Aadhar card or unique identification number has become essential in the life of any Indian citizen. Bizzare as it may sound, but it is not new as Aadhaar has become basis to avail most of the government schemes, including income tax returns, government subsidies, scholarships and even mid-day meals at schools.
The move to make linking of the Aadhaar number to several government services mandatory by Modi Government is aimed at curbing corruption and circulation of black money and most importantly increasing the reach of benefits to the right beneficiaries.
Aadhaar is a 12 digit unique-identity number issued to all residents of India based on their biometric and demographic data. The data is collected by the Unique Identification Authority of India. UIDAI was initially set up by the Government January 2009 and Aadhar number was started distributing in September 2010.
Here are a few government service not available without an Aadhaar card
Income Tax Returns: The Income Tax department has made it mandatory for Aadhar card holders to link their biometric numbers with PAN for filing their income tax returns. The last date to file income tax return is August 5 but it will not be processed unless and until PAN card is linked with the Aadhar number. The failure to link the two cards will result in loss of returns due from the government.
Employee Provident Fund: The Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF), to ease final settlements, partial withdrawals and pension benefit withdrawals, has made linking of Aadhar number must. The linking of the 12 digits biometric number is expected to reduce settlement time from 20 days to 10 days.
New LPG connections: To benefit the Prime Minister Ujjwala scheme it is necessary to provide Aadhar number. Prime Minister Ujjwala Scheme was launched by PM Narendra Modi. Earlier it was necessary to provide the 12 digits biometric number to procure a new LPG connection. It is also compulsory to link Aadhaar with Banks to receive LPG subsidy benefits, which are soon to be phased out after recent directive.
Scholarship - The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has made Aadhaar mandatory for providing scholarships to meritorious students from economically weaker sections under ‘National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme’.
Mid-day meal: Perhaps the most controversial mandate in this case was that to make Aadhaar card compulsory for getting a mid-day meal in government schools. The opposition, NGOs and human right bodies had claimed it was snatching away the Right to Food and in some case Right to Education from children. However, the directive resulted in weeding out of 4.4 lakh ghost students from across the country.
The government is also planning to make Aadhar-based authentication mandatory at the time of registration of documents such as the agreement for sale and power of attorney to curb Benami transaction and use of black money in real estate deals. But the final order is yet to come.
Important documents to link with Aadhaar:
PAN Card: The Revenue department has asked all citizens of the country having a PAN card to link with the Aadhaar number or the card will be cancelled. The department will not issue any new PAN card without revealing the Aadhar number. If one does not have a PAN card one will not be able to file his return and avail banking services. The last date for linking the Aadhar number with PAN card is August 31, 2017.
Bank accounts: The government recently made Aadhaar mandatory for opening bank accounts as well as for any financial transaction of Rs 50,000 and above. It has asked the existing bank account holders to link their Aadhaar number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) by December 31, 2017. If they fail to do so, their account will turn invalid.
Passport - One will not have to go with lengthy process of fetching an passport if you are a Aadhar card holder. The process of getting a passport smoothens if you provide passport office your 12 digit biometric number.