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AAdhaar Myth and Reality

Here are the key features of the unique identification number or Aadhaar Card and the legislation that awaits the President’s nod to become an Act.

Aadhaar Card Myth And Reality

The Parliament on Wednesday passed the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016 aimed at providing the unique identification number statutory backing and employing it for effective targeting of subsidies. However, it has since provoked a series of claims and counter claims about its possible misuse. Mint explains the key features of this number and the legislation that awaits the President’s nod to become an Act.

AAdhaar Myth and Reality

What is Aadhaar?

Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique identity number issued by the Unique Identity Development Authority of India (UIDAI) to all Indian residents after collection of biometrics like fingerprints and iris scan.

How many people have it?

99,26,41,185 Aadhaar numbers have been issued so far.

Who can get it?

Every person resident in India, including children, can obtain an Aadhaar number.

How will Aadhaar help you?

Aadhaar is a valid identity proof and can be used for various purposes including availing of government subsidies and opening bank accounts.

Is Aadhaar mandatory?

Aadhaar is voluntary. However, it will be mandatory for receiving any kind of government subsidy once the Aadhaar bill is notified.

Is Aadhaar proof of citizenship?

Aadhaar is not proof of citizenship or domicile.

Will your identity information be used without your permission?

The UIDAI can only authenticate the Aadhaar number for an agency if you have given your consent. However, this information can be shared in case of a court order from a district judge or a higher court without your approval.

Will your core biometric data like fingerprints and iris scan be shared?

This data will not be shared with anyone. However, it may be used for purposes other than generation of an Aadhaar number in cases involving national security.

Will you be able to approach courts and seek action if your information is leaked?

The bill provides that only UIDAI or any person authorized by it can approach the courts for offences punishable under the Act. This means that individuals cannot approach the courts if they feel that their information has been incorrectly disclosed.

What is the punishment for anyone leaking identity information as prohibited by the Act?

The bill proposes imprisonment up to three years or a fine of Rs.10,000 in case the information is leaked by an individual. If a company has disclosed such information, then the fine can go up to Rs.1 lakh.

Can you update your information at a later stage?

An individual can update information like change of address or in case of children the biometric information with the UIDAI at a later date.