Millennium Post

Aadhaar schemes help govt save `90k cr a year: FM

New Delhi: Hailing the Supreme Court's Aadhaar verdict as "historic", Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Wednesday the opposition Congress has cut "a very sorry figure" after the apex court upheld the core of national biometric ID programme, which has helped save Rs 90,000 crore every year by plugging leakages in welfare schemes.

Stating that he has not read the full judgement, Jaitley said his understanding of the verdict is that the Supreme Court has barred usage of 12-digit unique identification number by private entities like mobile phone firms in absence of a legislative backing for that.

"Section 57 (of the Aadhaar Act that has been struck down by the Supreme Court) says that there can be special enabling power to allow other entities or body corporate (to use Aadhaar). I can give you my information (about the judgement). That is not permissible unless it is backed up by law. That seems to be the spirit of the judgement," he said.

The Supreme Court while upholding the Constitutional validity of Aadhaar had struck down some of its provisions including its linking with bank accounts and mobile phones.

His colleague and Law & IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the court has held that the purpose of issuing Aadhaar to all Indian citizens is legitimate and no surveillance is possible.

"It is a historic judgement and the whole concept of unique identity number that has been accepted after judicial review is an extremely welcome decision," Jaitley told a news conference here.

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