Rs 3,500 crore spent on Aadhar to go waste? Fate of UID hangs in SC balance
New Delhi: After facing humiliating defeats in the recently-concluded assembly elections followed by a chain of controversies resulting from ‘controversial’ statements by Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) looks all troublesome ahead of the General Elections 2014 due by May this year.
In their bid to restore some confidence, the UPA hopes the Supreme Court would provide some relief on Aadhar scheme.
The Government of India’s flagship multi-crore investment scheme called Aadhar, claimed to be essential for “good governance, transparent implementation of government programmes” had gone on tenterhooks after the Supreme Court had ruled that Aadhaar card was not mandatory for all citizens in order to avail government programmes.
Stating that an amount of Rs 3,494 crore has already been spent to enrol 53 crore Indians by the Unique Identification Authority of India, the Government on Wednesday pleaded with the court that Aadhar was essential for “good governance, transparent implementation of government programmes” and to ensure that benefits reach only those who qualify to get them.
Retired Karnataka High Court judge K. Puttaswamy and social activist Aruna Roy had filed PIL challenging Centre’s move to make Aadhar mandatory for every citizen to avail government schemes including PDS, MNREGA, pensions, scholarships, Janani Suraksha Yojana and LPG connections meant for economically weaker sections.
They also argued that the whole process of extracting information violated and transgressed individual rights of citizens including privacy.
The UIDAI filed its plea in the apex court on Wednesday urging withdrawal of its September 23, 2013 ruling that the card cannot be made mandatory to enjoy government schemes and subsidies. It said the court was being misled by PIL petitioners who seemed to have played into the hands of “unscrupulous elements” who stand to be identified and eliminated from the list of beneficiaries and who wanted the scheme to go.
Citing an instance, the UIDAI claimed that PSU oil companies detected around 45,000 duplicate connections on the basis of the Aadhaar numbers and once these connections are blocked, it would save the exchequer around Rs 23 crores annually, reported Mail Today.
It also said the court’s September 2013 order had “very serious implication” on the implementation of various welfare schemes. It insisted that the card should be made a must for subsidies.
“Unfounded allegations of petitioners cannot be reason to put a question mark against the implementation of a well thought out scheme of the Government of India which is clearly in public interest. If anything, by doing so, the petitioners are playing in the hands of unscrupulous elements that stand to be identified and eliminated from list of beneficiaries of government programmes to which they have no rightful claim,” UIDAI told the court.
Whether or not the Supreme Court would provide relief to UADAI is matter of time, but an apex court order making its previous order void would be of immense help for UPA.
The UPA hopes the Supreme Court would provide some relief on Aadhar scheme.