Rattled by the Supreme Court ruling on Aadhaar, the Centre is looking for statutory cover for the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which has been operating through an executive order for the past four years.
A day after the apex court ruled that the 12-digit number was not mandatory to avail government services, Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Planning Rajeev Shukla said the UPA government would push the National Identification Authority of India Bill 2010 during the Winter Session of Parliament.
Interestingly, the bill Shukla was referring to was trashed by Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance in December 2011, which had termed the executive decision “unethical and violative of Parliament prerogatives.”
Shockingly, the Ministry of Planning had also admitted to the parliamentary panel that no committee had been constituted to study the financial implications of the Unique Identification Authority(UID) scheme and it was given a go-ahead without a detailed project report.”
The committee in its observation had expressed surprise over the government’s decision to provide Aadhaar to every resident, despite battling with illegal immigration and infiltration from across borders.
Less than a year after the committee’s observation, the scheme came under the Intelligence Bureau scanner in 2012, after it had issued Aadhaar numbers in the name of fruits and vegetables like ‘Apple’ and ‘Coriander’.
The incident had toppled the Nandan Nilekani-headed UIDAI’s claim of having a foolproof process for vetting individual profiles.
The parliamentary committee in its observation, mentioned that the ministry had raised serious security concerns over the efficacy of the introducer system and the extensive involvement of private agencies in the scheme, which could become a threat to national security.
Shukla said the bill was sent back to the commission with some amendments and it would soon be taken up by the Cabinet.