What is Aadhaar?
- The Aadhaar is the brand name of the Unique Identification Number that the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) issues to every resident of India.
- It is a twelve digit number which is linked the resident’s demographic and biometric information
- Each number relates to a set of information stored in a centralized database which aids in real time verification.
The Aadhaar Project
The Aadhaar Project was initiated by the Government of India as an attempt towards single, unique identification document that will include all the demographic and biometric information of the residents of India.
The objective of the scheme is to issue a unique identification number by the Unique Identification Authority of India, which can be authenticated and verified online.
Background of the Aadhaar Project
- The UIDAI was established in the year 2009 with the prime responsibility of issuing the Unique Identification Number to the residents of India.
- Also known as the UID project, the Aadhaar Project was conceived by the Planning Commission under the UPA government in 2009.
- The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 was passed as a money bill on March 16, 2016.
- Certain provisions of the Act came into force from 12 July 2016 and 12 September 2016.
- The Act serves as a legal backing to the Aadhaar Project.
- The Act provides that the Aadhaar number can be used to validate a person’s identity, but it cannot be used as a proof of citizenship.
- The Clause 28 (1) states that the UIDAI must ensure the security of identity information and authentication records.
- The Clause 33 (1) states that a District Judge or higher court may force the UIDAI to reveal a person’s identity information, i.e. Aadhaar number, photograph and demographic information, and authentication records, but not the core biometric information.
- The Act also enables the government to make it mandatory for a person to authenticate her/his identity using Aadhaar number before receiving any government subsidy, benefit, or service.
Purpose of the Aadhaar Project
- The birth registration system in India is not efficient enough and millions of Indians live without a birth certificate.
- A large part of the Indian population had no IDs or relied on IDs like ration cards and Voter Cards. Most of these IDs like the Voter ID card are meant only for adults. This necessitated the need for a single digital ID which could be verified anytime, anywhere in India.
- This would also facilitate the access to host of governmental benefits and services.
- For the effective enforcement of individual rights it became necessary to have a unique identification number.
- A clear registration and recognition of the individual identity with the state is necessary to implement their rights, to employment, education, food etc.
- However, the lack of proper identification system led to duplicate beneficiaries in Government welfare schemes. Thus, for the state to deliver rights to individuals, the enforcement of the unique registration became necessary.
What is it?
- Jam Trinity, an abbreviation for Jan Dhan Yojna, Aadhaar and Mobile is concerned with direct subsidy transfers.
- The three modes of identification would help deliver direct benefits to India’s poor.
- The Aadhaar would help in direct biometric identification of disadvantaged citizens.
- Jan Dhan Bank accounts and mobile phones will help direct transfer of funds into their accounts.
Rationale for JAM Trinity
- Previously, the government operated a large number of subsidy schemes to ensure a minimum standard of living for the poor.
- These schemes took complicated routes to deliver affordable products or services to the poor.
- For example THE MNREGA operating through the panchayat pays minimum wages to rural workers.
- The Centre and States supply rice, wheat, pulses, cooking oil, sugar and kerosene at heavily subsidised prices through the PDS.
- Finally, other sectors such as power, fertilisers and oil sell their products to people below market prices.
- Such a complicated system is riddled with the presence of intermediaries, leakages, corruption and efficiency.
- As a result, a large amount of money is wasted the inefficient distribution and the poor does not benefit properly from these subsidies.
- The government expects the JAM Trinity would help in this regard.
- The Aadhaar would help in direct biometric identification of disadvantaged citizens and Jan Dhan bank accounts and mobile phones would allow direct transfers of funds into their accounts.
- This process is expected to cut all intermediaries and ensure efficiency.