MHA reverses stand on Aadhaar, lends full support

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New Delhi, Oct 26: In a complete U-turn from its earlier stand, the Home Ministry has come out in full support of the Aadhaar scheme saying it will facilitate "anytime, anywhere, anyhow" authentication to its beneficiaries. In a letter to all state governments, the Home Ministry said that since one Aadhaar number is allotted only to one person, it allows universal verification of one's identity.

Aadhaar card also enables the deprived and needy people to access services like banking facilities. "Since Aadhaar is based on the demographic and biometric information of an individual, it eliminates the threat of any fraud and bogus activity.

"Aadhaar will provide its possessor with universal identification. (It) will facilitate 'anytime, anywhere, anyhow' authentication to its beneficiaries (and) be a single source of identity verification," it said.

The ministry's stand on Aadhaar is in complete reversal of the position taken by it under two predecessors of Rajnath Singh -- Sushilkumar Shinde and P Chidambaram. During the previous UPA regime, the Home Ministry had raised concerns over the sanctity of the the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI)'s database, saying uniqueness of identity was not a necessary condition for ensuring authenticity of identity or genuineness of other entries or records of Aadhaar numbers.

The ministry had raised concerns over supporting documents submitted by people as proof of identity and proof of address for getting an Aadhaar number. 

In its latest letter to the state governments, the Home Ministry said that the benefits of Aadhaar are many and it can be used at multiple places to prove one's identity very easily.

A person's Aadhaar number can be used while opening a bank account as it meets the 'Know Your Customer' (KYC) norms of RBI. The card can also be used for booking tickets online, applying for passport and at many other places where there is a need to provide some proof of identity.

"Aadhaar will give migrants universal mobility of identity. The government can now provide services and facilities to people, especially in the rural areas, in a more effective manner.

"As more and more government services are going to be linked to Aadhaar, it would be of utility to have an Aadhaar card. Aadhaar will hence help the poor to take the benefits or the facilities provided to them by the government which could not be accessed by (them) earlier. Aadhaar will thus become the simplest way of proving one's identity," the ministry said.

Aadhaar and the National Population Register (NPR) are national identity programmes of the government of India. The former is being implemented by UIDAI and the latter by the Registrar General of India under the Home Ministry.

"Both collect biometric data covering 10 finger prints, iris scan of both eyes and a photograph. The identity and address of the resident are also identified during the enrolment process.

"Aadhaar provides a unique identity number to every resident in the country. The NPR database is sent to the UIDAI for Aadhaar de-duplication and generating Unique Identity (UID) numbers," the Home Ministry said.

PTI

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