What is Aadhaar card?
Aadhaar card is a 12-digit unique identity number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), a central government agency of India. It is considered the world’s largest national identification number project.
It serves as a proof of identity and address, anywhere in India. Any individual, irrespective of age and gender, who is a resident in India and satisfies the verification process laid down by the UIDAI, can enrol for Aadhaar. The enrolment is free of cost and needs to be done once voluntarily (it is not mandatory).
What are the Main Features of the Aadhaar Bill, 2016?
- The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016 was introduced by Minister of Finance, Mr. Arun Jaitley, in Lok Sabha on March 3, 2016, it seeks to provide efficient, transparent and targeted delivery of subsidies, benefits to individuals residing in India by assigning them unique identity number (UID) or Aadhaar number.
- The government may require Aadhaar number to verify the identity of a person receiving a subsidy or a service. If a person does not have an Aadhaar number, the government will require them to apply for it, and in the meanwhile, provide an alternative means of identification.
- It provides for the establishment of Unique Identification Authority of India consisting of a Chairperson, appointed on part-time or full- time basis, two part-time Members, and the chief executive officer who shall be Member Secretary of the Authority, to be appointed by the Central Government.
- According to this Act ‘no core biometric information will be shared with anyone for any reason whatsoever. Biometric information such as an individual’s finger print, iris scan and other biological attributes (specified by regulations) will be used only for Aadhaar enrolment and authentication, and for no other purpose.
What are the two scenarios when information may be revealed?
- In the interest of national security – A Joint Secretary in the central government may issue a direction for revealing, (i) Aadhaar number, (ii) biometric information (iris scan, finger print and other biological attributes specified by regulations), (iii) demographic information, and (iv) Photograph.
- On the order of a court – (i) an individual’s Aadhaar number, (ii) photograph, and (iii) demographic information, may be revealed.
What are the offences and penalties involved for an unauthorized access to the information?
- A person may be punished with imprisonment up to three years and minimum fine of Rs 10 lakh for unauthorized access to the centralized data-base, including revealing any information stored in it.
- If a requesting entity and an enrolling agency fail to comply with rules, they shall be punished with imprisonment up to one year or a fine up to Rs 10,000 or Rs one lakh (in case of a company), or with both.
- According to Section 47 of the Act, “Courts cannot take cognizance of any offence punishable under the Act, unless a complaint is made by the UID authority, or a person authorized by it.”
How to apply for Aadhaar card?
- To apply for Aadhaar card go to any authorized Aadhaar enrolment centre anywhere in India with your identity and address proof.
- Fill out the forms that are available for free at the centre itself, or you may choose to download it online.
- At the time of enrolment, your photo, finger-prints and iris scan will be taken. Carefully review the details you have provided and make corrections, if any, during the enrolment itself.
- During enrolment, you will receive an acknowledgment slip, till the time you don’t receive your original Aadhaar Card copy.
- The information details will be verified centrally before you are issued Aadhaar Card
- On successful verification, you will first receive an SMS and/or email notification and later after a few days your Aadhaar number will be printed and sent to your address through post.
How to locate the nearest Aadhaar card enrolment centre?
- Go to the UIDAI Online resident portal, also called Aadhaar kiosk. https://resident.uidai.net.in/
- From the menu on the left side of the page, select the option ‘Locate Enrolment centre’
- Enter the state you live in, the district and your locality/ area.
- After submit the search results will appear below the search bar
- The search results give the following details about the nearest centre – Precise address, Name of the person you can contact, phone numbers, starting date of the centre and also the type of the centre.
What documents are accepted as a proof of identity and address?
- Here is the list of documents that are accepted as a proof of identity and address –
- PAN Card
- Ration/ PDS Photo Card
- Voter ID Card
- Driving License
- NREGS Job Card
- Photo Bank ATM Card
- Photo ID issued by Recognized Educational Institution
- Government Photo ID Cards/ service photo identity card issued by PSU
- Arms License
- Photo Credit Card
- Pensioner Photo Card
- Kisaan Photo Passbook
- CGHS / ECHS Photo Card
- Freedom Fighter Photo Card
- Address Card having Name and Photo issued by Department of Posts
- Certificate of Identity having photo issued by Gazetted Officer or Tehsildar on letterhead 18. Disability ID Card/handicapped medical certificate issued by the respective State/UT Governments/Administrations
What are the benefits of Aadhaar card?
- Direct Benefits Transfer (DBTL) – The 12-digit individual identification number on Aadhaar card is used to get the LPG subsidy amount directly in the bank account. However, if an individual does not require subsidy, then he/she can opt out of the scheme.
- Scholarships – Students entitled to receive a scholarship from the government will get the amount credited to the Aadhaar enabled bank account. However, this is implemented only for a few select Indian states.
- Access to Digi Locker – The government’s initiative to allow every individual store their personal documents on its server through Digi Locker. The access to this facility requires one to have a valid Aadhaar card number.
- Monthly Pension payments – the government has made it mandatory for pensioners of select states to register their Aadhaar number with the respective department to receive pension payments. The move is also intended to curb fraudulent practices of claiming pension by beneficiaries.
- Payment of Provident Fund – The government has also made it mandatory for employees to link their Aadhaar number with the EPFO (Employee Provident Fund Organization) for claiming the proceeds.
- Digital Life Certificate – Under the ‘Jeevan Praman for Pensioners’ initiative, the government will put an end to the woes of pensioners by doing away with the need of being physically present to receive the pension.