Bill to give statutory status to Aadhaar introduced in Lok Sabha

New Delhi, March 3 (IANS) Despite opposition from the Congress and the Biju Janata Dal, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday introduced the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016 in the Lok Sabha.

The bill to provide Aadhaar statutory backing and make it the mainstay of the government’s direct benefit transfer (DBT) programme for subsidies was tabled in the house as a money bill.

Objecting to the presentation of the bill as a money bill, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said, “Congress is ready to cooperate on the bill, but it should not come as a money bill. To avoid Rajya Sabha they are bringing this bill as a money bill.”

Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader Bhartruhari Mahtab also objected to the legislation and sought clarification from the minister.

“The bill was brought by the UPA government and then it was referred to the standing committee. Lots of recommendations were also made but I don’t know the status of the bill in the Rajya Sabha. There are many contentious issues related to Aadhaar number and so the matter was also referred to the Supreme Court,” he said.

Responding to the queries raised by the members, Jaitley said, “The bill is substantially different from what was brought by the UPA and it is up to the Speaker to decide. The substance of the bill is that whoever gets subsidies will have to produce Aadhaar.”

The bill seeks to provide for “good governance, efficient, transparent, and targeted delivery of subsidies, benefits and services”, from public funds, to the citizens through assigning of unique identity numbers to them.

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