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Indian Cabinet approves Aadhaar biometrics use for state benefits



State governments in India may soon be able to use Aadhaar biometric verification to target and secure the delivery of state services and subsidies, after the country’s Cabinet approved changes to the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill 2019, India’s Business Standard reports.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters that the states had demanded the change, and that the Supreme Court ruling which limited Aadhaar’s use allows it for all beneficiary schemes funded by the federal government.

The same bill was approved earlier this month by Parliament, paving the way for voluntary private sector use of Aadhaar. A government official told the Business Standard that since the state use clause was added after the bill was introduced in Parliament, the Cabinet decision functions as “post facto” approval.

The legislation posted by the Lok Sabha notes that, “(i)n section 7 of the principal Act, after the words ‘the Consolidated Fund of India’, the words ‘or the Consolidated Fund of State’ shall be inserted.” Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act deals with the delivery of financial benefits and other subsidies.

Javadekar also noted that approximately 1.28 billion Aadhaar accounts have been registered so far in the country of roughly 1.35 billion.

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