Lok Sabha approves Aadhaar's amendment bill

NEW DELHI: The Lok Sabha On Thursday, he approved a bill to allow the voluntary use of Aadhaar as proof of identity to open bank accounts and obtain mobile phones.

The Aadhaar bill and other laws (amendment), 2019, was approved by voice vote after the minister of information technology assured the House that Aadhaar is a voluntary and informed consent of the owner before using it.

The amendments address privacy and security issues. They anticipate that no service or benefit of any scheme will be denied for lack of Aadhaar, Prasad said.

The amended bill also provides for a severe penalty of Rs 1 and a jail period for private entities for storing Aadhaar data.

Up to 123 million people are currently using Aadhaar (...) All security measures are applied to prohibit the misuse of biometric data from Aadhaar. The iris and fingerprint data are stored in Indian machinery and are safe, Prasad said.

By showing his personal Aadhaar card in the House of Representatives, the minister said that the card only reveals his name, father's name, date of birth, address of residence and does not give any information about medical records or details of caste, religion and community.

He said Aadhaar's data can only be shared when there is a threat to national security or when there is a court order. Even if I, as the minister of information technology, look for data from Aadhaar, I will be subject to 3 years of punishment, said Prasad.

He said the government saved Rs 1.41 crore due to Aadhaar and eliminated 4.23 crore and 2.98 crore LPG connections and ration cards, respectively.

Prasad said the bill is a healthy amendment after the order of the Supreme Court. Since millions of poor people are benefiting from the use of Aadhaar, therefore, in case of emergency we brought the Ordinance, he said.

The minister also said that the government will soon submit data protection legislation in the House of Representatives, as it believes that India's data sovereignty must be respected and that the country should have a data analysis center.

The data protection law is a work in progress. We have the report of the Justice Committee Srikrishna. More inter-ministerial consultations are under way, said Prasad. Judge Srikrishna's panel presented his report in July 2018.

The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019, was introduced in the Lok Sabha on June 24, and eleven passed by the Rajya Sabha will replace an Ordinance issued in March 2019.

The amendments provide for the voluntary use of the Aadhaar number under the Telegraph Act of 1885 and the Money Laundering Prevention Act of 2002.

In short, this means that you will allow the voluntary use of the Aadhaar number for authentication and proof of identity when opening bank accounts and obtaining mobile phone connections.

It also gives children the option to exit the biometric identification program when they turn 18, while stipulating severe penalties for violating the rules established for the use of Aadhaar and the violation of privacy.

When participating in the debate on the bill, Ritesh Pandey (BSP) said that it is necessary to improve it.

To support the bill, Ajay Kumar Mishra (BJP) said five years ago, the challenge we faced was to work in mission mode. And now we are seeing the results.

Aadhaar, he said, will play an important role in making the facilities available.

Supriya Sule (NCP) said you're cheating a common man ... What privacy are we talking about?

When speaking at the BJP, she said that they are only growing in the programs that UPA started.

Why is the Aadhaar card mandatory? What is it? What is the voter card then? We all have voter ID, he said.

P K Kunhalikutty (IUML) said that you should have taken this bill.

Declaring Aadhaar as the greatest enemy of corruption, Manoj Tiwari (BJP) that more Aadhaar is strong, more are the benefits.

R Natarajan of CPI (M) said he was strongly opposed to the bill because it was in contravention of the Supreme Court ruling.

Opposing the bill, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, said the government used the ordinance route to bring in the legislation.

He said that the ordinance was issued by the last government (from 2014-19) and the current government has presented it as legislation.

The government is turning to the ordinance route without any rhyme and reason.

Chowdhury said it was the UPA government that introduced the law, to which Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the NDA government granted Aadhaar legal status.

You lent us the concept of Aadhaar (Aapne Aadhaar udhaar liya hain), said Chowdhury.

He said that the Supreme Court had also violated the government for violating privacy in Aadhaar.

Prasad said: Beneath you (UPA), Aadhaar lacked all support (Aadhaar niradhar tha). We made a law for it.

The minister said that Rs 7.84 lakh crore was sent through Direct Benefit Benefit Transfer (DBT) to beneficiaries under different schemes. Almost 1.41 lakh crore have been saved from middle men.

He said that people with 123.81 million people have Aadhaar cards and that almost 6.91 million bank accounts have been linked.

In opposing the bill, Manish Tewari said that an individual should be given the right to involuntarily remove his Aaadhar number.

Beating the government, Asadussin Owaisi (AIMIM), Rammohan Naidu (TDP) and K Premachandran (RSP) alleged that the government was trying to benefit private entities from the legislation.

Premachandran also demanded that the bill be sent to the Standing Committee or Select Committees of Parliament.

He said the bill also gives UIDAI more power, but has little responsibility.

Owaisi said the bill will not be presented to the Court of Justice.

You could approve this bill with a gross majority, but rest assured that the courts will eliminate it, Owaisi said.