The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016 was passed by a voice vote after Speaker Sumitra Mahajan turned down Opposition demands to send the money Bill to a Standing Committee on Finance.
In his reply to the short debate on the Bill in the Lok Sabha, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley noted that thousands of crores of rupees would be saved by routing government subsidies through the Aadhaar system.
Jaitley also allayed fears of any privacy breaches stating that the proposed legal framework specifically covered this aspect.
“This (law) will empower States to distribute resources to deserving people and save the resources that undeserving people get,” he said, adding that both the Centre and State governments would save thousands of crores.
Outlining the success achieved on the targeting of LPG subsidies through Aadhaar cards, Jaitley said over ₹15,000 crore had been saved by the Centre. Four States that had started a PDS delivery pilot on the same lines had saved more than ₹2,300 crore, he added.
With the Bill now passed by the Lok Sabha, all eyes are now on the Rajya Sabha. Till late Thursday evening it was not certain whether the Upper House would debate the money Bill, as it had already allotted the remaining working days (the session breaks on March 17) to other important work such as passing the Union Budget.
A money Bill does not need Rajya Sabha approval. But the Upper House, where the NDA lacks a majority, can make recommendations within two weeks of receiving it. But these are not binding.
The Business Advisory Committee of the Rajya Sabha, which met on Friday, decided to allot three hours for the Aadhaar Bill next week. Commenting on the differences between the earlier Bill, tabled by the UPA, and the latest one, Jaitley said the earlier one provided for establishment of an Authority and gave the idea of a unique identity but failed to define its purpose.
Also, the new Bill would enable the Centre and the States utilise money from the Consolidated Fund of India for better targeting of benefits at deserving beneficiaries.
Jaitley also said that 97 per cent of adults and 67 per cent of minors have Aadhaar cards.
Credits The Hindu Business Line