Aadhaar verdict historic, says Arun Jaitley

Savings from excluding fake beneficiaries ensures needs of poor better met: FM

September 26, 2018 09:39 pm | Updated 09:39 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Arun Jaitley at a media briefing on Wednesday.

Arun Jaitley at a media briefing on Wednesday.

The government on Wednesday welcomed the verdict on Aadhaar, with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad terming it a ‘historic judgement’ that would bolster good governance, and the delivery of services to the poorer sections of society.

“The Supreme Court decision is a historic one,” Mr. Jaitley said at a press conference. “The fact that the concept and legislation of a unique identity number has been accepted after a judicial review is extremely welcome.

“There are 122 crore people who have Aadhaar,” Mr. Jaitley said. “Our estimation is that by identifying beneficiaries of government schemes and ensuring there are no fake and duplicate beneficiaries we are saving about ₹90,000 crore a year.”

This ₹90,000 crore, he said, had given the Centre and the State governments the ability to better address the needs of the underprivileged sections of society.

“It was a 4:1 judgement upholding Aadhaar,” Mr. Prasad said. “This is very important, that four of the judges upheld Aadhaar. The judgement empowers democracy, good governance, and the delivery of services to the ordinary citizens.”

Mr. Jaitley also took a swipe at the Congress party’s stand on Aadhaar.

“Obviously, the Congress party cuts a very sorry figure,” Mr. Jaitley said. “They introduced the idea and then didn’t know what to do with it. Their legislation said ‘here is Aadhaar and here is how you can get it’, but it had no mention of where all it was to be used. Now, nobody wants an ID that has no use.

‘Pith and substance’

“We replaced the pith and substance of the law brought by them,” he added. “This was that, if the government is spending so much on the delivery of services, then if you want those services then you will need some sort of ID, for which you will need Aadhaar. That was the reason for the money bill.”

On whether Aadhaar may be linked to bank accounts, SIMs in future, Mr. Prasad said the Centre would take a “comprehensive view” after reviewing the judgement.

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