Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has expressed hope that the Aadhaar Bill, which seeks to give legal status to the unique identity number, will be passed in the ongoing Budget Session.
The Modi government decided in the Union budget to give statutory backing to Aadhaar, the unique identification scheme, and bill to this effect would be introduced in the ongoing budget session of Parliament. HT explains the nuts-and-bolts of the scheme:
What is Aadhaar?
Aadhaar is a 12-digit individual identification number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India on behalf of the government . This number will serve as a proof of identity and address, anywhere in India.
Why do you need Aadhaar?
The Aadhaar project has been linked to some public subsidy and unemployment benefit schemes such as the domestic LPG scheme and MGNREGS. In these Direct Benefit Transfer schemes, the subsidy money is directly transferred to a bank account which is Aadhaar-linked. Aadhaar was conceptualised for efficient transfer of public subsidy schemes
Is Aadhaar mandatory?
No. In September 2013, the Supreme Court issued an interim order saying Aadhaar was voluntary and not mandatory.
What is the Aadhaar bill?
This is the bill to provide Aadhaar statutory backing and make it the mainstay of the government’s direct benefit transfer (DBT) programme for subsidies. It is officially called the Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services Bill, 2016.
How many people have Aadhaar numbers?
By end of March 2016, 100 crore Indians will be issued Aadhaar numbers.
Controversy so far…
Questions have been raised about how the government will ensure biometric details of citizens will be kept secret and used only to generate Aadhaar numbers or authenticate them.