Unique ID, now legally yours

The Modi government is set to accord statutory status to the Aadhaar scheme by way of a new legislation to be introduced during the ongoing Budget session of Parliament. The move, announced by finance minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget speech on Monday , points at the Centre’s commitment to use unique identification numbers to directly extend welfare scheme benefits to the needy .

The progress in Aadhaar enrolments -over 98 crore citizens are already registered under the scheme -and its potential to check leakages in Centre’s welfare schemes that amount to nearly Rs 3.5 lakh crore has nudged the government to think of a fresh legislation. This is also expected to pave the way for its envisaged role as part of the JandhanAadhar-Mobile (JAM) trinity .The “transformative piece of legislation“ will provide a legal foundation to expand the use of UID numbers for a range of developmental purposes at a time when the project is under the Supreme Court’s lens.

“We will undertake significant reforms, including enactment of a law to ensure all government benefits are conferred to people who deserve it by giving a statutory backing to the Aadhaar platform,“ Jaitley said. Aadhaar is visualised as a reliable and efficient means to verify the identity of beneficiaries. It can decrease the administrative costs of banks and government agencies and, as part of JAM, link individuals to benefits while doing away with intermediaries.Unique ID

“We will introduce a bill for targeted delivery of financial and other subsidiary benefits services by using the Aadhaar framework. The bill will be introduced in the current budget session of Parliament,“ the finance minister said.