Aadhar Bill, 2016 related to Aadhar Card UIDAI, after much controversy has been passed by Lok Sabha on 16 March 2016. The bill has introduced many provisions which were absent when it was introduced by UPA government in 2010.
There are many changes related to Aadhar Card UIDAI that has been introduced in the Aadhar Bill 2016. Click Here to read the document prepared by PRS Legislative Research on the Change welcomed in the Aadhar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016.
What does Aadhar Bill Mean for Aadhar Card UIDAI?
Parliament of India introduced the Aadhar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, benefits and services) Act, 2016 as a money bill. Aadhar Bill will provide legal backing to the Aadhar unique identification number project. In his presentation in Lok Sabha, Mr. Arun Jaitley also said that more than Rs 2,300 crore was saved when the project had started on pilot basis in four states of India.
Click Here to Read How Aadhar Can Kickstart the Economy?
Background of Aadhar Card UIDAI
Before discussing the Aadhar Bill, here is a small description of Aadhar Card UIDAI. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is a central government agency of India. Its objective is to collect the biometric and demographic data of residents, store them in a centralised database. UIDAI issues a 12-digit unique identity number called Aadhar to each resident. As per the data collected till 28 March 2016, nearly 99.6 crores individual have registered for Aadhar Card which is over 97 percent of the adult population and 67 percent of minor (age 0-17) according to Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley (Click Here to read the full report).
By Assigning the Unique Identification number to each individual the government aims to link various government schemes to the Aadhar Card. The government aims to provide direct subsidy transfer to the individual’s bank account and to prevent any leakages in the economy.
Aadhar Bill 2016 for Aadhar Card UIDAI
The efforts to channelize subsidies, benefits and services can help plug the leakages in the subsidy framework and can also give a boost to the Jan Dhan Yojna, which remains closely aligned to this scheme.
The Aadhar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016, brought in by the government as a money Bill, was opposed by the Opposition over the issue of security, as the access to the biometric database in the interest of national security would compromise privacy.
Keeping in concern the privacy issues Aadhar UIDAI Bill has included following disclosure and non-disclosure points in the bill:
- Authentication: The UID authority will authenticate the Aadhar number of an individual if an entity makes such a request. The requesting entity (an agency or person that wants to authenticate information of a person) has to obtain the consent of an individual before collecting his information. The agency can use the disclosed information only for purposes for which the individual has given consent.
- Protection of information: Biometric information such as an individual’s fingerprint, iris scan and other biological attributes (specified by regulations) will be used only for Aadhar enrolment and authentication, and for no other purpose. Such information will not be shared with anyone anywhere except for purposes specified by regulations.
- Revealing information: The information can be revealed in two cases:
- In the interest of national security, the joint secretary on behalf of government can issue the direction for revealing the Aadhar information. Such issues will only be given after the review of Oversight Committee of Cabinet Secretary, Secretaries of Legal affairs and Electronic and information Technology.
- On the Court’s Orders individuals Aadhar number, photograph and demographic details can be revealed.
- Offences and penalties: Unofficial access to the database a person may be punished with imprisonment up to three years and the minimum fine of Rs 10 lakh.
Nandan Nilekani, the former chairman of UIDAI said that this technology will allow India to develop into a modern welfare state. It will give Indian residents a secure digital ID to access the internet and prevent “digital colonisation” by foreign firms. He also this will check wastage of public funds, corruption, fake degrees and improve employment status of many.
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