Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique identity number issued to all Indian residents based on their biometric and demographic data. The data is collected by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), a statutory authority established on 12 July 2016 by the Government of India, under the provisions of the Aadhaar Act 2016. Aadhaar is the world’s largest biometric ID system, with over 1.1 billion enrolled members as of 28 February 2017.
More than 98% of adults in India have enrolled in the Aadhaar scheme. However, of the 23.4 crore Indians who did not have an Aadhaar number in 2016 (21.7 crore) – more than 90% – were children. Currently, over 99% of Indians aged 18 and above have the Unique Identification Number (UID).
Using Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act, the UID number has been made mandatory by the government for some services and benefits that are essential to the common man. Section 7 states, “The Central Government or the State Government may … as a condition for receipt of a subsidy, benefit or service … require that such individual undergo authentication, or furnish proof of possession of Aadhaar number or in the case of an individual to whom no Aadhaar number has been assigned, such person makes an application for enrollment: Provided that if an Aadhaar number is not assigned to a person, the individual shall be offered alternate and viable means of identification for delivery of the subsidy, benefit or service.”
Listed below are the essential services that need to be linked with Aadhaar by those who have the number:
PAN Cards: Those who already have a UID number will need to link it to their PAN number, but those without Aadhaar can file IT returns as usual. The last date for this is today, 30 June 2017 and it can be done online on the official website of Income Tax Department or by sending an SMS to UIDAI to link Aadhaar with PAN.
Mobile Connections: All mobile service providers have been directed to mandatorily re-verify existing customers, prepaid and postpaid, using their UID number and biometric details. All existing users and users applying for new SIM cards need to get verified via an Aadhaar e-KYC (Know Your Customer) verification process. Mobile operators are propelling the e-KYC by asking the customers to take it to stay active.
Bank Account: In an attempt to check black money laundering, the government has issued orders to mandatorily link one’s Aadhaar Card and bank account before 31 December 2017. It is indicated that the accounts without Aadhaar might be frozen until verification. Also, for opening a new account, it is compulsory to furnish Aadhaar details now. The linking of the Aadhaar with the bank account can be done at the particular bank’s website via Aadhaar Seeding option or at the nearest branch.
Cash benefits of Tuberculosis: Only patients with Aadhaar cards would be eligible for cash benefits for treatment of this common but dangerous disease from government hospitals. There is no guarantee that a patient would receive cash benefits if s/he has the Aadhaar but this attempt is aimed at putting a check on those who have been allegedly usurping the benefits.
Welfare Benefits for farmers: It has now become mandatory for farmers to possess Aadhaar to avail the welfare schemes as provided by the horticultural department – crop insurance benefits, cash subsidy on foodgrains et al.
Access to various welfare schemes of the government: Central scholarships for college students, benefits for disabled children under SSA, National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme, Deendayal Antodaya Yojana, National Rural Livelihoods Mission, Benefits under Grih Kalyan Kendra Scheme, Bonded Labour Rehabilitation Scheme, Training under ICDS, Janani Suraksha Yojana, National Mission for Empowerment of Women, Maternity Benefit Programme, Integrated Child Protection Scheme, Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana for BPL women, Compensation for Bhopal Gas Leak Tragedy – all of these require the possession of Aadhaar card.
Driving Licence: Intending to tackle the problem of multiple and fake driving licences, the government has made it mandatory to furnish Aadhaar Card details for applying for a license or renewing the same.
Provident Funds: The Employees Provident Fund Office has also mandated to link Aadhaar Card with PF accounts. The deadline is set to be June 30, and it is mandatory to link your Aadhaar Card to avail any benefits from government schemes and provident funds.
Ambulances: In Uttar Pradesh, the possession of Aadhaar Card has been made mandatory for availing government ambulance services, thus putting a severe constraint on the financially backwards.
Railway subsidies would also require the use of Aadhaar.
Paying homage to Tirupati: From the July 1, Aadhaar has been made mandatory for visiting the Tirupati temple, although the reason behind such a move by the government is still not clear.
With 1.123 billion enrolled members as of 28 February 2017 and over 99% of Indians aged 18 and above being enrolled,…