Economy

Lok Sabha passes Aadhaar Bill as a single window to distribute subsidy

Opposition terms move a ‘conspiracy to undermine the Rajya Sabha’

 
By Kundan Pandey
Published: Friday 11 March 2016

Photo: Chaitanya Chandan

The Lok Sabha on Friday passed the Aadhaar Bill 2016 as a “money bill” despite the opposition terming the move a conspiracy to undermine the Rajya Sabha.

As per law, if a money bill has been passed by the Lok Sabha where the ruling party has a majority, the Rajya Sabha cannot make any amendments to it. It can only discuss the bill. If the Rajya Sabha fails to discuss the bill within 14 days, it would be “deemed passed”.

The opposition has alleged that the government is trying to bypass the Rajya Sabha where the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is in a minority.

Union Minister Arun Jaitely introduced the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill on March 3, 2016. The Bill intends to provide for targeted delivery of subsidies and services to individuals residing in India by assigning them Unique Identity (UID) Numbers, called Aadhaar numbers. The bill thus gives legal sanction to the Unique Identification Number programme or Aadhaar as a single window to distribute subsidy and other direct benefit transfers.

According to an analysis of the Bill by PRS Legislative Research, to verify the identity of a person receiving a subsidy or a service, the government may require them to have an Aadhaar number.  If a person does not have that, the government will require him/her to apply for it, and in the meanwhile, provide an alternative means of identification.  Any public or private entity can accept the Aadhaar number as a proof of identity of the holder, for any purpose. However, an Aadhaar number cannot be a proof of citizenship or domicile.

The analysis further adds that the key functions of the UID authority include specifying demographic and biometric information to be collected during enrolment, assigning Aadhaar numbers to individuals, authenticating Aadhaar numbers, and specifying the usage of Aadhaar numbers for delivery of subsidies and services.  

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