Aadhaar not mandatory for Covid-19 treatment and vaccine: Centre
No one shall be denied a vaccine, medicines, hospitalisation or treatment for want of an Aadhaar number, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the statutory authority that issues 12-digit unique identification numbers called ‘Aadhaar’ to Indian residents, said on Saturday.
“Aadhaar should not be misused as an excuse for denial of any essential service. There is a well-established exception handling mechanism (EHM) for Aadhaar and it should be followed to ensure delivery of benefits and services in the absence of Aadhaar. If a resident does not possess Aadhaar for some or the other reason, she/he must not be denied essential services as per the Aadhaar Act,” the authority said in a statement.
UIDAI issued the statement after a section of media reported that vaccination and few other essential services such as hospitalisation were being denied to people for want of Aadhaar.
An identification (ID) document is, however, required for getting the Covid-19 vaccine. According to the ‘Aarogya Setu’ app, people can register themselves for vaccination by using one of the seven IDs – Aadhaar number, driving licence, permanent account number (PAN), passport, pension passbook, NPR smart card and voter’s ID.
In the pandemic situation, no one shall be denied any service or benefit for want of an Aadhaar number, the statement said. “If one does not have Aadhaar or if Aadhaar online verification is not successful due to some reason, the concerned agency or department has to provide the service as per Section 7 of Aadhaar Act, 2016 and the Cabinet Secretariat OM dated 19th Dec 2017,” it said.
While Section 7 ensures that there is no exclusion and no denials of essential services, the Cabinet Secretariat in 2017 clarified that the use of alternate means of identification is allowed for extending benefits and essential services to such Indian residents who do not possess Aadhaar or whose Aadhaar authentication is not successful.
UIDAI said Aadhaar is meant to bring transparency and accountability in public service deliveries through effective use of technology, but there are exceptions. It said in case of any such denial, the matter should be brought to the knowledge of the higher authorities of concerned department.