The Daily Fix

The Daily Fix: Supreme Court must push Aadhaar linking date until after its judgment

Everything you need to know for the day (and a little more).

The Big Story: Fate accompli

When it comes to the government’s Aadhaar biometric ID project, the “fait accompli” argument, by which an act is justified not on its own merit but simply because it has already been carried out, already seems to be operating. The argument against enrollment seem redundant, considering that hundreds of millions of people have already signed up to the 12-digit biometric ID programme almost entirely by illegal coercion.


But this is not the case. The looming deadline for mandatory linking of bank accounts and phone numbers with Aadhaar serves as a reminder to the government that its massive programme rests on shaky territory and could be struck down by the Supreme Court, which is currently hearing petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the identity project. Even though very few people still remain outside the ambit of Aadhaar, they could soon be joined by many many who did not sign up to the programme voluntarily, despite the government’s suggestions to the court, and have chosen not to link their mobiles and financial accounts so far.

This is why the Supreme Court must mandate that the government should push the linking deadline, not just till an arbitrary later date, but until after the judgment is delivered in the matter. The argument at hand is a Constitutional one and is based on the potential violation of fundamental rights. Allowing the government and, worse, private companies like banks and telcommunication companies to pressure citizens to link their data despite the massive privacy concerns that the Supreme Court is currently grappling with is to make a mockery of our justice system.

From the very beginning, the Supreme Court has been warned about the fait accompli argument – the suggestion that since more than a billion people have enrolled in the Aadhaar system, pulling it apart would be folly now even if it were illegal. The court nevertheless chose to wait several years before even setting up a Constitution bench to hear the matter. That delay was reprehensible, but should not become the reason that Aadhaar is allowed to exist.

Other countries, most prominently the United Kingdom, have dismantled similar programmes after it became evident that they led to erosion of civil liberty. India can still do the same and it is important that the Supreme Court recognise the potential for this. It is likely that the deadline for linking will be pushed forward, as the government has indicated. But the Court must ensure it is done in a manner that does not allow the coercion of government and companies to continue. The date must be delayed until after the judgment has been delivered. Anything less would be an eyewash.

The Big Scroll

Punditry

  1. “It would be morally obtuse and analytically misleading to see this long march as simply a demand for palliatives, subsidies, waivers,” writes Pratap Bhanu Mehta in the Indian Express. “Those constructions are often used to disguise the questions of distributive justice at play, and they reinforce the stereotype of the farmer as a mere victim. The long march is instead a claim for economic agency and rationality, human dignity, political representation, and cultural visibility. It needs to be engaged on those terms.”
  2. “Unless the left and social democratic parties make certain fundamental alterations in their thinking and methodology, they are bound to wither away and become political relics,” writes MK Narayanan in the Hindu.
  3. V Anantha Nageswaran in Mint writes about how exchange-traded funds seem to have taken the place of credit default swaps, the derivative instrument that led to the 2008 financial crisis.
  4. “In the field of politics, very often these men – walking around wrapped in religious-spiritual cloaks – end up becoming panegyrists for the politicians, who play around with them,” writes Sanjay Pugalia in Bloomberg Quint.

Giggle

Don’t miss

Aarefa Johari gives you stories from the farmers’ Long March which saw Adivasi farmers walking 180 kilometres into Mumbai to demand rights.

“‘We are here to demand our forest land that the government has been promising to give us for 20 years,’ said 62-year-old Lilke from Nashik district’s Korat village. ‘We will not leave Mumbai till the government accepts our demands.’

Despite her exhaustion, Lilke sat resolutely amidst the sea of protesters, with a red cap and a red flag bearing the symbol of the All-India Kisan Sangh, the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-affiliated farmers’ association that organised the march. She was flanked by her neighbours and former jail-mates Vatsala Kadal and Babiabai Kadal, both women in their 70s.

‘My feet are full of blisters and I can’t walk anymore, but we all decided we would do this protest on foot, no matter what,’ said Babiabai Kadal, a landless labourer who earns Rs 150 a day by working on other farmers’ fields. However, with erratic rainfall in the past few years, crops have been failing and labour work has been scarce for Kadal, Lilke and other Adivasis from their village. The drop in income has had a direct impact on food availability for their families.”

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The next Industrial Revolution is here – driven by the digitalization of manufacturing processes

Technologies such as Industry 4.0, IoT, robotics and Big Data analytics are transforming the manufacturing industry in a big way.

The manufacturing industry across the world is seeing major changes, driven by globalization and increasing consumer demand. As per a report by the World Economic Forum and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd on the future of manufacturing, the ability to innovate at a quicker pace will be the major differentiating factor in the success of companies and countries.

This is substantiated by a PWC research which shows that across industries, the most innovative companies in the manufacturing sector grew 38% (2013 - 2016), about 11% year on year, while the least innovative manufacturers posted only a 10% growth over the same period.

Along with innovation in products, the transformation of manufacturing processes will also be essential for companies to remain competitive and maintain their profitability. This is where digital technologies can act as a potential game changer.

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Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, artificial intelligence and Big Data analytics are some of the key technologies powering Industry 4.0. According to a report, Industry 4.0 will prompt manufacturers globally to invest $267 billion in technologies like IoT by 2020. Investments in digitalization can lead to excellent returns. Companies that have implemented digitalization solutions have almost halved their manufacturing cycle time through more efficient use of their production lines. With a single line now able to produce more than double the number of product variants as three lines in the conventional model, end to end digitalization has led to an almost 20% jump in productivity.

Digitalization and the Indian manufacturing industry

The Make in India program aims to increase the contribution of the manufacturing industry to the country’s GDP from 16% to 25% by 2022. India’s manufacturing sector could also potentially touch $1 trillion by 2025. However, to achieve these goals and for the industry to reach its potential, it must overcome the several internal and external obstacles that impede its growth. These include competition from other Asian countries, infrastructural deficiencies and lack of skilled manpower.

There is a common sentiment across big manufacturers that India lacks the eco-system for making sophisticated components. According to FICCI’s report on the readiness of Indian manufacturing to adopt advanced manufacturing trends, only 10% of companies have adopted new technologies for manufacturing, while 80% plan to adopt the same by 2020. This indicates a significant gap between the potential and the reality of India’s manufacturing industry.

The ‘Make in India’ vision of positioning India as a global manufacturing hub requires the industry to adopt innovative technologies. Digitalization can give the Indian industry an impetus to deliver products and services that match global standards, thereby getting access to global markets.

The policy, thus far, has received a favourable response as global tech giants have either set up or are in the process of setting up hi-tech manufacturing plants in India. Siemens, for instance, is helping companies in India gain a competitive advantage by integrating industry-specific software applications that optimise performance across the entire value chain.

The Digital Enterprise is Siemens’ solution portfolio for the digitalization of industries. It comprises of powerful software and future-proof automation solutions for industries and companies of all sizes. For the discrete industries, the Digital Enterprise Suite offers software and hardware solutions to seamlessly integrate and digitalize their entire value chain – including suppliers – from product design to service, all based on one data model. The result of this is a perfect digital copy of the value chain: the digital twin. This enables companies to perform simulation, testing, and optimization in a completely virtual environment.

The process industries benefit from Integrated Engineering to Integrated Operations by utilizing a continuous data model of the entire lifecycle of a plant that helps to increase flexibility and efficiency. Both offerings can be easily customized to meet the individual requirements of each sector and company, like specific simulation software for machines or entire plants.

Siemens has identified projects across industries and plans to upgrade these industries by connecting hardware, software and data. This seamless integration of state-of-the-art digital technologies to provide sustainable growth that benefits everyone is what Siemens calls ‘Ingenuity for Life’.

Case studies for technology-led changes

An example of the implementation of digitalization solutions from Siemens can be seen in the case of pharma major Cipla Ltd’s Kurkumbh factory.

Cipla needed a robust and flexible distributed control system to dispense and manage solvents for the manufacture of its APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients used in many medicines). As part of the project, Siemens partnered with Cipla to install the DCS-SIMATIC PCS 7 control system and migrate from batch manufacturing to continuous manufacturing. By establishing the first ever flow Chemistry based API production system in India, Siemens has helped Cipla in significantly lowering floor space, time, wastage, energy and utility costs. This has also improved safety and product quality.

In yet another example, technology provided by Siemens helped a cement plant maximise its production capacity. Wonder Cement, a greenfield project set up by RK Marbles in Rajasthan, needed an automated system to improve productivity. Siemens’ solution called CEMAT used actual plant data to make precise predictions for quality parameters which were previously manually entered by operators. As a result, production efficiency was increased and operators were also freed up to work on other critical tasks. Additionally, emissions and energy consumption were lowered – a significant achievement for a typically energy intensive cement plant.

In the case of automobile major, Mahindra & Mahindra, Siemens’ involvement involved digitalizing the whole product development system. Siemens has partnered with the manufacturer to provide a holistic solution across the entire value chain, from design and planning to engineering and execution. This includes design and software solutions for Product Lifecycle Management, Siemens Technology for Powertrain (STP) and Integrated Automation. For Powertrain, the solutions include SINUMERIK, SINAMICS, SIMOTICS and SIMATIC controls and drives, besides CNC and PLC-controlled machines linked via the Profinet interface.

The above solutions helped the company puts its entire product lifecycle on a digital platform. This has led to multi-fold benefits – better time optimization, higher productivity, improved vehicle performance and quicker response to market requirements.

Siemens is using its global expertise to guide Indian industries through their digital transformation. With the right technologies in place, India can see a significant improvement in design and engineering, cutting product development time by as much as 30%. Besides, digital technologies driven by ‘Ingenuity for Life’ can help Indian manufacturers achieve energy efficiency and ensure variety and flexibility in their product offerings while maintaining quality.

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The above examples of successful implementation of digitalization are just some of the examples of ‘Ingenuity for Life’ in action. To learn more about Siemens’ push to digitalize India’s manufacturing sector, see here.

This article was produced on behalf of Siemens by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.