Aadhaar bill passed by LS: All you need to know about the biometric ID

Hindustan Times | ByHT Correspondent, New Delhi
Mar 11, 2016 06:18 PM IST

The Aadhaar bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on Friday to provide unique identity to residents.

The Lok Sabha on Friday passed the Aadhaar bill to provide a unique identity to residents and give legal teeth to the government in ensuring that its subsidies and services directly reach the beneficiaries in entirety.

The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016, was passed by a voice vote after a brief debate, during which finance minister Arun Jaitley assured the house that details provided for the card will not be misused in any manner.

Read | Lok Sabha passes Aadhaar bill to facilitate direct benefit transfer

Here’s all you need to know about Aadhaar:

What is Aadhaar?

It is a 12 digit biometric auto-generated unique identity number created after taking one’s finger prints and iris scan. The biometric data collected is sent to the Bangalore office of UIDAI for de-duplication, meaning that two persons cannot have same Aadhaar number. There is a detailed protocol for collecting and storing biometric data of each Indian resident.

How to enroll for Aadhaar?

Any person above the age of five is eligible for getting enrolled in Aadhaar. The government has listed number of documents such as driver’s licence, passport and electricity bill as proof of residence. Those not having any documents can be introduced by a person having an Aadhaar number. The government considers it as a proof of identity but not of address.

What Aadhaar does?

Aadhaar number is the window to avail government benefits and subsidies. The proposed law clearly states that only those who have Aadhaar will get government benefits. A large number of states now seek Aadhaar number for registration of property, for getting driving license, marriage certificate and even ration card.

What is Aadhaar authentication?

Government agencies can authenticate one’s home and demographic details instantly through online Aadhaar authentication system. The system replies only in Yes or No without sharing any details with the agency. However, the bill provides that if needed authorities can seek more information but after taking consent of Aadhaar number holder.

What the Aadhaar bill says?

The bill for the first time defines privacy and says that while enrolling a person should be informed the purpose for which the information was being collected. It also provides for prior consent of a person for sharing his or her personal information and that biometric data not to be shared with anyone. The privacy provision can be exempted only for national security. The bill also provides penalties for theft of data and its misuse.

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