UID future bleak as House panel knocks down bill

UID future bleak as House panel knocks down bill

UID future bleak as House panel knocks down bill

Sources said the Standing Committee on Finance, while rejecting the bill, cited several reasons, including lack of privacy protection laws, security features, using private agencies to enroll citizens by UIDAI, the huge cost of the progrmme  and its  “unreliable” technology for grounding the project.

Finding several faults in the Bill in the current format, the committee, headed by BJP leader and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, has made several recommendations and returned it to Parliament.

This means the government is left with two options: to reject the recommendations and to accept it and redraft the bill. Redrafting would virtually mean the government bringing a fresh bill to Parliament and then sending it to the standing committee for scrutiny. This, in effect, will take another six months to one year before the bill is passed in both Houses of Parliament. Till the new bill is passed the government has to stop funding to the UIDAI which may lead to stopping of the on going enrollment and issuing of Aadhar numbers.

The passing of the bill, which was tabled in the Upper House in December last year, was an imperative for the UIDAI to sustain as a legal framework was necessary for the project. The team led by Nilekani has been awaiting passage of the bill in Parliament so that the entire exercise could be implemented with the support of an enabling law.

Besides, the UIDAI was also planning to set up a separate authority to expand its activities and it wanted constant flow of funds from the government for its smooth functioning.

With the standing committee rejecting the bill, the future of the UIDAI project, which already issued 5.75 million Aadhaar numbers so far and spent more than Rs 556 crore, could go into cold storage.

The committee is learnt to have questioned the need for a UIDAI since the government is also set to rollout the National Population Register (NPR) by the Registrar General of India under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs by capturing biometric features of citizens.

Earlier, Home Minister P Chidambaram had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh questioning the method adopted by the UIDAI to issue Aadhar numbers.