Jaitley said Aadhaar had helped the government to save over `90,000 crores every year with the targeted delivery of government services.
New Delhi: Finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Wednesday that the Supreme Court ruling on Aadhaar was “historic” as the concept of an unique identity number was accepted. He said Aadhaar had helped the government to save over Rs 90,000 crores every year with the targeted delivery of government services.
The finance minister said while he had not read the full judgment, his understanding was that the Supreme Court had barred the use of Aadhaar by private entities like mobile phone firms in the absence of legislative backing for that.
On the need for Aadhaar’s linking with bank accounts and mobile phone connections after the court order, Mr Jaitley said the question was being asked without a full reading the judgment. “So let us first read the judgment. There are 2-3 prohibited areas. Are they because they are totally prohibited, or are they because they need legal backing. So my answer in general, the generic answer will depend on what is the rationale, for instance, on these private entities, it needs to be backed by law. That’s my understanding. I still have a detailed reading of the judgment to do.” He added: “Therefore, the prohibited areas ... do not assume ... are perpetually prohibited, they could be procedurally prohibited or they could be prohibited as such,” he said.
The minister said the whole concept of unique identity number that had been accepted after judicial review is an extremely welcome decision. He said the court had also upheld the Aadhaar legislation, that mandated assigning an unique identification number of Indian citizens, was a money bill. “You cannot defy technology. You cannot ignore it,” he added.
Asserting that the Supreme Court’s Aadhaar ruling was a “victory of good governance, empowerment of ordinary people and efficient delivery of public services to the people of India”, the BJP claimed while under the UPA Aadhaar was “Niradhar” and had no purpose, the Narendra Modi government gave it “strong legal backing and integrated it in service delivery”. The BJp said the court’s decision was a “strong validation of Aadhaar as an instrument of service delivery” and gives a further impetus to empowering the poor by ensuring that they get their rights.
“Aadhaar under UPA government was Niradhar and had no purpose. The UPA spent thousands of crores to enrol people without any law or scrutiny. The Modi government gave it a strong legal backing and integrated it in service delivery. This ensured a saving of `90,000 crores and benefited the poor... The Congress, being the fountainhead of middlemen and corruption, tried every trick to fight and defeat Aadhaar, politically and legally.
They tried to mislead the people on various grounds, including scare-mongering on privacy. Today they stand exposed and defeated,” said BJP president Amit Shah.