In the assembly in Kolkata a bill opposing the central government’s decision of linking LPG subsidy with Aadhaar card has been passed for withdrawal its decision to link the cards with Direct Benefit Transfer scheme. The resolution, moved by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee presented the bill in the legislative assembly to which government and opposition replied in a single voice mentioned that only 15 per cent people of the state had got the Aadhar cards. According to the Economic Times, the resolution was supported by both the ruling party and the opposition in West Bengal (which is rather unusual because they’re bitter rivals). On the first day of the meeting of the winter session headed by chief minister Mamata Banerjee an decision of bringing a bill against central government’s decision was taken. Chatterjee said that proposal’s outline has been framed after considering subsidy to LPG consumers.
As the Trinamool Congress rightly points out, this appears to violate the Supreme Court verdict, which stated that Aadhaar is voluntary, and not necessary to avail essential government services. West Bengal government does not agree with the centre’s decision to make Aadhar card compulsory for receiving LPG subsidy. Supreme Court also has suggestion on Aadhar card. The Indian government had tried to make Aadhaar mandatory, by linking essential services with it, and allowing government departments to make it mandatory for particular schemes. However, The Supreme Court of India passed an interim order that Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory for government services. The Centre, UIDAI and three oil PSUs — IOCL, BPCL and HPCL — had later on moved the Supreme Court seeking modification of its earlier order. The Supreme Court has now sought responses of all states in two weeks on the constitutional validity of the nationwide scheme being implemented by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).
Proposal’s outline was framed after considering common people’s facility and SC’s order. Amendments suggested by opposition parties have also been included in the bill. According to proposal only 15% people in the state have got Aadhar card and in this case 85% people will not get nine subsidized cylinders in a year. Benefits of 25-26 schemes of seven ministries under central government has confirmed through Aadhar card while number of Aadhar card holders in the state is not even 10%. Opposition leader Suryakant Mishra said in a press conference that said that Left has been opposing this since the very beginning. We people asked for modification in the proposal in parliament which has been accepted by the government which is a good thing.
A move by the Reserve Bank of India to enforce the inclusion of biometric sensors in all new credit card swiping machines to enable use of Aadhaar-based biometric authentication while making card-based payments has also been questioned by MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar. The Central government had been criticised by a parliamentary standing committee, but recently responded, given that the The National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2010 bill is going to put to vote in Parliament shortly. In our opinion, the response does not address many key issues.
Three lakh consumers still to link Aadhar Card in Bhopal
Till now only 2.5 lakh consumers have linked their Aadhar card with bank account while the doubt is that whether 3 lakh consumers will be linked in the remaining days. The deadline date for giving LPG subsidy by linking it to Aadhar card in Bhopal district set by the Petroleum Ministry as 31st December has been already past. As there are about 5.27 lakh LPG consumers serviced by three oil companies this work has gained pace in the last two months but people should complete it as early as possible. LPG customers in the 3 districts of Kolkata, Howrah and Coochbehar would need an Aadhar card to avail their LPG subsidy. Further, by Feb 1, 2014 customers without Aadhar numbers would need to buy their LPG cylinders at the prevailing market rate (currently about Rupees 984 compared to Rupees 412.5 for subsidized cylinders). The UIDAI is unable to guarantee that all the people of these 3 districts will receive their cards by February 1, 2014. Majority of people are also in confusion over subsidy issue. Many consumers complain that less subsidy amount is reaching into their accounts while many complain that subsidy has not reached at all in their bank account. Supreme Court’s pending decision over the Aadhar card issue also creates confusion among people.