The Government of India made it mandatory in march 2016 for an individual to link Aadhaar number with bank account, PAN number, mobile number and receipt of benefits from other Government services. The Aadhaar had not been mandatory for Government schemes till that time.
The Aadhaar programme was initiated in 2009 by the Government of India and comes under the ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. This data is collected by the unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), a statutory body. Aadhaar is generated when an individual’s biometric data (Photograph, iris scan and fingerprint) and demographic (name, date of birth, address) information is provided. It is free of cost. It acts as an identification proof and as proof of residence.
Aadhaar Card As A Necessity :
The Government had intended to make Aadhaar mandatory for all Government services and for availing benefits of Government welfare schemes. The mandatory use of Aadhaar can have the benefits like
- It can help the Government in better identification of Government schemes; bogus ‘ghost’s beneficiaries can be eliminated.
- It can help Government save Crores of rupees which are lost due to leakages and corruption.
- The Aadhaar will provide an identification card to the people mostly from rural and poor background who lack proper documents and in the wake of this are not able to avail many Government benefits.
- The Aadhaar will help in bringing transparency, efficiency and efficacy in the system. The quality of services and reach of the services to the beneficiaries will both improve.
- Government initiatives such as DigiLocker, BHIM App, DBT scheme, pensions etc. can be availed if one has an Aadhaar number.
Aadhaar is seen as a necessity because it can prove to be a milestone in improving the quality of our services and schemes and also reduce the cost of subsidies. It is because of these benefits that the Government is stressing on making Aadhaar mandatory and also brought the Aadhaar Act, 2016. Originally, the Aadhaar card was supposed to be voluntary, but this bill made enrollment compulsory if one wanted to avail benefits from Government services.
The Bill contained a blanket ‘National security’ clause, a clause bound to induce misuse. This provision and other provisions in the Aadhaar act made various persons file writ petitions in the supreme Court against it, as they felt that the Aadhaar was more of a burden on them and had been forced on them.
Aadhaar Card As A Burden:
When the Aadhar programme was initiated in 2009, it was said that the enrollment under Aadhar will be voluntary but with the Aadhaar Act, it had been made mandatory for linking with bank accounts, which was not acceptable to many in a democratic country India. There are people who have many other identity proofs such as driving licence, office IDs, PAN card, passport etc. They do not feel the need of another identity card. They see Aadhaar as an unnecessary pain for them.
Apart from viewing Aadhaar as a burden, it is also a cause of concern for some of them. Many people are concerned about privacy, of their personal information, as Aadhaar number generation requires biometric information too. They fear that their personal information can be missed by the state in normal circumstances and by non-state actors and other countries in case of cyber attacks and cyber crimes. At present, India does not have adequate infrastructure to ensure the safety of the online information/data received under the Aadhaar project.