Govt faces opposition flak in RS over Aadhaar-linked sops
Rajya Sabha had to be adjourned thrice in the pre-lunch session on Thursday amid an uproar as the opposition targeted the government, alleging people were being denied essential benefits, including subsidised LPG and pensions, for not having Aadhaar card.
MPs from SP, TMC and BJD had given a notice for discussion on the issue and demanded it be taken up when the House assembled in the morning. They were supported by Left and Congress MPs who said the Centre was acting against the interests of the poor by making Aadhaar mandatory .
Opposition MPs continued to raise slogans in the well of the House even as the government assured instructions had already been given to ensure that Aadhaar was not made mandatory for availing benefits.
SP’s Ram Gopal Yadav said the Centre has told states to stop ration card benefits, pensions and subsidi sed LPG to those not having Aadhaar card. He said as many as 40% of the population still did not have Aadhaar card. Derek O’Brien of TMC said the BJP-led government talked of cooperative federalism but took decisions without discussing with states.
Urban development minister Venkaiah Naidu said the Act provided that government benefits could be availed through Aadhaar cards. “It (Aadhaar card) is not compulsory . If necessary, instructions will be issued,” he said.
Direct Benefit Transfer -the scheme of paying government benefits directly to users -was started by the previous UPA government, he said, adding that DBT was the need of the hour as it helped eliminate corruption, middlemen and leakages.
Naidu said Aadhaar would not be made mandatory till the entire population got the UID number.
Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan said people who have not got Aadhaar have been asked to get them in the next three months after which their LPG subsidy would be “parked” separately . “It is not being cut,” he said, adding that 85% of the population had got Aadhaar cards
anandabazar patrika epaper 29/07/2016 : http://www.anandabazar.com