NEW DELHI: Moments before the Lok Sabha adjourned for recess on Wednesday, the government managed to ensure that it rejected all five amendments approved by Rajya Sabha to the Aadhaar Bill, which aims at better targeting of subsidies.
The Lower House rejected amendments to the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016, moved by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh in the Rajya Sabha, and passed it with a majority voting in favour of it. The Bill was earlier returned to the Lok Sabha with a united Opposition strongly objecting to treating it as a Money Bill.
While 76 RS members, of the 140 present, had earlier voted in favour of the amendments, 64 voted against it. Members of BSP, TMC and BJD staged a walk out raising objection to several issues concerning the measure, including making it mandatory and legal provisions in case of breach of data. The process of return of the Bill saw an animated debate over why it was brought as a Money Bill, with a number of Opposition members raising concern over privacy and national security on the biometric data of Indians collected through the scheme.
Brushing aside Opposition objections, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Aadhaar Bill was a Money Bill as it dealt with the way public money or subsidy will be distributed among the needy under government schemes. Moving the Bill in RS, he said Parliament cannot abdicate its right to legislate just because the issue is in the apex court.