The Parliament on Monday passed an amendment bill that allows the voluntary use of Aadhaar as proof of identity for users trying to open bank accounts or get mobile phone connections. The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019, was passed by Rajya Sabha by a voice vote.
“The Opposition got the Aadhaar and now they are opposing it,” Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in the Rajya Sabha. “The first thing we did was give it a legal framework.” Prasad also stressed on the 256-bit encryption of the Aadhaar that purportedly ensures it safety.
The law minister said that only the name, gender and address of the citizen will be visible on the card, and that core biometrics are never shared. Prasad said that the Parliament had the power to undo a Supreme Court judgement, but this time round, the government had followed it.
Prasad also brought up how 2.98 crore fraudulent ration cards had been eliminated, which he claimed was beneficial to the poor. He added that circulars had been sent to the respective authorities to not withhold ration even if someone does not have the Aadhaar card.
“We are not touching the architecture of Aadhaar,” the law minister said. “We are only amending the Telegraph Act and Money Laundering Act.” He added that the unique identification system will be governed by laws, adding that a comprehensive data protection law will be introduced that will focus on protecting data and sovereignty will be kept intact.