Centre introduces Aadhaar Amendment Bill in LS

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Centre introduced Aadhaar Amendment Bill in Lok Sabha on Wednesday to provide legal backing for voluntary seeding of biometric Aadhaar ID with mobile numbers and bank accounts after the Supreme Court barred mandatory use of the 12-digit unique identifier by private firms.

As the Oppositions raised concerns, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asserted that the proposed amendment is in compliance with the Supreme Court judgement and that there will be no infringement of privacy.

He also said that the government has prepared a data protection bill and it will be introduced in Parliament soon.

“Let me clarify at the outset that the proposed amendment is done in compliance with the Supreme Court judgement. It (linking) is not mandatory at all,” he said.

Regarding privacy issue, he said privacy is “not being invaded at all” from these amendments.

The parallel authentication norms is there to safeguard privacy issues, he added.

“We should not forget that Aadhaar has led to saving of Rs. 90,000 crore” through Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT), the minister said, adding multilateral organisations such as World Bank and IMF have hailed Aadhaar as a unique innovation of India.

Objections were raised on the bill by Shashi Tharoor (INC), Saugata Roy (Trinamool Congress) and NK Premachandran (RSP).

Opposing the bill, Roy said that the proposed amendments infringe the Supreme Court judgement on Aadhaar matter and claimed, adding “the bill should not be introduced”.

Tharoor said that the bill is in violation of the top court judgement.

“The bill is premature because first we need enactment of data protection law,” he said asking “where is the draft” of the data protection law.

“The bill must be withdrawn and revised,” he added.

Endorsing these views, Premachandran alleged that the bill infringes the right of privacy.

The Minister said these objection are “misplaced” and “we are not violating the Supreme Court” judgement.

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