Storm Gathers In Rajya Sabha For Government's Aadhar Bill

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Storm Gathers In Rajya Sabha For Government's Aadhar Bill

With decisive numbers in the Lok Sabha, the government has managed to table the Aadhar Bill as a money Bill in the lower house.


New Delhi:  The Narendra Modi government's move to take up the Aadhar bill as a money bill in the Rajya Sabha, or the upper house of Parliament, has run into the Opposition wall. The opposition claims it is a move that'll slowly make the Rajya Sabha -- where the government is in minority - redundant in the days to come.

With decisive numbers in the Lok Sabha, the government has managed to table the Aadhar Bill as a money Bill in the lower house. But in the upper house, the opposition has flatly refused to take up Aadhar as money bill.

Only Lok Sabha has the right to amend a money bill. It only gets debated in Rajya Sabha. Moreover, it needs to get discussed instantly. If a money bill is not discussed within 14 days of being tabled in Rajya Sabha, it is "deemed passed".

The opposition is wary as the first part of the budget session is ending on March 16. If the Lok Sabha passes the bill on Monday and the government places it in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, there will barely be time to discuss it.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad has written to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, raising apprehensions that the government, which does not enjoy majority in the Rajya Sabha, is trying to avoid scrutiny of bills by the Opposition.

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

"The attempt is to fiddle with the constitutional structure that has stood the test of time," senior CPM leader Sitaram Yechuri.

The Opposition is questioning the parliamentary clause which the government is citing to put the bill under the money bill category. It is also citing privacy issues of citizens.

"The Constitution says money bills should have certain features. For one, it involves levying of tax or expenditure through the Consolidated Fund of India," said Mr Azad.

Explaining the move, a senior minister said the bill will enable the government to mandate the use of Aadhar as a single window to distribute subsidy and other direct benefit transfers.


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