The government on Monday extended a legal backing to Aadhaar ensuring that the benefits and subsidies assigned under various social welfare schemes reach people eligible for them. The notification authorises the government to use the 12-digit unique identification number for accurately targeting beneficiaries of national schemes and disbursing subsidies, thereby curbing leakage and reducing duplication.
The issued notification includes all the provisions of the legislation, except the one dealing with salaries of employees of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UDI).
The government got the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill passed in March, after introducing it as a money bill. The Act provided for statutory backing to the UIDAI by providing for the establishment of the Unique Identification Authority of India.
An interim order of the Supreme Court currently limits the use to the transfer of cooking gas subsidy, the public distribution system, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), all types of pension schemes, the employees provident fund and the Jan Dhan Yojana. Legal issues have also been raised regarding possible misuse of biometric details of the card holders.
“I think it is a good move if Aadhaar is being made compulsory, but people need to be assured about Aadhaar being an authentic form of identification, as biometrics can be misused,” the Livemint quoted S.L. Rao, the former director general of the National Council for Applied Economic Research, as saying.
The legal backing will override all concerns by eliminating outstanding issues regarding the use of Aadhaar pending in the Supreme Court, except the issue of privacy.
“The earlier challenge against mandatory use was against an executive notification that conceived Aadhaar. Now, the law takes care of all concerns surrounding potential misuse,” Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said.