Congress punches holes in Aadhar bill, returns it to Lok Sabha

Suggestions include ‘fundamental departure' against provision making Aadhar card mandatory

New Delhi: The Congress party slammed various provisions of the Aadhar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other subsidies, benefits and services) Bill, 2016, in Rajya Sabha yesterday, singling out the ones like making the Aadhar card mandatory as an identity proof besides voicing concern that national security could be made a ground for sharing of an individual’s details.

Congress’ Jairam Ramesh lead the charge against Aadhar Bill. File Pic
Congress’ Jairam Ramesh lead the charge against Aadhar Bill. File Pic

The House saw an animated discussion when the Aadhar Bill, passed by Lok Sabha, was moved for consideration and return, with opposition questioning in unison why it has been brought as a ‘Money Bill’ (which deals with issues like taxation).

Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien said since the decision to declare it as ‘Money Bill’ had to be be taken by Lok Sabha Speaker, he could not do anything but ensure it is returned to the Lower House (after passage).

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh supported the Aadhar Bill, which is aimed at giving statutory backing to the unique identity number scheme, but proposed amendments including a ‘fundamental departure’ against the provision making its use mandatory, rather than voluntary.

Besides suggesting amendments, Ramesh also expressed ‘anguish’ that the Bill had been brought as a ‘Money Bill’, an act he likened to ‘knocking a nail in the coffin of the Upper House’.

The bill was finally returned to Lok Sabha with several amendments, with other Opposition parties objecting strongly to treating it as a Money Bill and voting in favour of amendments suggested by Ramesh.     

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