The Govt on Thursday committed to issue necessary instructions and clarification “at the earliest” not to insist on the Aadhaar card for extending benefit of various government schemes and facilities under the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) of money into the beneficiary’s bank account.
The assurance came from Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation Minister M Venkaiah Naidu in response to the Opposition uniting in the Rajya Sabha to protest at the recent Central orders to stop the central benefits to all those not yet having the Aadhaar number. He even sought to refer to a chapter in the Aadhaar Act that says the Aadhaar is not compulsory to access the government benefits.
Members of Trinamool Congress, Janata Dal (U), Samajwadi Party, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) as also Congress raised the issue soon after the House met, the lead taken by Samajwadi Party leader Ramgopal Yadav, protesting at the Centre’s directive to the states to give subsidy only to those having Aadhaar card. He asserted that 40% people still do not have the Aadhaar card.
The opposition members also referred to a clearcut directive of the SC on October 15, that Aadhaar will be voluntary and not compulsory for extending the government benefits. Venkaiah Naidu insisted that Aadhaar card is “not compulsory” and “we cannot make it compulsory till every one gets it.” The Opposition, however, continued protest at Aadhaar made compulsory with slogans from the well like “garibon ki roti mat chhino” resulting in the washout of the entire forenoon session. The issue was also raised in the LS by Trinamool’s Kalyan Banerjee during the zero hour, but it was talked out as the Speaker called others for their respective mentions.