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

Mumbai`s stalled building projects: Is self-redevelopment the real solution?

Land in Mumbai city, which is surrounded by water on three sides, is scarce and has a premium. Property prices in certain areas of financial capital of the country are as much as Rs 1 lakh per sq ft. Yet, 5,800 buildings have been lying in a stalled condition for the last 18 years. Meanwhile

Revadi, electoral reforms and fiscal responsibility

Revadi (sweetmeat) or more popular word, ‘freebies’, has been dominating headlines recently. A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in Supreme Court to bar all political parties from making such promises. In response, one leading political party, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), has filed thei

Jal Jeevan Mission: 6.70 crore households provided with tap water connections

Since August 2019, Government of India, in partnership with States, is implementing Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) to make provision of potable tap water supply every rural household by 2024. As many as 6.70 crore households have been provided with tap water connections in the 35 months, since Aug

Cloud inclusivity: Ensuring highly regulated organisations are ready for a cloud-first world

Over the last few years, cloud has been able to create a special place for itself amongst fast moving, competitive and growth-led organisations. As the technology became an imperative, it has undoubtedly created unique business opportunities and isbecoming an anchor for innovation for leading businesses gl

1.29 crore voters chose NOTA in five years

None-of-the-above, or NOTA – the option introduced for voters in 2013 when they don’t want to support any of the candidate – has made some progress. In the past five years, NOTA has secured 1,29,77,627 votes in state assembly elections and Lok Sabha election, according to an analysis by t

India committs to reduce Emissions Intensity of GDP by 45% by 2030

India stands committed to reduce Emissions Intensity of its GDP by 45 percent from the 2005 level by 2030 and achieve about 50 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030. The country’s India’s updated Nationally Determined Contributi

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter