAMSALA– Newly installed sensor-based underground dustbins in Dharamsala Municipal area have caved in within one month of their inauguration by the Urban Development Minister, Himachal Pradesh, Sudhir Sharma, who had claimed it his pet project. The dustbins, installed in several locations at a cost of about Rs. 12 crore, were said to be equipped with sensors that send SMS to sanitary staff when they are full. Sanitation workers can regularly track which dustbin requires to be emptied. The Minister had claimed Dharamsala, which is in the list of cities to be developed as smart-city, as the first city of India to install sensor-based underground dustbins.

However, during past couple of days, locals reported cracks in some of the structures around which the dustbins are installed.

smart-dustbins in dharamsala3

A local shared pictures of damaged structure from Ward No. 9 alleging poor quality of work by the contractor.

Administration has installed the dustbins in haste and didn’t keep any check on the company that was given the contract for installation. The contractor did an utterly poor quality work which is why these dustbins couldn’t last even few weeks,

said a local.

Similarly, locals from Ward No. 5 of Dharamsala MC also complained that littering is still prevalent and heaps of garbage are piling up near houses, creating an ugly scene.
smart-dustbins in dharamsala 2

Monsoon has arrived and situation would worsen with rains. Garbage heaps and rainwater will lead to possible threat of epidemic like situation,

said another local.

The MC Commissioner, Lalit Jain, told Himachal Watcher that it’s a trivial matter as only the outer concrete structures caved in these cases while the dustbins are completely fine. The contractor has been asked to fix the damaged structures and his payment will only be made once the work will be certified by credible institutes.

Meanwhile, opposition has opened attack against the Congress Government sighting this case as an apparent evidence of corruption prevalent in current government. Opposition alleged possible scam in the purchase of these dustbins and in its tender process. Clearly, the contractor has delivered poorest quality of work and the Urban Development Minister inaugurated them without any quality assessment, said BJP.

smart-dustbins in dharamsala
A local organization has also raised questions over the process of installation of these dustbins. It alleged the dustbins were installed without any proper assessment. Heaps of garbage could be spotted near these underground dustbins as people are still not using them.

However, the MC Commissioner said the civic body is receiving good response from public and installation of these underground dustbins has reduced littering. Door-to-door garbage collection is also proving fruitful in waste management. In addition, ‘Swacchta Doots’ have been employed to aware people regarding waste segregation, he told Himachal Watcher. 

Total 225 such underground dustbins featuring sensors have been planned for entire city. So far, only 50 dustbins have been installed. 

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Industrial hemp can revolutionize Himachal’s economy, end war on drugs, says petition seeking legalization

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cannabis legalization in himachal Pradesh

The genetically modified hemp will possess only .3 to 1 percent potency. Which means the psychoactive effect of the drug will be absent.  Apparently, these plants will be of no use to the drug users.

Shimla: These days, the debate over legalizing the cultivation of cannabis plants (hemp)in Himachal Pradesh has brought the attention of the people to the treasure nature has endowed them with – cannabis. Not because it gets you high but for the potential of revolutionizing the economy of the State, which is currently dependent mainly on apple production.

Don’t think this advocacy of cannabis legalisation is our own. All these facts are given in support of legalization in a petition filed by advocate Deven Khanna in the High Court of Himachal Pradesh. Mr. Shrawan Dogra is also the advocate for the petitioner.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Ajay Mohan Goel have also asked the State and Centre government to provide its response within four weeks.

What made us highlight the debate is that the petitioner has given a number of authentic references including medical journals, both national and international authoritative publications, government websites, judgments and various other articles and reports.

Further, there is already a provision to permit cultivation of industrial hemp.

Referring to the Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, the petitioner argues that the Indian law permits the mass cultivation of hemp for horticultural and industrial use. However, it was the government that has failed to avail it for the socio-economic growth of the farming community.

The Section 10 of the said Act bestows the state governments the power to decide the limits within which licenses can granted for its cultivation. Unfortunately, Himachal never used the provision, and did not formulate any regulation or rules to facilitate the medical or industrial use of the plant,

the petitioner Deshinder Khanna told Himachal Watcher.

The petition argues that the hemp grows in almost every part of the Hill State without any care that the other crops require. It does not even ask for much water. Hemp is a water-intensive crop as it requires 400 times less water than other crops and requires almost negligible herbicides, pesticides, manure, and protection from wild animals.

It offers a plethora of benefits. If it begins to grow on a part of the land, then you don’t have to take the pain to plough the field before sowing seeds. It grows rapidly as compared to other crops.

The commercial potential of hemp is unmatchable. If sold to industry, it can produce over 25,000 end products including health foods, organic body care, clothing, construction materials, biofuels, plastic composites and so on.

It offers 2/3 times more fibre than a crop of cotton. Fabric from hemp fibre is better than cotton and has eight times the tensile strength of cotton.

From the perspective of medical use, if sold to the medical and neurological research institutes, they can study and use it against fatal diseases like cancer and HIV/AIDS.

Medical marijuana treatment has become popular and accepted over the last few years in Israel, with about 15,000 registered users and 50 more approved each week.

Take a Look at List of Medical Benefits of Marijuana

Lung Function

A study published in Journal of the American Medical
Association on 11th January 2012, found that Tobacco
smokers lost lung function over time, but pot users
actually showed an increase in lung capacity.
 

Epileptic Seizures

A study published in Journal of Pharmacology and
Experimental Therapeutics on 03rd September 2003,
found that Cannabinoids like the active ingredients in
marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), control
seizures by binding to the brain cells responsible for
controlling excitability and regulating relaxation.
 

Dravet Syndrome

Effects: causes seizures and  severe developmental delays

The doctors who recommended this treatment say that
the cannabidiol in the plant interacts with the brain cells
to quiet the excessive activity in the brain that causes
these seizures. As was also found by Dr. Sanjay Gupta
(US Citizen) during his research for CNN Special
Documentary “Weed”
 

Chemotherapy

Cancer patients being treated with chemo suffer from
painful nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. This can
cause additional health complications. Marijuana
can help reduce these side effects, alleviating pain,
decreasing nausea, and stimulating the appetite. As was
also found by Dr. Sanjay Gupta (US Citizen) during his
research for his CNN Special Documentary “Weed”
 

Alcoholism

Effects: Alcoholism involves disruptions in the endocannabinoid system.

Research in Harm Reduction Journal, 03rd December
2009, shows that some people use marijuana as a less
harmful substitute for alcohol, prescription drugs, and
other illegal drugs. Some of the most common reasons
for patients to make that substitution are the less
adverse side effects from marijuana and the fact that it
is less likely to cause withdrawal problems
 

Cancer

1. CBD (Cannabidiol) may help prevent cancer from
spreading, researchers at California Pacific Medical
Center in San Francisco reported in 13th December
2012.
2. Cannabidiol stops cancer by turning off a gene
called Id-1, the study, published in the journal
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics on 05th September
2007, found. Cancer cells make more copies of this
gene than non-cancerous cells, and it helps them
spread through the body and;
3. Cancer cells in the lab that had high expression
levels of Id-1 and after treating them with
cannabidiol. After treatment the cells had decreased
Id-1 expression and were less aggressive spreaders
 

Alzheimer’s Disease

Effects: term loss of the ability to think and reason clearly affecting persons daily functioning

A study published by The National Center for
Biotechnology (USA) on 06th October 2008, found that
THC, the active chemical in marijuana, slows the  formation of amyloid plaques by blocking the enzyme
in the brain that makes them. These plaques are what
kill brain cells and cause Alzheimers.
 

Multiple Sclerosis

A study published in the Canadian Medical Association
Journal on 14th May 2012 when
Dr. Jody Corey-Bloom studied 30 multiple sclerosis
patients with painful contractions in their muscles.
These patients didn’t respond to other treatments, but
after smoking marijuana for a few days they were in
less pain.
The THC in the pot binds to receptors in the nerves and
muscles to relieve pain. Other studies suggest that the
chemical also helps control the muscle spasms
 

Leeuwenhoek’s Disease

Effects: Causes non-stop spasming in the  abdominal muscles which are not only painful, but interfere with breathing and speaking

Smoking marijuana is able to calm the attacks almost
immediately, as it calms the muscles of the diaphragm.
As was also found by Dr. Sanjay Gupta (US Citizen)
during his research for his CNN Special Documentary
Weed
 

Hepatitis – C Infection

A October 2006 study in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology found that 86 percent of patients using marijuana successfully completed their Hep C therapy, while only 29 percent of non-smokers completed their treatment, possibly because the marijuana helps lessens the treatments side effects. Marijuana also seems to improve the treatment’s effectiveness: 54 percent of Hep-C patients smoking marijuana got their viral levels low and kept them low, in comparison to only 8 percent of non smokers  

Inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

Effects: Abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, severe internal cramps/muscle spasms in the region of the pelvis and weight loss. Anemia is the most prevalent extra-intestinal complication of inflammatory bowel disease.

Institute of Gastroenterology and Liver Diseases, Chaim Sheba Medical Center (Israel), stated the following in their January 2012 “Digestion” article, “Impact of
Cannabis Treatment on the Quality of Life, Weight, and
Clinical Disease Activity in Inflammatory Bowel
Disease Patients: A Pilot Prospective Study”:-
1. “In the present preliminary prospective study, we
have found that treatment with inhaled cannabis
improves quality of life in patients with longstanding
CD [Crohn’s disease] and UC
[ulcerative colitis]. Treatment was also shown to
cause a statistically significant rise in patients’
weight after 3 months of treatment, and
improvement in clinical disease activity index in
patients with CD.
2. Moreover, the data demonstrated a statistically
significant improvement in almost all aspects of
patients’ daily life. After 3 months’ treatment with
inhaled cannabis, patients stated an
improvement in their health status, their ability
to perform daily activities and their ability to
maintain social life. Patients reported a
statistically significant physical pain reduction
during treatment, as well as improvement in
mental distress…
3. None of our patients complained of any side
effect that disturbed their working ability. In fact,
as was shown in the results, there was a
statistically significant improvement in patients’
ability to work after treatment.”
 

Arthritis

The study conducted in 09th November 2005, funded by GW Pharmaceuticals, which makes Sativex (a cannabinoid medicine), found patients who had taken the CBM (cannabis-based medicine) had statistically significant improvements in pain on movement, pain at rest, quality of sleep, inflammation, and intensity of pain.  

Metabolism

A study published on 16th May 2013 in the American Journal of Medicine suggested that pot smokers are skinnier than the average person and have healthier metabolism and reaction to sugars, even though they do end up eating more calories.  

Systemic Lupus Ertyhematosus

Effects: The body starts attacking itself for some unknown reason.

A team of University of South Carolina researchers led
by Mitzi Nagarkatti, PrakashNagarkatti and Xiaoming
Yang found that chemicals in marijuana seem to have a
calming effect on the immune system, which may be how it helps deal with symptoms of Lupus. Their
research has been published online in the Journal of
Biological Chemistry and is dated 19th May 2014, and,
available on Science Daily, dated 02.06.2014.
 

Parkinson’s Disease

Research from Israel shows that smoking marijuana significantly reduces pain and tremors and improves sleep for Parkinson’s disease patients. Particularly impressive was the improved fine motor skills among patients. The said finding can be found in the CNN Special Documentary “Weed”  

Post Traumatic  Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Naturally occurring cannabinoids, similar to THC, help
regulate the system that causes fear and anxiety in the
body and brain. The said finding can be found in the a
CNN Special Documentary “Weed” 
 

Brain Damage caused by Stroke

Research dated 03rd December 2013, from the
University of Nottingham shows that marijuana may
help protect the brain from damage caused by stroke, by
reducing the size of the area affected by the stroke — at
least in rats, mice, and monkeys.
This isn’t the only research that has shown
neuroprotective effects from cannabis. Some research
shows that the plant may help protect the brain after
other traumatic events, like concussions. 
 

Brain Damage caused by  Concussions andTrauma

A study dated 19th August 2013, in the journal Cerebral
Cortex showed that in mice, marijuana lessened the
bruising of the brain and helped with healing
mechanisms after a traumatic injury.
 

Brain Tumours

Specialists at St George’s, University of London,
studied the treatment of brain cancer tumours in the
laboratory and discovered that the most effective
treatment was to combine active chemical components
of the cannabis plant which are called cannabinoids.
The said research can be referred to on Science Daily is
dated 14th November 2014.
 

HIV Human Immunodeficiency Virus

 

 

Mount Sinai School of Medicine researchers have discovered that marijuana-like chemicals trigger receptors on human immune cells that can directly inhibit a type of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
found in late-stage AIDS, according to new findings
published on 20th March 2012.
 

 

 

Hemp can save trees

Have you heard of Hemp Paper? Hemp cultivation can save lots of trees that we fell to manufacture paper. For instance, it can produce the same amount of paper in just one acre, which currently takes the sacrifice of trees in 2 to 4 acres of land.

Environmental Benefits

The present policy of burning the cannabis plant not only causes environmental pollution but also causes a great loss to the biodiversity and the eco-system. The plant has a great capacity to maintain the richness of the soil cover.

How cannabis helps fight cancer

As per the appeal made in the petition,  BioChemist Dennis Hill research reads

“In every cell, there is a family of interconvertible sphingolipids that specifically manage the life and death of that cell. This profile of factors is called the “Sphingolipid Rheostat.” If endogenous ceramide (a signalling metabolite of sphingosine-1-phosphate) is high, then cell death (apoptosis) is imminent. If ceramide is low, the cell is strong in its vitality.Very simply, when THC connects to the CB1 or CB2 cannabinoid receptor site on the cancer cell, it causes an increase in ceramide synthesis which drives cell death” 

Can End Himachal’s War on Drugs

The State’s ‘war on drugs’ can also be ended by legalizing medical and industrial marijuana, the petitioner claims.

By keeping medical and industrial uses of Marijuana prohibited, the State has only allowed drug mafia to develop a parallel black economy and they are targeting children first. 

All that the government would have to do is to procure genetically modified species of cannabis which have far less content of the Tetra hydro cannabinol (THC) – content in the plant responsible for its psychotropic effect on smoking and providing such modified seeds to the farmers.  As compared to currently found marijuana which as a potency of 4 to 5 percent, the genetically modified hemp will possess only .3 to 1 percent potency. Which means the psychoactive effect of the drug will be absent.  

Apparently, these plants will be of no use to the drug users.

This way, the government can take control of the plant from the drug mafia and give it to our scientists, doctors, textile manufacturers and other relevant industries, said the petition.

The Commercial Potential

As per the well-researched petition, allowing regulated cultivation of hemp can lead to rapid economic growth and reduce unemployment in the rural areas.

The hemp has a potential to add more to State’s exchequer (as tax money) and substitute apple as the major cash crop. Legalization of medical and industrial use of Marijuana would make the state more progressive, reduce expenditure, said the petition.

With proper regulation, sensitization and awareness, the hemp cultivation can be used for industrial economic growth. It will lead to a rise in the growth of GDP.

Imposing a tax on selling of marijuana will anyway help in keeping a control over its production, and it would be a help to the State economy.

The petitioner said that according to the central government’s Ministry of Textiles, internationally, hemp production is estimated to be around 0.1 million tonnes annually.

Allowing Indian farmers to cultivate hemp will give them a stake in the $1.5 trillion hemp industry currently dominated by China, France and Germany.

Regularising the plant could create an industrial hemp textile market in India that could be valued at an estimated Rs 240 million.

The petition said such Marijuana in Netherland contributes about $3.2 billion with an annual gross

Further, the petitioner referred to the State government of Uttrakhand that has recently directed officials to facilitate the licensed cultivation of industrial hemp in the State to capitalize on its fibres. Meanwhile, the academic institutions have been asked to conduct research to ‘develop’ modified hemp species with only 0.3 to 1.5 percent THC content.

The neighbouring state of Himachal, Uttrakhand has already permitted regulated cultivation of hemp.

Some other facts about industrial hemp

 

  • The industrial hemp’s product hempcrete could be a greener alternative to concrete. The plant acts as a carbon store, absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). One square metre of a timber-framed, hemp-lime wall (weighing 120 kg), stores 35.5 kg of CO2. In contrast, about 198kg of CO2 is emitted to make one tonne of reinforced concrete.
  • Cannabis has 450 ingredients, of which 80 are chemical compounds called cannabinoids. The human brain has cannabinoid receptors, which control physiological processes such as appetite, pain, mood and memory, together called the endocannabinoid system. The cannabinoids from cannabis interact with the receptors in the brain and work as a smooth muscle relaxant and receptor blocker, alleviating pain, and symptoms of arthritis, diabetes,
  • Hemp Plastic-Hemp can also act as a good plastic substitute to produce products which are strong, durable and environment-friendly.
  • Biodiesel can be produced from the fibrous stalks  reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and nuclear power
  • Cannabis oil is the most potent of three main cannabis products, which are the actual cannabis flower (marijuana), resin (hashish), and oil (cannabis oil). Cannabis oil is the most concentrated form of References to history the three main cannabis products. That is what makes cannabis oil the most potent.
  • The cannabis plant is being grown world over to reduce radiation effects in areas where nuclear disasters have happened because of its properties to soak up radiation.
  • The plant acts as a carbon store, absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2)

 

Further, the petitioner said the rest of the world has already initiated the process of decriminalizing marijuana. In the United States of America, it’s legal with strict regulations in States of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Bar & Bench Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington.

Constitutional Context

The petitioner appeals that the “The Constitution Of India 1949” guarantees right to preserve cultural identity. In addition to it, India also has National Fiber Policy, 2010.  

Historical Background

  • The petitioner has also pleaded the court to dwell upon the cultivation and use of marijuana in historical context. It is one of the oldest crops used for cultivation. It was cultivated in China as early as 4000 BC.
  • Cannabis has a long history in India and dates back to as early as 2000 to 1400 B.C. The earliest mention of cannabis can be found in The Vedas or sacred Hindu texts.
  • According to The Vedas, cannabis is one of five sacred plants and a guardian angel lived in its leaves. The Vedas call cannabis a source of happiness, joy-giver, liberator that was compassionately given to humans to help us attain delight and lose fear, said the petition.
  • The Zend-Avesta, a sacred book of Zoroastrianism, used by the peoples of India dating back to 600 BC, talked about hemp’s intoxicating resin.
  • The Chinese emperor and herbalist, Chen-Nung wrote about hemp’s medicinal uses 5000 years ago.
  • In Great Britain, Hemp cultivation extensively started back in 800 A.D
  • During the 17th Century, American farmers were ordered to grow Indian hemp. The law also passed an order that a person could be sentenced if they weren’t growing hemp on their land. At that time, hemp was considered as a legal tender. Moreover, for more than 200 years, hemp was used as a currency to pay off their taxes. Rudolph Diesel created a famous engine in 1896.

The petition said this step can epitomise a wholesome, credible solution towards alleviating conditions of poor farmers and uplifting society by tracing the timeless benefits of Hemp to drive measurable social impact. The petitioner urged the State to take steps in providing a regulatory framework to facilitate cultivation of industrial hemp.

 

What Exactly the Petitioner Seeks from High Court  

Do not take the petition as a hope that it would mean decriminalization of smoking cannabis. On the behalf of the people living a poverty-ridden life in rural areas, who could not reach the court to avail already existing provisions due to lack of kaleidoscopic legalities associated with this sensitive topic, the petitioner seeks the directions of the court for removal of restrictions on growing only commercial and medicinal hemp.

First, the government should define industrial hemp (based on the percentage of THC) and authorize the cultivation and possession of industrial hemp by creating an advisory board or commission.

The petition also appeals to facilitate the cultivation, processing, and use of only industrial and medical hemp, so that the public could receive is commercial and medical benefits.

The petition seeks to authorize a state licensing or registration program for growers and seed breeders. The state departments should be allowed to collect funds for research programs, said the petition.  

The government can promote research and support development of markets for industrial and medical hemp.

The court can direct the government to collect important information on industrial and medicinal hemp to further make regulations/guidelines on easy access to open industries, scientific research labs, and institutes for Industrial and medicinal hemp use.

The Research Centre, Pant Universities, and agricultural industry should be directed to develop seeds having a THC level apt for industrial use. These seeds will be disseminated to the villagers. It will act as an effective measure to prevent the growth of cannabis having an illegally high THC content, said the petition.

Note: All the factual information published in the above story are taken from the petition filed in the High Court of Himachla Pradesh.

 

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BJP Govt decides to drop cases against BJP leaders and HPCA

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Cases against HPCA and HP BJP

In fact, decision (verdict) said the government will drop all such cases which the Chief Minister or BJP deems fit to be categorized as part of a ‘political vendetta’.

Shimla: The Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, in a Cabinet meeting held at the Vidhan Sabha Complex in Dharamshala, announced the verdict on the FIRs and cases including five against the BJP leaders, the former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, his son Anurag Thakur, and about 18 functionaries of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association.

It reminds of the amendment in the Uttar Pradesh Criminal Law (Composition of Offences and Abatement of Trials) Act. The amendment Bill was passed without any opposition from any party in December last year.

The first thing the Chief Minister Yogi did was to order cancellation of about 20,000 such cases including those filed against him terming them non-serious matters.

These non-serious cases against him and his creation ‘Hindu Yuva Vahini’ were filed for alleged attempt to murder, rioting, carrying deadly weapons, defiling a place of worship, trespassing on a graveyard, and fueling enmity between religious groups.

Similarly, the Chief Minister, Jairam Thakur, said that the previous Congress government, as part of its political vendetta, had filed these cases to only target the leaders. In fact, decision (verdict) said the government will drop all such cases which the Chief Minister or BJP deems fit to be categorized as part of a ‘political vendetta’.

The Chief Minister did not explain on what basis the cases were termed as part of political vendetta.

Though it sounds undemocratic as the verdict came from the Chief Minister instead of the court, the opposition Congress or any other party have not reported any objection to it yet. At least, the investigation should have been completed.

In 2013, the Congress government had filed FIRs alleging cheating, fraud and misappropriation of funds, and land allocation for the construction of the stadium in Dharmashala. As per the cases, then-Chief Minister Dhumal had allegedly converted a registered society into a company.

The government had ordered an investigation related to the matter by the Anti-Corruption Bureau and State Vigilance Department.

In October 2017, the previous government had taken a decision to cancel the lease to the stadium and take over the property, which was set aside by the court following a petition from HPCA.   

The issue had become a huge controversy back then, but now the journey for the BJP leaders is likely to get smoother.

However, the BJP government would have to take the leaders of the opposition in confidence over common interests to avoid objections.

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Aadhaar Scam: Panicked UIDAI files FIR against reporter who exposed it

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Aadhaar Card On Sale

The FIR against the reporter, who was trying to help the government in protecting the privacy of billions of people, is condemnable as far as the freedom of the press is concerned.  

Shimla: Panicked by the alleged security breach into the Adhaar database, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), has filed an FIR against the reporter, Rachana Khaira, who had exposed it.

The Government has reacted in a way that resembles the behaviour that a thief would display on being caught red-handed.

An FIR had been lodged with the crime branch’s cyber cell “under IPC Sections 419 (punishment for cheating by impersonation), 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document), as well Section 66 of the IT Act and Section 36/37 of the Aadhaar Act,

the police confirmed

All claims of the government regarding the high-security of UIDAI database were shattered after, in a story published on January 4, 2018, edition of The Tribune, Rachana described how she was able to buy access to the Aadhaar Card database consisting of over 1 billion people through a WhatsApp group for a meagre cost of Rs.500.

As per the news report. for just Rs, 500, she was able to gain access to all data relating to the identity of billions of people who have Adhaar Numbers.

It took just Rs 500, paid through Paytm, and 10 minutes,

to obtain the access to the database, Rachana had revealed in the report.

The Tribune had reported it to the UIDAI officials,  who, according to the report, were also shocked at this security breach.

For common people, it is a matter of worry because their right to individual privacy is at stake.

For an individual, who has an Aadhaar Card, all of his details related to the number including name, photo, bank account, address, phone number, e-mail or anything linked with the Aadhaar are on sale. The identity of any individual can be easily misused to forge documents.

Which is why it is a matter of a huge worry for the government. The Government would never admit that their security measures were not sufficient to protect the database. So, the UIADI, as a defence, is linking the reporter with a criminal conspiracy.

The above-mentioned persons have unauthorisedly accessed the Aadhaar ecosystem in connivance of the criminal conspiracy, said the UIADI in its FIR.   

The report had also exposed that through the same agent, the reporter bought a software for Rs. 300 that facilitates printing of Aadhaar Cards.

 

He asked for Rs 300 through Paytm No. 8107888008 (in the name of ‘Raj’). Once paid, a person identifying himself as Sunil Kumar called from mobile number 7976243548, and installed software on this correspondent’s computer by accessing it remotely through “TeamViewer”. Once the job was done, he deleted the software drivers, even from the recycle bin,

Rachana had stated in her report.

The government has been facing criticism for compelling the populace to link their Aadhaar numbers to various other services. A debate over the fundamental “Right to Privacy” is still to be concluded.

The FIR against the reporter, who was trying to help the government in protecting the privacy of billions of people, is condemnable as far as the freedom of the press is concerned.  

The Editors Guild of India also came down heavily on the FIR in a media statement issued that said,

Clearly meant to browbeat a journalist whose investigation on the matter was of great public interest. It is unfair, unjustified and a direct attack on the freedom of the press,

 

The statement further added,

Instead of penalising the reporter, UIDAI should have ordered a thorough internal investigation into the alleged breach and made its findings public. 

Earlier, the UIDAI had responded in a similar way against the CNN-News 18 for showing how it was possible to obtain two separate Aadhaar enrollment numbers with the same set of biometrics.

Skoch Group Chairman Sameer Kochhar was also booked for demonstrating why the biometric identification system was vulnerable to replay attacks. UIDAI had hushed-up the matter calling it “rumour”.

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