Aadhaar forced on people: Opposition; walk out from Lok Sabha

New Delhi: An opposition member in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday accused the government of forcing Indians to get Aadhaar Cards, with Congress, Trinamool Congress and Biju Janata Dal members walking out before the Finance Bill was passed.

The opposition also objected to one of the amendments in the bill that makes Aadhaar Card mandatory for filing of income tax returns, but it was eventually passed.

As Finance Minister Arun Jaitley finished his reply to a debate on the Finance Bill, Biju Janata Dal leader Bhartruhari Mahtab said the government is forcing Indian citizens to get Aadhaar Cards by making it mandatory for filing of tax returns.

“You are forcing the citizens,” Mahtab said, to which Jaitley said: “Yes, we are.”

The minster, justifying the move, said people were using more than one PAN card to evade paying taxes.

Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Mohammad Salim wondered if an Aadhaar Card cannot be duplicated. “If duplicate PAN (Permanent Account Number) Card can be made, can’t a duplicate Aadhaar card be made,” Salim asked.

Soon after, Mahtab said his party was not satisfied with the Finance Minister’s reply, and the BJD staged a walkout.

Congress leader in the house, Mallikarjun Kharge, then urged the government to announce a loan waiver for farmers across the country.

“The Prime Minister, Finance Minister, and Agriculture Minister are all sitting here. As you promised in Uttar Pradesh, waive loans of farmers across the country,” Kharge said.

“Jaitley sahib has got so much money — as you yourself have said. You have got more than Rs two lakh crore; why don’t you make the announcement,” he said.

The treasury benches, however, remained quiet, and Speaker Sumitra Mahajan moved ahead with the process of bill passage, which agitated the opposition members.

The Congress and Trinamool Congress members then walked out, leaving most opposition benches empty as the Finance Bill was passed.