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What is wrong with NDA’s Aadhaar Bill, Jairam Ramesh explains; top 10 key takeaways

Sun March 20 2016, 7:59 am
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    The Rajya Sabha saw an animated discussion when the Aadhaar Bill, which has been passed by Lok Sabha, was moved for consideration and return, with Opposition questioning why it has been been brought as a 'Money Bill'. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh lambasted the government and picked holes in the way Narendar Modi govt has handled the Aadhaar Bill during the Budget session of Parliament. Here are the top 10 key takeaways in Jairam Ramesh' Aadhaar Bill argument: (PTI)

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    1. Overall, opposition parties in Rajya Sabha slammed various provisions of the Aadhaar bill, singling out the ones like making the Aadhaar card mandatory as an identity proof besides voicing concern that national security could be made a ground for sharing of an individual's details. (PTI)

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    2. Aadhaar Bill: Congress leader and former Union minister Jairam Ramesh suggested some amendments and 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". Ramesh said that FM Arun Jaitley, in his attempt to justify the decision to treat Aadhaar bill as 'Money Bill', had "misled" the House by claiming that in the past two Bills, one on Juvenile Justice and another on African Development Bank, had been brought as Money Bills. (Reuters)

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    3. Aadhaar Bill: Jairam Ramesh supported the Aadhaar 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. (PTI)

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    4. Aadhaar Bill: Jairam Ramesh argued that every individual should have the freedom to opt out of Aadhaar and said the present Bill does not give that space. Saying that he himself does not have an Aadhaar card, Jairam Ramesh said a situation may arise when it may be needed even to book a flight or get a phone number. (PTI)

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    5. Aadhaar Bill: Jairam Ramesh also opposed another provision in the Aadhaar Bill which he termed as "broad" and "amorphous" and could become the ground for misuse of the law as it gives "sweeping powers" on the grounds of national security. He suggested that rather than national security, the terms "public emergency" or "public safety" could be used. He suggested that an independent member like the CVC should be included in the panel that decides which information regarding a person can be shared. Jairam Ramesh said any suo motu powers, "even to collect information" should not be given to the Aadhaar authority, for instance it could even direct collection of DNA. (PTI)

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    6. Aadhaar Bill: Jairam Ramesh said there were concerns of privacy and the amendments moved by him were in line with the recommendation suggested by a Commission headed by Justice (retd) A P Shah, which had been set by the Planning Commission to examine the matter. (PTI)

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    7. Aadhaar Bill: The Congress leader said the major use of Aadhaar should be that it could be used to improve the way subsidy is distributed to curb leakages, but it should not determine who is eligible for subsidy. Ramesh said while much has been made out by the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley about Rs 14,000 crore savings in the distribution of LPG subsidies because of Aadhaar based DBT, the findings of a London-based think tank suggest otherwise. (PTI)

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    8. Aadhaar Bill: Jairam Ramesh said while the present Bill is better in some respects than the one brought by UPA in 2010, it is silent on other aspects. He said he had overall nine objections to the Bill, a number for which FM Arun Jaitley had shown much fascination in the budget. (Reuters)

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    9. Aadhaar Bill: Jairam Ramesh said that during the UPA regime, there was scepticism over Aadhaar even among the National Advisory Council (NAC) but his party leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had remained firm. (Reuters)

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    10. Aadhaar Bill: Jairam Ramesh said while the government had provided the opposition with "fait accompli", it should have rather been sent to a Select Committee headed by a BJP member like Anil Madhav Dave or Bhupendra Yadav and better bill could have been come up with.

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    Amit Koul
    Mar 18, 2016 at 12:30 pm
    Sense less page - Not able to read anything...it keeps on rolling
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