Lok Sabha passes Aadhaar Bill; govt promises privacy

Government chose to table the bill as a money bill since the “principal focus is spending the money” for the “deserving beneficiaries”, said Arun Jaitely

GN Bureau | March 11, 2016


#Budget Session   #Aadhaar   #Aadhaar Bill   #Lok Sabha   #UIDAI  

(Illustration: Ashish Asthana)

The Lok Sabha on Friday passed the Aadhaar Bill amid opposition protest.

Finance minister Arun Jaitely asserted that the government will “restore the legal issues of privacy” pertaining to biometrics collected of the citizens for Aadhaar database. 

The bill, which got passed as a money bill, otherwise addresses the issues of privacy of the citizens’ biometric collected for the Aadhaar database, Jaitely said.

Countering opposition on concerns over national security that the bill apparently poses, Jaitely said that the country does not have a specified definition for national security, “not even a country like England.”

Reading out from the bill, he said that chapter six of the Aadhaar Bill deals with secrecy and confidentiality of the information. However, section eight allows some biometric data to be shared on the “consent of the individual.”

Moving on, he said, section 29 of the bill restrict the sharing of biometrics collected of an individual, and it can be used for the purpose told to the individual -- as said in the section’s sub clause number three.

If the information from Aadhaar database is enquired by the court (above the district judge level) then the matter will be directed to a review committee.

Jaitely highlighted that the main focus of the bill has been shifted to stop “unquantified amount of subsidy going to unidentified citizens.”
“People like me were receiving LPG subsidy... The money should be spent on the poor and vulnerable. The focus of Aadhaar Bill is targeted now. We should be able to identify the deserving citizens and undeserving should be phased out,” Jaitely said. That is why, he explained, his government chose to table the bill as a Money Bill since the “principal focus is spending the money” for the “deserving beneficiaries”.

He said that 90 percent of adults are already covered under Aadhaar identification, and promise to cover the rest, including children. “But it will take time,” he said.

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