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Parliament Clears Aadhaar Bill, 2016
Mar 18, 2016

The Lok Sabha passed the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016, aimed at better targeting of subsidies through the Aaadhaar unique identity number. It was tabled in the Lok Sabha as a Money Bill because it deals subsidies and money that is flows out of the Consolidated Fund of India.

Salient Features

• The Bill intends to provide for targeted delivery of subsidies and services to individuals residing in India by assigning them unique identity numbers, called Aadhaar numbers.

• Every resident shall be entitled to obtain an
Aadhaar number.

• A resident is a person who has resided in India for 182 days, in the one year preceding the date of application for enrolment for Aadhaar.

• For anyone to get an Aadhaar number the details that needs to be submitted include—Biometric (photograph, finger print, iris scan) and Demographic (name, date of birth, address) information.

• It is the UID authority that will authenticate the Aadhaar number of an individual, if an entity makes such a request.

• The agency can use the disclosed information only for purposes for which the individual has given consent.

• The UID authority is not permitted to share an individual’s biometric information such as finger print, iris scan and other biological attributes.

• These details will be used only for Aadhaar enrolment and authentication, and for no other purpose.

As per Section 33 of the Bill there are two cases when information may be revealed:

1. In the interest of national security, a joint secretary in the central government may issue a direction for revealing, (i) Aadhaar number, (ii) Biometric information, (iii) Demographic information, (iv) Photograph. Such a decision will be reviewed by an oversight committee (comprising Cabinet Secretary, Secretaries of Legal Affairs and Electronics and Information Technology) and will be valid for six months.

2. On the order of a court, (i) An individual’s Aadhaar number, (ii) Photograph, and (iii) Demographic information, may be revealed.

• A person may be punished with imprisonment up to three years and minimum fine of Rs 10 lakh for unauthorised access to the centralised data-base, including revealing any information stored in it.

• If a requesting entity and an enrolling agency fail to comply with rules, they shall be punished with imprisonment up to one year or a fine up to Rs 10,000 or Rs 1 lakh (in case of a company), or with both.

• The Aadhaar Bill will not make it mandatory for the citizens. If a person does not have Aadhaar number, he or she will be given an alternative identification.

• The Bill will enable the government to set up a statutory authority for the Aadhaar card scheme.

• This will permit banks to use the Aadhaar number as identification for customers, which will help them weed out fake Jan Dhan accounts.

The Bill is of importance to the ambitious financial inclusion programme of the Union government. For the government, passing such a law had become important after the Supreme Court issued an interim order in October 2015 saying the Aadhaar number cannot be made mandatory for availing benefits or subsidies or services of the government.


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