Rajya Sabha returned Aadhaar bill to the lower house with four amendments on Wednesday.
Debate on the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016 saw a heated debate between government and opposition parties, as later questioned the decision to convert it into a money bill.
Amendments passed included one on enrollment under Aadhaar (clause 3), mandatory use of Aadhaar for government services and subsidies (clause 7), disclosing information in the interest of national security (clause 33) and allowing private persons to use Aadhaar (clause 57).
Members, while pressing for amendments, suggested that Aadhaar be made voluntary, disclosure of information should be permitted in t interest of public safety or public emergency, instead of national security, and the clause allowing private persons to use Aadhaar be deleted.
Speaking in the House, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, who had moved all the four amendments that were passed, said,:"I don't have an Aadhaar number and I don't need one, because I am not a beneficiary of subsidy, but tomorrow if I want a mobile connection, the guys say 'Where is your Aadhaar number! You made it mandatory no!"
However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, held that Aadhaar was not mandatory.
"Alternative documents will be prescribed where people don’t have it. The user would be predominantly through the state government," he said.
"Tomorrow if Tamil Nadu government decides that people below a certain income would get some benefits then it is mandatory if you want benefits," he said, giving an example.
He earlier assured the House that there are provisions for ensuring privacy, while stressing the Lok Sabha speaker's decision to classify it as a money bill cannot be questioned.
Jaitley also emphasised that under the bill, personal information of a person would be shared only on the basis of his consent, and the "core biometric data" will not be shared even if there is consent.
On it being made a money bill, he said: "Article 110 decides what a money bill is. If money flows into consolidated fund of India and money flows out of consolidated fund of India, and a law yields with that matter it becomes a money bill."
"Article 110(3) says clearly it is satisfaction of speaker of Lok Sabha that is final... Once the speaker satisfies herself and says I certify it is a money bill, it will be a money bill and no authority in the country can question that provision," he added.
Bill was brought in Lok Sabha as a money bill, which restricts Upper House's role as its members cannot modify the bill, but only endorse amendments, which will go back to the Lok Sabha and the lower house can choose to pass or reject them.