Rajya Sabha approves Bill for supersession of Medical Council of India; Lok Sabha passes Aadhaar Amendment Bill

The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed The Aadhaar And Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019, while the Rajya Sabha passed the  (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

Earlier, moving The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019 for consideration and passage in the House, Communications, Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government has saved Rs 7.48 lakh crore in the past five years using direct benefit transfer. "We have saved money siphoned off by middleman. Aadhaar has proved its usefulness," he said.

The Bill provides for voluntary use of Aadhaar number in physical or electronic form by authentication or offline verification with the consent of the individual. It seeks to replace an ordinance promulgated in March and amend the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 and further to amend the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

Prasad said that the amendments to the Aadhaar Act will give an option to children to cancel their Aadhaar number on attaining the age of eighteen years. He said the Bill provides for voluntary use of Aadhaar, which means consent is necessary.

 Rajya Sabha approves Bill for supersession of Medical Council of India; Lok Sabha passes Aadhaar Amendment Bill

Union ministers Harsh Vardhan and Ravi Shankar Prasad in Parliament on Thursday. PTI

Noting that the BJP-led government had given Aadhaar a statutory basis, he said it has been developed by the scientists of country, is low cost, safe and secure.

Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said Aadhaar was a brainchild of Congress-led UPA government and the accused the government of frequently resorting to ordinances.

"The government should first bring data protection Bill," he said, adding that it was not giving due importance to privacy.

Congress MP Manish Tewari demanded that the 'right to be forgotten' be included in the Bill. "The germane question that arises is that if the right to cancel Aadhaar once a child attains 18 years exists, why does it not exist for the adult? The right to be forgotten must also form a part of the Aadhaar Bill, provided it does not have grave ramifications upon national security," he said.

Backing the new Aadhaar Amendment Bill, Shiv Sena MP Shrikant Eknath Shinde said the Bill frees the individual of any compulsion to furnish Aadhaar to any company. He urged the Centre to look into issue of data misuse, adding that mobile companies should be made to delete previously-procured information.

AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi lashed out at the Centre and called the Bill "a classic example of halala", evoking laughter in the Lok Sabha. "The Supreme Court had ended marriage between state and private parties on use of Aadhaar, now this Bill is halala. Supreme Court called it a vice, but the government is making it a virtue," he said.

He further claimed the Bill also shows ill effects of electoral bonds. "I don't know why this government has so much love for private entities...Why are you demeaning this House by bringing this Bill," he asked.

Concluding his speech, he pointed at seven clauses in the Bill which were apparently in violation of the Supreme Court judgment on Aadhaar. "You are doing a crime over here," he said.

RLP leader Hanuman Beniwal claimed there was no scope for security breach under the Bill. He said that the direct dissemination of subsidies is made possible by Aadhaar and also mentioned the penalty of Rs 1 crore in case of violation, adding that Aadhaar will bring down corruption.

Ravi Shankar Prasad hit out at those referring to the Supreme Court judgment to oppose the Bill. He said, "Don't turn this House into a court. We are here to make laws and we also have the power to undo judgment. Please, I would urge, don't minimise your power. The people of the country have given you power to frame laws."

Backing Aadhaar, he said hoax registrations used to be made in villages before the Aadhaar card was introduced. "There are no medical records, health records or caste information on the Aadhaar card... None of the core biometric information is to be shared; it gets encrypted within the system. The amendment stipulates that the secretary be notified if such core biometrics need to be released in case of threat to national security," he said.

Meanwhile, in the Rajya Sabha, majority of members supported the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which provides for supersession of Medical Council of India for a period of two years with effect from 26 September, 2018.

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan moved the Bill, passed by Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

Earlier, CPI leader Binoy Viswam moved a resolution to disapprove the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Second Ordinance, 2019 promulgated on 21 February, 2019.

Rising to support the bill, Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav (SP) blamed the government for the inordinate delay in bringing the draft law to the House.

Yadav also asked the government to bring a National Medical Commission to streamline the medical education in the country.

BJP leader Vikas Mahatame also supported the Bill and said medical seats have been increased by 15,000 in the country.

While supporting the Bill, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh asked the government to bring the National Medical Commission Bill in Parliament.

R Lakshmanan (AIDMK), Prashanta Nanda (BJD), JD(U) leader Ram Chandra Prasad Singh, and K Keshav Rao (TRS) also supported the Bill.

The Indian Medical Council or the Medical Council of India (MCI) was set up under the Medical Council Act 1956, for setting standards for medical professionals, new medical colleges and revision of curriculum, among others.

The Cabinet on 12 June had approved the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which provides for supersession of the MCI for a period of 2 years with effect from 26 September, 2018, during which the board of governors will run it.

The move aims to ensure transparency, accountability and quality in the governance of medical education in the country.

The health ministry had come across certain arbitrary action by the MCI in disregard to the provision of IMC Act and regulations. Further, the oversight committee constituted by the Supreme Court to oversee the functioning of MCI had also cited instances of non-compliance of their instructions and subsequently all its members tendered their resignation.

In view of these developments and to put an alternative mechanism in place of MCI so as to bring transparency, accountability and quality in the governance of medical education in the country, it was decided to supersede the MCI through the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018, promulgated on 26 September and entrust its affairs to a board of governors consisting of eminent doctors.

Subsequently, the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2018, was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 14 December, 2018, and passed by the House on 31 December.

However, the Bill could not be taken up for consideration in the Rajya Sabha.

Accordingly, it was decided to promulgate a fresh ordinance namely the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019, to allow the board of governors appointed in view of supersession of MCI to continue to exercise powers of MCI.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Jul 04, 2019 20:21:48 IST