Indian President Ram Nath Kovind has given his assent to an ordinance that allows voluntary use of Aadhaar as ID proof for obtaining mobile SIM cards and opening bank accounts.
The ordinance was necessitated because the Rajya Sabha could not approve the Aadhaar and other laws (Amendment Bill) 2018, as it was adjourned sine die on February 13, 2019. As a result, many significant bills such as the Aadhaar Bill, Triple Talaq Bill and Citizenship Amendment Bill had lapsed. The Lok Sabha had passed the Aadhaar Amendment Bill on January 4, 2019.
• The Union Cabinet had approved the promulgation of an ordinance to give effect to changes proposed in Aadhaar and two others legislations last week.
• The amendments provide for stiff penalties for violation of norms set for the use of Aadhaar and violation of privacy.
• The ordinance gives effect to the changes in the Aadhaar Act such as giving a minor an option to exit from the biometric ID programme on attaining 18 years of age.
• The amendments also make it clear that anyone not offering Aadhaar cannot be denied any service, be it opening of a bank account or obtaining a mobile phone SIM card.
• The amendments will enable UIDAI to have a more robust mechanism to serve the public interest and restrain the misuse of Aadhaar.
• The President also gave his assent to the draft Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019.
• The ordinance seeks to extend the period for reconstitution of the central council from existing period of one year to two years so that the tenure of the board of governors may be extended for a further period of one year with effect from May 17, 2019.
• The President also gave his assent to an ordinance for an amendment to the special economic zones act, 2005.
• The present provision of the SEZs Act, 2005 does not permit trusts to set up units in special economic zones.
• The amendment will enable a trust to be considered for grant of permission to set up a unit in special economic zones. This will facilitate investments in special economic zones.