Punching holes in the Aadhaar scheme, the Opposition on Monday said in the Rajya Sabha that it was based on unverified data, and violated the Supreme Court order that it should not be made mandatory for schemes which are not linked to subsidies.
Just before a short duration debate on Aadhaar started in the Upper House, IT and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government saved about Rs 50,000 crore LPG subsidy due to the linking of Aadhaar card with Jhan Dhan accounts.
The World Bank and a UN body have clearly stated that the extraordinary technological innovation of India needs to be followed by the world. Surely they (UPA government) started it, but after improvements, it is showing results, and the benefits have to be considered objectively.
If there is an unauthorised use of Aadhaar card details, the law provides for prosecution and punishment for up to three years, he added.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh attacked the government for violating Supreme Court orders, which clearly outlined where to use Aadhaar. Making it mandatory beyond subsidies is in gross violation of the SC orders, he said.
Elaborating on implementation issues, Ramesh said the government claims to have saved Rs 49,000 crore LPG subsidies by linking it with Aadhaar, but a CAG report has debunked this in a recent report.
The CAG has found that 92 percent of the savings in LPG subsidy was due to fall in global crude oil prices, and not due to Aadhaar seeding, he said, adding that similar was the case with food subsidy, old-age pension and MNREGA.
In case of MNREGA, officials are so much under pressure to achieve 100 percent Aadhaar seeding that workers are denied of wages, he added.
Derek O Brien (AITC) criticised the government for using Aadhaar for various schemes like MGNREGA and mid-day meal schemes. He said that in case of stone workers and other labourers, the biometrics often do not match, and the people were being harassed unduly, especially for the mid-day meal scheme.
(With inputs from PTI.)
Join The Quint on WhatsApp. Type “JOIN” and send to 9910181818.