What is Aadhaar?
Many countries around the world use a unique identity system whereby each citizen receives a number that hold all details pertinent to their identity under it. The government of India has also sought such a system India and have called it Aadhaar, which is also referred to as UID. They then intend to use this number to provide benefits to the citizens through the Aadhaar number. These benefits could include things like various subsidies that the government provides, include things like the subsidy on gas. The project is run by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and was introduced in January 2009. The project has faced some problems since its inception with claims being made that the project was not constitutionally sound as it involved the collection of biometric data of the citizens by the government.
The general idea of the program is to issue every citizen with a unique number to help identify them and provide them the benefit of schemes announced by the government. This unique identity involved the issuance of a 12 digit Aadhaar number and an Aadhaar card. The idea was also that the project would also serve as an identity card for everyone and would then be linked to other services like UAN, bank accounts and pension schemes.
Purpose of Aadhaar
The purpose of the Aadhaar was to make it simpler for people to avail government subsidies and have one number that would work as proof of address and proof of identity. Another reason that the government has cited for the creation of this was to help curb illegal immigration to the country. What Aadhaar isn’t is a card that can replace the need for drivers licences or passports. It also does not identify a person as part of a family nor can any individual own more than 1 Aadhaar number.
The Aadhaar number
Contrary to popular belief, Aadhaar is not just a card. The Aadhaar number is the unique number under which an individual’s details are stored.
What is it?
The Aadhaar number is the unique identification number that a person can take, under which they can consolidate other information about them such as bank accounts held, passports, phone connections etc. It also hold biometric data about the person to whom it is issue.
Format of the number
When a person is assigned an Aadhaar number, they get a 12 digit number assigned to them. There are 12 numbers in this digit so that the identity of 100 billion people can be stored under various numbers. These 100 billion identities are provided by the first 11 digits of the Aadhaar number and the last digit is meant as a check-digit to help prevent errors in data entry.
The Aadhaar card
The Aadhaar card is a card that is issued once the application has been approved and an Aadhaar number has been assigned. If you have already received the Aadhaar number and want the card in a hurry, then you can download it as a pdf file using your enrolment number or the Aadhaar number. It must, however, be noted that having a card is not mandatory to avail the benefits of Aadhaar.
Details of the card
The card issued in association with the Aadhaar number displays the basic details of the person. These details include:
- The name of the person.
- The Aadhaar number.
- The enrolment number (EID)
- A photograph.
- The address of the person, as per the records.
- The person’s date of birth.
- The person’s gender.
- A barcode that represents the Aadhaar number itself.
Uses of the Aadhaar card
Universal identity card
The main objective of the creation of Aadhaar has always been to create a unique and universal identity card for the citizens of India which would help negate the requirement of different documents for availing various services.
The government of India provides certain subsidies to particular citizens however there have been instances when such welfare has been misused. The Aadhaar number was intended to help solve this problem and ensure that those who require welfare, and are eligible for it, get it. Aadhaar is also supposed to be the identification that would prove a person’s eligibility to enrol in government programs like Right to education and the Sarva Shikhsha Abhiyaan.
According to the PAHAL DBTL Scheme, those people who had an Aadhaar card could use it to avail a subsidy on gas cylinders. To be able to avail it, they would have to have an Aadhaar card that is linked to the gas connection and also to a bank account.
When it comes to getting new landline or cell phone connections, the Aadhaar card can be used to replace KYC documents like identity proofs and proof of address.
The advantage of having a bank account linked to the Aadhaar number is that when and if you qualify for a government welfare scheme and you need to receive monetary advances, they can be transferred to the linked bank account post haste.
The Aadhaar card comes with no validity conditions and remains valid throughout the life of the person.
Aadhar card Vs Aadhar number
There is a misconception about Aadhaar and it is that the card is what everyone needs to get. The truth is that the main thing with Aadhaar is not the card but the number. That is what holds the key to a person’s identity. It is also not necessary that you have your card in order to avail the benefits of Aadhaar. Quoting the number alone should suffice.
Eligibility for Aadhaar
When it comes to the question of eligibility, one thing needs to be kept in mind and it is that the card is just meant to establish a person’s identity. It does not equate to Indian citizenship and that is exactly why it is available for resident Indians, non-resident Indians and even foreigners residing in India. The specifics of Aadhaar eligibility are:
- Any citizen of India can apply for this card.
- Children below the age of 3 years need not apply for Aadhaar.
- Non-resident Indians can also apply for the card.
- Foreigners who are residing in India can also take the card.
How to get an Aadhaar Card
The Aadhaar number is not something that can be applied for online. Citizens can only go online to book an appointment at an Aadhaar centre. The various steps involved in getting the Aadhaar number:
- The first step is to book an appointment at the Aadhaar centre. This can be done online through the UIDAI website. On the site is a form that will collect information about your contact details, the number of people who plan to visit the centre and allow you to select an enrolment centre along with a date for the visit.
- Once the appointment is booked, the applicant will have to go there with the appropriate document and also be asked to submit biometric data in the form of fingerprints and records of the iris.
- Once all the information has been provided it will be verified by the authorities.
- Upon successful verification you will receive a notification by SMS or an email informing you that your application has been successful.
- A short while after getting the message, the Aadhaar number will be generated and sent to you via the post.
These are some of the most basic requirements that you will need to abide by to get an Aadhaar card.
- Your physical presence is paramount due to the need to collect biometric data.
- You will need to carry document as proof of the following:
- Establishing the age
- Establishing the identity
- Establishing the place residence of the applicant
- Establishing proof of marriage
- To provide proof of the points mentioned above you can carry any or all of the following documents:
- Drivers licence
- Identity cards issued by the government
- Birth certificates
- SSLC certificates
- PAN cards
- Voters identity card
Updating/correcting Aadhaar details
There can be situations where the Aadhaar information associated with a person may need to be updated or corrected. Every time you request for a detail related to the number be changed, you will be assigned an Update Request Number (URN) that can be used to track the status of said update. Some things to keep in mind with the updating and correcting the Aadhaar information are:
- Correction of information may be needed if the following details are incorrect:
- Date of birth
- Mobile number
- One of the situation where updating the Aadhaar information will be required is when the card is taken by someone between the ages of 5 years and 15 years. In such a case, the biometric information will have to be submitted once again when the person turns 15 years old.
- Corrections can also be done online by logging in using the Aadhaar number and a password that will be sent to the registered mobile number.
- To correct the information related to your Aadhaar number, you can download the correction form and send it by post to the Aadhaar office.
- While email addresses on the forms are optional, mobile numbers are mandatory since it is what you receive important updates and communications.
- While requesting information to be updated or corrected you will also have to provide supporting documents.
- For offline requests you can mail the self-attested copies to the Aadhaar centre along with the correction form.
- For online correction, you will have to upload copies of the self-attested documents while requesting for the update.
There is just one form that is related to this service. It is known as the enrolment/correction form and can be used to apply for a new Aadhaar number or to have the details of an existing number corrected. The form will collect the basic information of the person along with information about the documents that are being submitted in the capacity of supporting documents.
Fee and charges for Aadhaar
This is a service that is being provided for free and has no fee or charges associated with it.
Aadhaar is a service that is intended to provide the residents of India with an identity card that is valid throughout the country and is treated as a standard beyond question. It is also a card that is meant to make it easier to avail any and all benefits that the government plans to issue. These two facts alone make it a good idea to get an Aadhaar number even though it is not mandatory at the moment.