Despite the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance and other civil society groups coming out against the UID scheme, the government is yet to act on the opposition to the scheme from various quarters
Two days before the Union Budget, 2012-13, a truckload of signatures arrived in New Delhi. Collected by the Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI), these 3.57 crore signatures were in support of a campaign named “Say no to UID”. Yet, what can possibly be the biggest signature campaign largely went unreported.
On 14th March, a rally led by SUCI met prime minister Manmohan Singh. The truckload of signatures for the petition demanding the scrapping of UID and some other biometric data-collection schemes have been pictured. A delegation, headed by SUCI member Tarun Mandal, also met the prime minister to discuss their demands. Mr Mandal could not be contacted, as he is abroad. Though the SUCI rally was covered by some newspapers, they appeared oblivious to the presence of the truck that carried the 3.57 crore signatures.
The “Say no to UID” campaign is being supported by various civil society organisations and citizens groups. Gopal Krishna, spokesperson of Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL), New Delhi says, “The petition was submitted to the PM on 14th March. Independent organisations across India are supporting the move. We want the government to scrap the UID Aadhaar scheme immediately.”
A press release dated 16th March, sent out by the consortium of the civil society groups, cites the report on The National Identification Authority of India (NIDAI) Bill, 2010, by the Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on Finance, 2011-12. The PSC report, dated December 2011, had damned the UID scheme, and came down heavily on the Executive for infringing on legislative powers. The press release says, “The Union Budget allocation of Rs14,232 crore for Aadhar-UID demonstrates a contempt of Parliament as it seems to ignore the recommendations of the report of PSC on Finance on the NIDAI Bill, 2010.” The groups have also criticised the National Population Register (NPR), another project that requires biometric enrolments of all citizens.
The PSC report had stated, “Considering the contradictions and ambiguities within the government on its implementation as well as implications, the committee categorically convey their unacceptability of the National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2010, in its present form. The committee would, thus, urge the government to reconsider and review the UID scheme as also the proposals contained in the Bill in all its ramifications and bring forth a fresh legislation before Parliament.”
The PSC had said, “The collection of biometric information and its linkage with personal information without amendment to the Citizenship Act, 1955, as well as the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003, appears to be beyond the scope of subordinate legislation, which needs to be examined in detail by Parliament.”
Kamayani Bali Mahabal, eminent social activist and human rights lawyer, said that the increased allocation for UID amounts to a contempt of the Parliament. Col Mathew Thomas, a former defence services officer and missile scientist turned civic activist and Somasekhar VK, founder patron of Coordinated Action of Consumer & Voluntary Organizations of Karnataka have challenged the UID Aadhaar scheme in a representative suit in a civil court in Bangalore. Mr Somasekhar has extensively campaigned against this issue, and he says, “Most of the people after attending our programmes ask us about the procedure to withdraw from the Aadhar registration and many of them are writing to the respective agencies to withdraw and cancel their applications. This will further complicate the process and we have to see how they go about it.” Col Matthew says that mentioning the 3.57 crore signatures against UID will strengthen their case.
The National Food Security Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in December, and it is being vetted by the Parliamentary Standing Committee
New Delhi: The government today said it plans to implement the National Food Security Bill by the end of this year, reports PTI.
"We intend to implement the Food Security Bill by end of December 2012," Food Minister KV Thomas told reporters on sidelines of an event.
He said as per the projections of the Agriculture Ministry, the government has enough foodgrains to meet the requirements of Food Bill as well as exports till 2014.
The National Food Security Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in December, and it is being vetted by the Parliamentary Standing Committee.
The ambitious food security programme of the UPA government aims to provide legal entitlement over subsidised foodgrains to 63.5% of the country's population.
Once the new food laws are implemented, Thomas said, "The subsidy bill will go up to Rs1.12 lakh crore. The government has capacity to absorb additional subsidy of Rs3,000-Rs4,000 crore".
For the current fiscal, the food subsidy is estimated to be around Rs88,000 crore, which will go up to Rs1.09 lakh crore with revision in 2000 census and 1993-94 poverty line estimates, he said.
Foodgrain requirement under the Food Security Bill is estimated at 63 million tonne.
“We hope that this vehicle will be leader in its segment," GM India president and managing director Lowell Paddock.
General Motors on launched the Bharat Stage IV emission norms compliant variant of its multi utility vehicle (MUV) Tavera, priced between Rs7.51 lakh and Rs10.34 lakh (ex showroom Delhi).
"With the help of this new Tavera we'll be able to now sell the vehicle in 13 cities where BS-IV norms are applicable. We hope that this vehicle will be leader in its segment," GM India president and managing director Lowell Paddock told reporters.
The company will source 2 litre BS-IV diesel engine from the Sonalika Group. The company has not been selling the MUV in 13 cities in the country where BS-IV norms are applicable.
GM India vice president P Balendran said the company expects to sell 25 thousand units of Tavera in this year compared to about 21 thousand units in 2011.