Title

× Close
Identity Project

Contentious Aadhaar Bill passed with only 73 of 545 members present in Lok Sabha

Ruling party overrules privacy concerns and adopts an unusual strategy to pass the legislation.

Only 73 of the Lok Sabha's 545 members were present as the lower house passed the controversial Aadhaar (Target Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill on Friday.

With the passage of the bill, the government or any "requesting entity", including a private company, could ask an individual to produce the biometrics-ID Aadhaar card to avail any subsidy, benefit, or service. Critics have expressed concerns over citizens' biometric data ‒ such as fingerprints and iris scans ‒ being collected on a mass scale in the absence of a privacy law.

The listing of the Bill on Friday was unusual because, ordinarily, private members' business (bills and resolutions) are taken up before the weekend. The House was relatively empty because several members had already left for their constituencies.

The process was also noteworthy because this was moved as a money Bill, which does not have to be approved by the Rajya Sabha. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance lacks a majority in the upper house.

As critics pointed out, money Bills relate broadly to taxes or spending from the Treasury. But the government argued that the Aadhaar Bill qualified as one because it deals with expenditure incurred from the government Treasury. Legal experts pointed out that by this token, most Bills on health, education, railways, transport, agriculture could qualify as money Bills. This strategy, they said, would reduce the Rajya Sabha simply to a rubber stamp on any legislation.

Some clarifications

On Friday, the Bill was discussed only three hours.

As the BJP moved the legislation, several members, including those from the Congress, the Biju Janata Dal, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, objected to the decision to classify this as a money Bill and suggested that it be sent to a standing committee.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley clarified some clauses of the Bill. He claimed that biometric data would not be shared under any circumstances. But the Bill actually allows for this data to shared with a joint secretary of the government in the interests of "national security".

BJD MP Tathagath Satpathy had moved several amendments, including on clause 33(1) which permits disclosure of an individual's data on an order by a district judge. Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy had also moved amendments but was not present in the parliament. However, ruling party MPs opposed all amendments by voice vote.

Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge had earlier stated that the Congress would cooperate with the government on Aadhaar, but objected to the Bill being introduced as a money Bill.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BULLETIN BY 

Making transportation more sustainable even with fuel-based automobiles

These innovations can reduce the pollution caused by vehicles.

According to the WHO’s Ambient Air Pollution Database released in 2016, ten of the twenty most polluted cities in the world are in India, with Gwalior and Ahmedabad occupying the second and third positions. Pollution levels are usually expressed in the levels of particulate matter (PM) in the air. This refers to microscopic matter that is a mixture of smoke, metals, chemicals and dust suspended in the atmosphere that can affect human health. Particulate matter is easily inhaled, and can cause allergies and diseases such as asthma, lung cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Indian cities have some of the highest levels of PM10 (particles smaller than 10 micrometres in diameter) and PM2.5 particles (particles smaller than 2.5 micrometres in diameter). The finer the particulate matter, the deeper into your lungs it can penetrate causing more adverse effects. According to WHO, the safe limits for PM2.5 is 10 micrograms per cubic meter.

Emissions resulting from transportation is regarded as one of the major contributors to pollution levels, especially particulate matter. A study conducted by the Centre for Ecological Sciences of the Indian Institute of Science estimated that the transport sector constitutes 32% of Delhi’s emissions. It makes up 43% of Chennai’s emissions, and around 17% of Mumbai’s emissions.

Controlling emissions is a major task for cities and auto companies. The Indian government, to this end, has set emission standards for automobiles called the Bharat Stage emission standard, which mirrors European standards. This emission standard was first instituted in 1991 and has been regularly updated to follow European developments with a time lag of about 5 years. Bharat Stage IV emission norms have been the standard in 2010 in 13 major cities. To tackle air pollution that has intensified since then, the Indian government announced that Bharat Stage V norms would be skipped completely, and Stage VI norms would be adopted directly in 2020.

But sustainability in transport requires not only finding techniques to reduce the emissions from public and private transport but also developing components that are environment friendly. Car and auto component manufacturers have begun optimising products to be gentler on the environment and require lesser resources to manufacture, operate and maintain.

There are two important aspects of reducing emissions. The first is designing vehicles to consume less fuel. The second is making the emissions cleaner by reducing the toxic elements.

In auto exteriors, the focus is on developing light-weight but strong composite materials to replace metal. A McKinsey study estimates that plastic and carbon fibre can reduce weight by about 20% and 50% respectively. A lighter body reduces the engine effort and results in better fuel economy. Additionally, fuel efficiency can be increased by reducing the need for air conditioning which puts additional load on the vehicle engine thereby increasing fuel consumption. Automotive coatings (paints) and sheets provide better insulation, keep the vehicle cool and reduce the use of air conditioning.

Most emissions are the result of inefficient engines. Perhaps the most significant innovations in making automobiles and mass transport systems more eco-friendly are being done in the engine. Innovations include products like fuel additives, which improve engine performance, resist corrosion and reduce fuel consumption while offering a great driving experience, and catalytic converters that reduce toxic emissions by converting them to less harmful output such as carbon dioxide, Nitrogen and water. Some of these catalytic converters are now capable of eliminating over 90 percent of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides.

All of these are significant measures to bring the negative impacts of vehicular pollution under control. With over 2 million vehicles being produced in India in 2015 alone and the moving to BS VI emission standards, constant innovation is imperative.

Beyond this, in commercial as well as passenger vehicles, companies are innovating with components and processes to enable higher resource efficiency. Long-lasting paint coatings, made of eco-friendly materials that need to be refreshed less often are being developed. Companies are also innovating with an integrated coating process that enables carmakers to cut out an entire step of coating without compromising the colour result or the properties of the coating, saving time, materials and energy. Efforts are being made to make the interiors more sustainable. Parts like the instrument panel, dashboard, door side panels, seats, and locks can all be created with material like polyurethane plastic that is not only comfortable, durable and safe but also easily recyclable. Manufacturers are increasingly adopting polyurethane plastic like BASF’s Elastollan® for these very reasons.

From pioneering the development of catalytic converters in 1975 to innovating with integrated process technology for coatings, BASF has always been at the forefront of innovation when it comes to making transport solutions more sustainable. The company has already developed the technology to handle the move of emissions standards from BS IV to BS VI.

For the future, given the expected rise in the adoption of electric cars—an estimated 5~8 percent of car production is expected to be pure electric or plug-in electric vehicles by 2020—BASF is also developing materials that enable electric car batteries to last longer and achieve higher energy density, making electronic mobility more feasible. To learn more about how BASF is making transport more sustainable, see here.

Watch the video to see how automotive designers experimented with cutting edge materials from BASF to create an innovative concept car.

Play

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of BASF and not by the Scroll editorial team.

× Close