Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections
Aadhar is Government of India’s one of the most successful ICT project which was launched in 2010. In 2017 it has achieved a big landmark by crossing 111 crore in registering the residents in India out of 125 crore population. Thus, nearly 90% of the Indian citizens have a unique ID number and it is important as most of the government facilities are being linked with Aadhar card henceforth.
Aadhar is to provide digital, unique and non-duplicable biometric based identity to every resident of India. In addition to it, Aadhar also provides a platform and infrastructure to authenticate his/her identity online from anytime and anywhere.
These are the main objectives of Aadhar programme.
When it was started, various studies had shown that approx. 60-70% of people did not have any credible identity. The consequence of it was that at the time of availing any service, government or private- citizen or residence service- the first question asked is ‘Who are you and how will you prove your identity?’ If one is not able to prove it, then services are denied. So Aadhar was invented to address this problem.
The Aadhar enrolment system was made very simple. The person had to go to Aadhar centre or Aadhar camps and basic demographics were given like name, address, gender and date of birth with proof of atleast one, then 10 fingerprints and iris scan is done and in next few weeks, Aadhar card was received via Indian post.
It was kept simple so that everyone was involved with it. In most programmes, if one wishes to enrol themselves, then several types of documents are required. Here, the enrolment focused on simplicity and convenience which made it possible to achieve such large number in a short span of time.
It was known from the beginning that creating awareness was a big task as unless and until people are not aware for the need of an identity and also the value that Aadhar is going to provide if they get enrolled for Aadhar, it will not be successful.
For this, there was a constant media campaign through various channels such as digital, TV, radio, print media or even through certain means like school playgorunds, institutions etc.
It was marketed as a system which is to solve the identity problems of the citizens for all times to come.
Importance of Aadhar
Aadhar is a permanent identity which doesn’t expire like other identity proofs like passport, driver license etc. the number doesn’t get assigned to anyone else and remains with the person for lifetime. The people were educated about the ways in which it will completely change their access to services experience. It will be an identity which will be accepted all across the country.
If the person has Aadhar card which mentions address of different state and the person has moved to other state wants to open bank account over there, it is absolutely permissible. The RBI has issued a circular long time back stating that if Aadhar card has different address, the bank should collect some other address proofs. If the person doesn’t have any address proof, a declaration from the applicant should be taken saying that the Aadhar card address is different and the current residential address should be shown in bank account.
Also, if a person moves to another state or city and wants to change address in Aadhar card, it is possible by going to Aadhar enrolment or common service center and requesting change of address.
Another way is online change of details in Aadhar by going to the UAIDAI website and register the request for changes through the registered mobile phone in it. A new Aadhar card will be sent to new address.
Security of data
Aadhar does not collect the data of nature of transaction. It collects basic demographic data only. No data is collected on income, profession, religion, education, bank details, property etc. There is a misconception that Aadhar collects all this data and therefore the data is at one place which increases risk of data security breach or breach of privacy. But they are not relevant here as Aadhar doesn’t collect such data.
Even if Income tax department or banks use Aadhar as medium of identification, the personal information of person remains with them and not shared with Aadhar. Therefore, Aadhar is not an aggregator of all data.
A citizenship proof?
It has been clarified in the Aadhar act itself that Aadhar is for residents of India. The resident of India is a person who has resided in India for last 182 days. They are of two categories– citizen of India and citizen of foreign country residing in India.
Aadhar gives a unique biometric based identity to all residents of India regardless of citizenship. It doesn’t get into the question of verification of citizenship which is an activity assigned to other agencies of government. It has been also mentioned in Aadhar act that person having Aadhar card doesn’t entitle him to have citizenship rights of India.
So far, Rs. 7700 crores have been spent on Aadhar project which includes enrolling people, establishing infrastructure for the same and also establishing an online authenticating infrastructure(fingerprint scanner etc for getting services). For 111 crore people enrolled till now, the cost per card is approx. Rs. 70.
Government facilities associated with Aadhar
It is used by many agencies inside the government and also outside it under the provision of Aadhar act for providing various services.
One of the major usage is how Aadhar as a digital identity can help in financial inclusion and provide banking services those who are left out of it. India has more than 6 lakh villages but banks and their branches in the villages are mere few thousands. In such a situation, building brick and mortar bank branches will not be economically viable. So the approach was to appoint a Business Correspondent (BC) and give him/her micro-ATM which is based on Aadhar enabled payment system. The BC goes to the doorstep, takes the Aadhar number and fingerprints and whole banking transaction of withdrawal of money can be done. Today there are more than 1.65 lakh BCs going to villages and performing these transactions.
During last four years, more than 33 crore such transactions have taken place and every day more than 15 lakh transactions are taking place due to Aadhar enabled system.
Recently, government has also announced Aadhar for various schemes such as connecting it with PAN cards, MDMS for children, LPG subsidy etc.
Connecting the dots:
Critically examine the need and importance of Aadhar in various sphere of life.