Addressing the Lok Sabha in reply to the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today attacked the opposition Indian National Congress party over the questions it has raised on the implementation of Aadhaar.
“I remember clearly, when we won elections, you (the Congress) said Modi will finish Aadhaar because it is our scheme… (But) When Modi furthered it more scientifically and found new ways to implement it, now after it has been implemented and started benefiting the poor, you question its implementation,” the Prime Minister said while addressing the Lok Sabha in the Budget session. His speech lasted nearly an hour.
The ruling party BJP and Congress have been at loggerheads over the implementation of the citizen identity project Aadhaar, which holds people’s biometric information including their fingerprints and iris scans.
Initially envisaged by the Congress alliance, when it was in power, as means to provide a subsidy to the poor and prevent benefit leakage, Aadhaar has since become a sort of default identity with the BJP government linking it to everything from PAN cards to mobile SIM cards and bank accounts.
The Prime Minister said on Wednesday that 115 crore Aadhaar numbers have been assigned so far, and 400 schemes of the Central government are enabling money transfer to the poor directly through the direct benefit transfer scheme.
The opposition has argued that Aadhaar was only meant to provide benefits to the poor and plug system leakages, but the indiscriminate linking of Aadhaar with all existing ID systems could enable mass surveillance.
“Today because of Aadhaar DBT… middlemen have lost jobs, so have dishonest people,” PM Modi said.
“When the corrupt and middlemen are out of work, obviously the Congress will be unhappy,” he also tweeted from his official Twitter account.
Modi took on the Congress on a host of issues during his speech, including the Partition, job creation, electricity supply for all, elimination of corruption and black money and several others.