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Parliament passes Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill

The Lok Sabha had already passed the bill. The bill seeks to amend Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 and to further amend the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

The bill also proposes giving a child an option to exit from the biometric ID programme on attaining 18 years of age. This bill will make the use of Aadhaar for opening bank accounts and procuring mobile phone connections voluntary.

Replying to a debate on the bill, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government will soon bring a Data Protection Bill in Parliament.

The Minister said, the entire world is looking towards India with regard to Data Protection Law and a comprehensive law will be framed in this regard.

The Minister defended the move to give legal backing to Aadhaar saying UPA’s Aadhaar had no legal backing. The Law Minister listed out the benefit of Aadhaar with regard to Direct Benefit Direct scheme and other welfare schemes.

The Law Minister said that amendments to Aadhaar and other laws were necessitated after the Supreme Court’s ruling on privacy.

Earlier, initiating the discussion, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi opposed the bill saying Aadhaar is meant only for service and subsidy and not for any other purpose.

The Union Minister questioned the government for not bringing Data Protection Law.

Binoy Viswam of CPI also opposed the bill. Participating in the debate, Rajeev Chandrasekhar and Shiv Pratap Shukla of BJP supported the bill. Other members including Sanjay Singh of AAP, Sukhendu Shekhar Roy of TMC and Ravi Prakash Verma of SP also participated in the debate.

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