An Aadhaar card is a 12-digit unique identification code issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to identify citizens using biometrics like iris scans and fingerprints in order to offer subsidies, benefits and services. The Aadhaar identity program is a step towards a ‘Digital India’ and it is a key tool used for financial inclusion of weaker sections, thereby promoting distributive justice. The Aadhaar card does not identify citizens based on religion, caste, gender or income and though it can be used as proof of address, it does not grant citizenship status to anyone who obtains a card. Initially the Government required the Aadhaar card to be linked to services like banking, mobiles and PAN cards but this was challenged in the Supreme Court and the linking deadline has been extended indefinitely for all services except those like LPG, subsidies and issuance of passports.
Procedure to avail an Aadhaar card
The steps to apply for an Aadhaar card are easy to follow and self-explanatory. All one needs to do to apply for an Aadhaar card is to fill in the enrolment form and submit it along with the required documents. The necessary documents are address proof, identity proof and proof of birth date.
The following documents can be used as address proof[i]:
- PAN card
- Ration/PDS (Public Distribution System) Photo card
- Voter ID
- Driving license
- Government Photo ID Cards/service photo identity card issued by PSU (Public Sector Undertakings)
- NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) Job Card
- Photo ID issued by Recognized Educational Institution
- Arms License
- Photo Bank ATM Card
- Photo Credit Card
- Pensioner Photo Card
- Freedom Fighter Photo Card
- Kisan Photo Passbook
- Address Card having Name and Photo issued by Department of Posts
- Certificate of Identify having photo issued by Gazetted Officer or Tehsildar on letterhead
The following documents can be submitted as valid identity proof[ii]:
- Passport, Voter ID, Bank Statement/Passbook, Driving License, Ration Card
- Government Photo ID cards/service photo identity card issued by PSU
- Electricity Bill, Water bill, Gas Connection Bill, Telephone Landline Bill, Property Tax Receipt, Credit Card Statement (all not older than 3 months)
- Insurance Policy
- Signed Letter having Photo on letterhead from a Bank/ registered Company/ Recognized Educational institution
- NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) Job Card
- Certificate of Address having photo issued by MP (Member of Parliament) or MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly) or Gazetted Officer or Tehsildar on letterhead
- Certificate of Address issued by Village Panchayat head or its equivalent authority
- Vehicle Registration Certificate
- Registered Sale/Lease/Rent Agreement
- Address Card having Photo issued by Department of Posts
- Caste and Domicile Certificate having Photo issued by State Government
- Disability ID Card/handicapped medical certificate issued by the respective State/Union Territory Governments/Administrations
- Passport of Spouse
- Passport of Parents (in case of Minor)
Documents that can be submitted as proof of birth date:
- SSLC Certificate/Passport
- Certificate of Date of Birth issued by Group A Gazetted Officer on letterhead
In order to apply for an Aadhaar card, one must:
1. Visit https://appointments.uidai.gov.in/ to find the nearest Aadhaar enrolment centre in your State.
2. After finding an enrolment centre close to you, you can either book an appointment or directly visit the centre for enrolment.
3. Fill the enrolment form at the Centre, submit the required documents (identity proof, address proof, proof of birth date) and provide the biometrics.
4. After the biometrics, the enrolment centre will provide a 14 digit number that can be used to track the status of the application.
5. After verification, the Aadhaar card will be sent to your address via post and this can take up to 90 days.
Procedure to avail e-Aadhaar
Since the Aadhaar is an initiative towards a digital India, there is a provision to download the Aadhaar card electronically after the information has bene processed and the 12 digit number has been received. The steps to obtain an e-Aadhaar are[iii]:
1. Visit the official Aadhaar website: https://uidai.gov.in/
2. Click on the tab titled ‘my Aadhaar’ and then click on ‘download Aadhaar’
3. Skip the first two steps and directly visit: https://eaadhaar.uidai.gov.in/#/
4. Select the ‘Aadhaar’ option under ‘I have’
5. Select ‘masked Aadhaar’ if you do not want all 12 digits to be displayed
6. Enter the Captcha and click on ‘send OTP’ (One Time Password)
7. After this, an OTP will be sent to the registered mobile number and this must be entered on this screen
8. The last step is to fill in the survey and click on ‘verify and download’ to download the e-Aadhaar
The Aadhaar card is an important initiative taken by the Government of India to create a link between citizens and benefit schemes in the country. However, it has not been all that successful in tackling the issue it was meant to solve, that is, creating a more efficient public distribution system. With the Aadhaar scheme being criticised for invading privacy in the case of Justice K. S Puttaswamy (Retd) and Anr. v. Union of India [iv], the Supreme Court held that it does not have to be linked to services like bank accounts and SIM cards on mobile phones. The United States of America has a similar system known as the Social Security Number (SSN) but it is different from the Aadhaar scheme as it is governed by a Federal legislation, it collects demographic data rather than biometric data and it cannot be used by private or public agencies without the permission of the holder[v]. The introduction of the Aadhaar card has led to discourse on privacy and unwarranted interference by the Government in the lives of citizens but it has been a bold step by the Government in an attempt to make the Public Distribution System more efficient.
Edited by Pragash Boopal
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje
[i] How to apply for Aadhaar card, ClearTax, (August 20, 2019, 9:13 PM), https://cleartax.in/s/how-to-apply-for-aadhaar-card.
[iii] Aadhaar card download – Steps to Download and Print e-Aadhaar, PaisaBazaar, (August 24, 2019, 10;08 PM) https://www.paisabazaar.com/aadhar-card/aadhaar-card-download-print/.
[iv] Justice K. S Puttaswamy (Retd) and Anr. v. Union of India, (2012) Writ Petition (Civil) No. 494 of 2012.
[v] The quint, Aadhaar v. Social Security Number – How Are they Different? (August 20, 2019, 9:24 PM), https://www.thequint.com/news/india/aadhaar-versus-social-security-number-identity-projects.