As Aadhaar Bill Is Passed In Lok Sabha, Opposition Alleges Dirty Trick

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presenting Aadhar Bill in Lok Sabha

New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Lok Sabha passes Aadhar Bill as a money bill, opposition protests
  2. Govt trying to make Rajya Sabha redundant as it's in minority: Opposition
  3. Money bill once passed in Lok Sabha can't be amended in Rajya Sabha
The Aadhaar Bill 2016 was passed as a money bill on Friday afternoon by the Lok Sabha, where the BJP-led government has a big majority. The opposition alleges a conspiracy to undermine the Rajya Sabha.

Once a Money Bill is passed by the Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha or Upper House can only discuss it and not make amendments. It also has to discuss the bill immediately as a money bill, if not discussed within 14 days of being tabled in the Rajya Sabha, is "deemed passed".

The opposition says the government is attempting to make "redundant" the Rajya Sabha, where it is in a minority and has found it difficult to push bills.

The Aadhaar bill 2016 seeks to give legal sanction to the unique identification number programme or Aadhaar as a single window to distribute subsidy and other direct benefit transfers.

"If the Congress party wants copyright on this bill am willing to give it to them. But do not delay the bill," said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley speaking on the Bill in the Lok Sabha.

Mr Jaitley explained why the government has sought to present the Bill as a Money Bill, saying it differs from the one brought by the Congress-led UPA as "the prinicipal purpose is spending the money" for beneficiaries and not as a mere identification document.

He said 97 per cent adults in the country were now covered by Aadhaar and promised that the government would not allow its misuse.

"Dont rush with this," said the Biju Janata Dal's Bhartruhari Mahtab, seeking that the Aadhaar bill be referred to a parliamentary panel.

The Congress, which says it backs the bill but not as a money bill, supported the BJD demand, with its Mallikarjun Kharge saying, "We are for this bill but we have suggestions."

Angry Opposition parties are discussing seeking the President's intervention.

"The Rajya Sabha will be severely impaired if the government decides to adopt the money bill route for the Aadhaar Bill," the Congress's Ghulam Nabi Azad told NDTV. "It will be the first step towards making the Rajya Sabha redundant in the days to come."

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