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Jaitley won a rare victory through AADHAR card

Dr P Pullarao 

Through a bold gambit by using the Money Bill route in Parliament , Arun Jaitley won a rare victory as Minister.In the last 20 months, Jaitley has come in for a lot of  criticism as Finance Minister  rightly or wrongly. Nothing seems to be moving and prices of food articles remained high. Taxes are high and remain high.The GST BILL has run into political  opposition.The Modi Govt has treated the GST bill as if it is a panacea for all ills.
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The AADHAR  Bill has a lot  of emotional and political  significance. If it could be passed, then Govt can roll out subsidies and other schemes through it and gain some traction. But here again,the Congress Party would oppose it to deny government some gains. So Jaitley boldly used the Money Bill route and got the Bill asses by Lok Sabha on March 11, 2016.
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If a bill is termed as a Money Bill and the Lok Sabha Speaker certifies  it as such, then the Rajya Sabha cannot stop its enactment.The Lok Sabah Saker termed the AADHAR bill as a money bill and the bill sailed through on March 16,2016. Thus Jaitley by use of boldness and dexterity managed to get a significant legislation passed.
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Definitely, the AADHAR Bill will allow the government to use  some bold means of distributing. money. The Govt of India in 2010 devised that an all India Identification card was needed. Most countries have a National ID .Such National IDs  fulfill the need of a security-cleared ID. Such a Card serves  to answer queries of law enforcement agencies on the status of an individual. National IDs  are given after a security  scrutiny is done.The AADHAR  Card is merely  an identification card, with no inquiry done by security and police agencies on the  antecedents or other related issues.
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It was only on March 16th, 2016 that Indian Parliament gave legal status  to the AADHAR  card. Government proposes to use  this card to regulate and administer the entire range of welfare schemes. Government feels that leakages  will be curbed when money is directly transferred  to bank accounts of the targeted recipients.
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The Indian Lok Sabha (Parliament) passed the AADHAR law on 11th March ,2016.
There are a few important  aspects which raised a debate and worries.
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A.  Clause  7 of the Act relates to whether  the AADHAR Card is compulsory to receive the government  benefits..This Clause says that is it not necessary to receive benefits  and other IDs will suffice. This takes away a major worry and also answers issues raised in the Supreme  Court.
B.  Chapter 7, Clauses 34, 35, 36 etc deal with security lapses and leakages of information   Of card holders..The Act is fairly clear that it is a serious offense if any personal  data were to be leaked by anybody in a position  to do so. There are worries on such leakages and time will have to tell how the government  secures the data.
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From 2010 to 2014, thousands of crores were spent by  government in making this ID. To a great extent ,adequate uses for the card were not there.Now to remains for the government  to properly use this vast possibility. Nearly  a billion card users will be enumerated in short while.It remains to be seen how  government will use this  great resource of knowledge.
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Milton Friedman,the great economist ,mooted the idea of Direct Benefits Transfer. Government of India wants to use the AADHAR Card  to effect this concept.If it succeeds,it will be a boon to the country. Arun Jaitley seems to have retrieved his lost political  ground in the BJP.
Perhaps the Congress should have agreed to give the AADHAR Bill safe passage in the Rajya Sabha. Sometimes a political opposition should come forward and make concessions so that the other side does not become victorious .

 

 

Dr P Pulla Rao is a Socio-political and Economic analyst

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