The state government may soon enact their own “State Aadhaar Act”, as the central government has made a proposal for the same. Though a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court is set to hear challenges to the Aadhaar Act, the Centre put up the idea at the national conference of state chief secretaries, organised by governments think-tank NITI Aayog last week. However, the states need to follow the lines of the central Act passed by Parliament last year for enacting their separate Aadhaar Act, reports The Indian Express. The issue was emphasised by AR Sihag, Secretary (Coordination and Public Grievances) in the Cabinet Secretariat while giving the presentation on the topic of “effective implementation of DBT (direct benefit transfer) in states”. “Enactment of State Aadhaar Act” was one of the “interventions requested” by the Cabinet secretariat, said the report.
The Aadhaar Act of the Centre makes Aadhaar mandatory for every welfare subsidy or benefit given to any state from fully-funded or centrally-sponsored schemes in which states share a part of the fiscal burden. The Act clearly mentions that for any scheme for which the expenditure is borne fully or shared partially by the Consolidated Fund of India, there should be verification through Aadhaar. But besides these schemes, some states have their own subsidies or benefit schemes that are funded by the state exchequer like Nitish Kumar led-Bihar government’s bicycle scheme for girls or previous Uttar Pradesh government’s laptop scheme started by the then Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. Such schemes do not fall under central Aadhaar Act. However, the proposed State Aadhaar Act could provide the legal basis for making it mandatory for state-funded welfare schemes too, said the report.
But as the proposal suggested by the Cabinet Secretariat seems tricky as it may affect the freedom of the state governments to set up a mechanism for expenditure from the state exchequer as per the report, it is yet to see whether it will come into effect or not.