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.

Adhar Card info

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 holds biometric data about the person to whom it is issued.

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.

Government subsidy

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.

Gas connections

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.

Phone connections

When it comes to getting a new landline or cell phone connections, the Aadhaar card can be used to replace KYC documents like identity proofs and proof of address.

Bank accounts

When it comes to getting a new landline or cell phone connections, the Aadhaar card can be used to replace KYC documents like identity proofs and proof of address.

Validity

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.