Aadhaar Bill sails through Parliament

New Delhi (DHNS): The Aadhaar Bill was deemed to have been passed by both Houses of Parliament on Wednesday after the Lok Sabha rejected the amendments suggested by the Rajya Sabha.

The bill aims to give statutory backing to the unique identification number scheme for better targeting of subsidies.

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The Rajya Sabha returned the Aadhaar (targeted delivery of financial and other subsidies, benefits and services) Bill, 2016, with five amendments moved by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh.

The Opposition took advantage of its superior numbers in the Rajya Sabha and forced amendments to embarrass the government. Also, the Bahujan Samaj Party, Trinamool Congress and the Biju Janata Dal members walked out of the House.

Within hours after the Rajya Sabha returned the Bill, the Lok Sabha took it up for consideration. The government had the last laugh with the Lower House rejecting the suggestions made by the Upper House.

CPM member Mohd Salim and Trinamool MP Sugata Bose spoke in favour of amendments related to right to privacy and national security.

While replying to the debate, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said privacy is not an absolute right, adding that if an individual wants a benefit from the government, he has to choose either the benefit or the identity.
After a voice vote, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said the Bill is deemed to have been passed by both Houses of Parliament.

There have been precedents in 1977 and 1978 when finance bills were returned to the Lok Sabha with suggestions and the Lower House rejected the amendments.

Heated debate in RS

Earlier, the Rajya Sabha witnessed a heated debate with the Opposition questioning the government as to why the legislation was introduced in the form of a money bill.

Brushing aside the objections, Jaitley said the Bill was a money bill as it dealt with the way public money or subsidies will be distributed. Ramesh said that every individual should have the freedom to opt out of Aadhaar and said the present Bill does not give that space.

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