Why Aadhaar is Niraadhaar: Jairam’s objections to the bill

Jairam Ramesh questions Aadhaar’s role in plugging subsidy leakages

GN Bureau | March 16, 2016


#Lok Sabha   #parliament   #Jairam Ramesh   #Arun Jaitley   #UIDAI   #Aadhaar   #Rajya Sabha  
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh

After snubbing the finance minister in Rajya Sabha, Jairam Ramesh of Congress questioned the government’s claim of saving Rs 14,000 crore by integrating Aadhaar for the LPG subsidy. Citing a report by International Institute of Sustainable Development, a London-based think tank, which seriously doubts the claim of savings accrued by DBT-LPG, Ramesh asked about the study on the basis of which the government is making such tall claims. 

 
“What is Aadhaar? There is enormous confusion. That Aadhaar will identify people who are entitled for subsidy. No. Aadhaar doesn’t determine who is eligible and who isn’t,” Ramesh said. 
 
It can’t be the basis of deciding whether one person will get subsidy and another won’t, he added.
 
He took a jibe on the NDA government’s “fascination” for coining new terms, like JAM –acronym for Jan-Dhan, Aadhaar and mobile. “To say that we have done subsidy sudhaar as we have made Aadhaar mandatory in subsidy distribution is wrong. It only tackles one part of the issue – of fake identity,” he said. 
 
Voluntary not mandatory
 
He further stated that position of the UPA government and the Congress party has always been that Aadhaar is “voluntary and not mandatory”.  
 
However, “It (clause 57) widens the ambit of Aadhaar. It makes it mandatory,” he said, adding that, “every individual who doesn’t desire to have an Aadhaar should have option of voluntarily opting out.” 
 
Therefore, “this clause should be dropped,” he suggested.
 
National security vs privacy
 
The use of term ‘national security’ for overriding privacy clauses gives sweeping powers to the government. 
 
Under the Telegraph Act, 1885, there is no term as national security. It carefully uses terms like ‘public emergency’ and ‘public safety’. “National security is a very broad term and amorphous,” he said.  “Instead of using this term, the legislation should use ‘public emergency’ and ‘public safety’.” 
 
Independent member in oversight committee 
 
Ramesh recommended that an independent member should be in the oversight committee that would be headed by the cabinet secretariat. 
 
No delegated legislation 
 
The Aadhaar bill also confers huge powers to the UIDAI in terms of collection of information. If the authority wants to collect data or additional biometrics – DNA for example – they should come to parliament for its approval. “No legislative power should be delegated. The suo motu power to collect information doesn’t inspire public confidence,” he said.
 
Denial of service
 
“A study points out that 40 percent of Jan-Dhan account holders could not access their accounts for want of Aadhaar. There could be problems related to connectivity, problem with biometrics of old people or labourers.” 
 

Comments

 

Other News

Maid in Kuwait

Can you guess the connection between Kuwait and the remote villages in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh? Hint: Wealth lures poverty.    Kuwait has money and jobs, while the villages in AP abound with people who have no hopes of ever making it good. Whatever they may d

Defence secretary reviews progress of aircraft carrier at Cochin Shipyard

Defence secretary Sanjay Mitra reviewed the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) project at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) on Jul 19. During the onboard visit, Mitra was given a briefing on the progress of the aircraft carrier construction by warship production superintendent Commodore Cyril Tho

Govt relaxes production sharing contracts of pre-NELP and NELP blocks, lowers ONGC burden

In order to boost domestic production of hydrocarbon resources, the centre has approved the policy framework for streamlining operations of production sharing contracts (PSCs) in pre-NELP (new exploration licensing policy) and NELP blocks. The policy framework includes special dispensation f

CSIR-NPL wants to develop petroleum certified materials with HPCL

In its bid to indigenously develop petroleum certified reference materials branded as Bhartiya Niredeshak Dravyas, CSIR- National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has signed a pact with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL). It will not only ensure maintaining highest standard quality ecos

31.67 GW of renewable energy capacity installed in last three years

A total of 31.67 GW of renewable energy capacity has been installed through implementation of various renewable energy schemes and programmes in the last three years in the country. Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) has conducted several following studies with foreign assist

An elastic plastic ban

For a ban that arrived with a bang, it seems to be fading away even before it could take effect. The Maharashtra government has backtracted to allow groceries and general stores to continue to use plastic for packaging after shopkeepers associations complained to state environment minister Ramdas Kadam. Al

Current Issue

Current Issue

Video

CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter