Aadhar Bill passed in Lok Sabha, Opposition fears ‘surveillance’

Arun Jaitley rejects demand to refer Bill to Standing Committee; says legislation for targeted subsidy, details of citizens will not be misused.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: March 12, 2016 4:34 am
aadhar, aadhar bill, aadhar bill passed, arun jaitley, arun jaitley aadhar bill, aadhar card, aadhar news, aadhar bill lok sabha, india news Union Minister Arun Jaitley. (Express Photo)

The Lok Sabha on Friday passed the Aadhaar Bill that aims to ensure targeted services to intended beneficiaries by assigning them unique identity numbers. These numbers will be given to each person who has stayed in India for 182 days in the year preceding the date of application.

The Lower House passed The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016, with a voice vote after a brief debate. While responding to concerns expressed by Rajiv Satav of the Congress, Tathagat Satpathy of the BJD, Asaduddin Owaisi of the AIMIM, Kaushalendra Kumar of the JD(U) and others, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley assured the House that details provided for the card would not be allowed to be misused in any manner.

The government, having seen the fate of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, chose to package the legislation as a money bill to ensure that it was not blocked by the Rajya Sabha, where the ruling NDA is short of a majority. In his reply to the debate, Jaitley left it to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to take the final call on whether or not it could be classified as a money bill. Jaitley, citing Section 110 of the Constitution, said any bill which facilitated the payment of moneys into or withdrawals of money from the Contingency Fund of India was a money bill. The bill will now go to the Rajya Sabha, which can deliberate on it and suggest amendments.

Share This Article
Share
Related Article

While wrapping up the debate, Jaitley said that “except for some questions with regard to privacy and disclosure of information which have been raised, most speakers have actually supported” the bill. “The effect (of the bill) is going to be that both the central and state governments are going to save thousands of crores of rupees after having serviced and served the poor people and these thousands of crores of rupees that they will save from undeserving people are further resources which can go to the advantage of serving those people”.

Earlier in the day, Jaitley refused to accept the Opposition demand that the bill be referred to the Standing Committee. As Jaitley proposed that the House take up the bill for consideration, Bhartruhari Mahtab of the BJD expressed the fear that it could lead to invasion of privacy. Mahtab received support from Congress floor leader Mallikarjun Kharge and AIADMK leader P Venugopal. Kharge said they were not against the bill as such, but they felt that it was flawed.

Jaitley pointed out that the bill had been going through some consideration or the other for seven years. “Enough is enough,” he said, adding that the Congress opposition to the bill was “not principled”. He reminded the Congress that the UPA government had approved a bill in September 2010 and introduced it in Parliament in December. Regarding Kharge’s criticism over the money-bill issue, he said the bill was “distinctly different” from the one brought by the UPA. “The earlier we implement it, the better.”

BJD chief whip Tathagat Satpathy said there was apprehension that the bill could be used for “mass surveillance” and “ethnic cleansing”. When a BJP member countered him, saying there are no different races in the country, Satpathy said there are at least four groups in the country and Indians can be divided on these lines.

On the privacy issue, Jaitley said the bill had provisions for taking care of it. He said there would be no sharing of Aadhaar data without the consent of residents and no biometric data would be shared even with their consent. “The purpose of the bill is not for collateral purpose but to ensure that benefit of public revenue reaches the targeted beneficiary,” he added.

The minister said that 97 per cent adults had Aadhaar cards while 67 per cent minors had it. Five to 7 lakh people were being added every day.

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App

  1. J
    Jagdish
    Mar 11, 2016 at 1:33 pm
    Rich people do not want govt. subsidy going to poor people. What is wrong Aadhar card being links to payments and direct transfer for subsidy?
    Reply
    1. S
      seshan
      Mar 11, 2016 at 1:51 pm
      it is not only rich people but also the useless opposition parties like congress can not make money and loot the country if the benifits reaches the right person with out middle man.kep it up.
      Reply
      1. A
        Abhinav
        Mar 12, 2016 at 9:54 pm
        W UPA 2 these jokers and goondas complained. Now, U turn!
        Reply
        1. A
          Anil Semwal
          Mar 12, 2016 at 7:15 am
          There is a need to integrate various services using some common number or code. Aadhaar is the best tool for such integration. It will eliminate corruption and make service delivery more efficient and transparent. Data is also safe as it is not shared with any agancy without users' consent.
          Reply
          1. A
            akr
            Mar 11, 2016 at 11:13 am
            govt should propose comprehensive bill which promotes targetted subside via JAM (jandhan,aadhar and mobile)
            Reply
            1. A
              akr
              Mar 11, 2016 at 11:11 am
              target subsidy is good for preventing , leakage and corruption in govt welfare schemes
              Reply
              1. A
                AB
                Mar 11, 2016 at 2:58 pm
                In the present (technologically) un-secure era, can the Central Government give any guarantee about the safety of the data (of the Citizens) stored in a digital form? What about the illegal activities of various domestic and foreign intelligence outfits operating inside and outside the country? Say YES to the Right to Privacy. Say NO to Aadhar Bill (and to a Surveillance State)!
                Reply
                1. D
                  Dhaval Dhanani
                  Mar 11, 2016 at 12:41 pm
                  bjp is worst than congress. I hope supreme court intervene.
                  Reply
                  1. Load More Comments