What is Aadhaar/Adhar Card?
Aadhaar Card also misspelled as Adhar Card or Aadhar Card or Adhaar Card, is a 12 digit unique identification number issued by India government to every individual resident of India based on their biometric or demographic data. Aadhaar is a Hindi word and has a meaning of ‘Foundation’ or ‘Base’. The Unique Identification Authority of India(UIDAI) which works under the Planning Commission of India, is responsible for managing Aadhaar cards/letters. However, the journey of Aadhaar was started on February 7, 2012, when UIDAI launched an online verification system for Aadhaar numbers. The system enables banks, telecom companies, and all government departments to verify if a person is a resident of India or not just by entering a unique identification number. After that, on November 26, 2012, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh launched a direct Aadhaar-linked benefit transfer scheme by directly transferring money to the residents’ bank account. The aim of the Aadhaar scheme is to prevent leakages by eliminating fakes and duplicates. It enables to deliver all benefits and subsidies directly to the residents of India making a transparent system.
The features of Aadhaar:
- Aadhaar is a unique number linked to an individual’s biometric data. So, one resident can have only one Aadhaar number. This helps in eliminating fakes and duplicates through Aadhaar based authentication.
- The UID-enabled bank account network offers a secure and low-cost electronic benefit transfer to residents.
Any agency or service providers from anywhere in India can contact the central unique identification database to confirm a beneficiary’s identity.
- The poor and marginalized people often don’t have an identification document to receive various benefits from the state. The “Introducer” system enables such residents to establish identity.
- Self-service feature of Aadhaar puts residents in control. Aadhaar-based authentication enables the resident to receive up-to-date information about their entitlements. They can give their feedback, redress complaints from their mobile phones, Kiosks or other means.
- Aadhaar-based monitoring significantly improves the quality of entitlements to beneficiaries and increases transparency in the system.
Uses of Aadhaar:
The use of Aadhaar increases day by day. One can use Aadhaar in any system that requires to establish an identity of a resident. It also provides extra security for residents to access their benefits or services through this system. As of now, the use of Aadhaar is in the following programs given below:
- Education- Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, Right to Education, etc.
- Food and Nutrition- Mid-Day Meals, Integrated Child Development Scheme, Food Security, Public Distribution System, etc.
- Healthcare- Janashri Bima Yojana, Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana etc.
- Social Security- Janani Suraksha Yojana, Development of Primitive Tribe Groups, Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme, etc.
- Employment- Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana, Indira Gandhi Awaaz Yojana, Prime Minister’s Employment Guarantee Program etc.
- Other purposes including Banking, Property Transaction, Telecom Services, Pan Cards, etc.
Future of Aadhaar
Any person can apply for Aadhaar. Similarly, agencies providing benefits and services may choose to use Aadhaar in their systems and may require that their beneficiaries or customers provide their Aadhaar for these services. It is already in use for cooking gas subsidy and other government welfare schemes. The government’s rural job program also extensively uses an Aadhaar-based payment system. Aadhaar may become the only identity (ID) card in future while making it mandatory for filing of income tax returns is necessary to curb tax evasion and frauds as said by the finance minister, Arun Jaitley. World Bank Chief Economist Paul Romer described Aadhaar as “the most sophisticated ID program in the world”.