Aadhar row: Govt assures about security concerns after Opposition raises it

NEW DELHI: After Aadhar Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha, it was debated heatedly in the Rajya Sabha on the last day ahead of a long break in the budget session. The opposition questioned the government’s proposal to pass the bill.

“I am questioning the competence of this house to legislate the bill,” Sitaram Yechury said. “We defend the integrity of this house,” he said. Yechury also questioned whether the Aadhar bill protected the privacy of the citizens.

As per the Bill, information collected under Aadhaar may be disclosed in the interest of national security, or on the orders of a court.

“What the information(UID) will be used for, what will be the purpose of the info, that was absent in the UPA legislation. The present law is completely different, it borrows UPA’s idea (UID), but the privacy law is much more tightened. Privacy not an absolute right, it is subject to a restriction that it can be restricted by a procedure established by law.

“Just because a unlegislated executive government action is challenged before court, Parliament doesn’t lose its right to legislate. The core of this (UID) bill is government money being spent to ensure money reaches right person, insist on person’s identity,” said Jaitley.

With regard to the Aadhar Bill, it is certain to sail through as, being a Money Bill, the upper house had to return it within a duration of 14 days or it is considered as passed.

The Aadhar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill 2016 was passed in the Lok Sabha on Friday after Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley moved the key bill for consideration.

Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, had objected to the bill being introduced as a money bill, saying the Congress is ready to cooperate on the bill, but it should not come as a money bill. In response, Jaitley said the bill is substantially different from what the Opposition is talking about.

He said the substance of the bill is that whoever gets subsidies will have to produce Aadhaar. The bill is aimed at giving statutory backing for transferring government subsidies and benefits to targeted people. It also lays down a regulatory framework to protect core biometric information of Aadhaar cardholders from any unauthorised disclosure or sharing. The bill is the key to the government’s plan to plug leakages in disbursal of subsidies and other services and in ensuring that these reach intended beneficiaries.

The bill seeks to provide for good governance, efficient, transparent, and targeted delivery of subsidies, benefits and services, the expenditure for which is incurred from the Consolidated Fund of India to individuals residing in India through assigning of unique identity numbers

With agencies