New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Thursday began discussion on a bill that provides for voluntary use of Aadhaar number in physical or electronic form by authentication or offline verification with the consent of the individual.
Moving The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019 for consideration and passage in the House, Communications, Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government has saved Rs 7.48 lakh crore in the past five years using direct benefit transfer.
“We have saved money siphoned off by middleman. Aadhar has proved its usefulness,” he said.
The bill seeks to replace an ordinance promulgated in March this year and amend the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 and further to amend the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002.
Prasad said that the amendments to the Aadhaar Act will give an option to children to cancel their Aadhaar number on attaining the age of eighteen years.
He said the bill provides for voluntary use of Aadhaar, which means consent is necessary.
Noting that the BJP-led government had given Aadhaar a statutory basis, he said it has been developed by the scientist of country, is low cost and is safe and secure.
He said of the country’s population of 130 crore, over 123 crore had Aadhaar card.
“We have said it is voluntary but it gives me happiness to inform the House that 69.38 crore mobile phones are linked to Aadhaar. As far as bank accounts are concerned, 65.91 crore bank accounts are linked to it,” he said.
Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said Aadhaar was a brainchild of Congress-led UPA government and the accused the government of frequently resorting to ordinances.
“The government should first bring data protection bill,” he said, adding that it was not giving due importance to privacy.