Up to govt Depts, Ministries to provide benefits: Authority

Amid all the controversy and legal issues surrounding Aaadhar, the Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI), which issues the 12-digit identity number, has said that its job is only to provide the number and not the benefits under various social welfare schemes. It has also clarified that the Aadhaar number can be issued to any one — even foreigners — as this number is neither a proof of citizenship nor offers any right to get benefits. The authority feels it is for the Home Ministry to take a call on citizenship.

“UIDAI is assigned to provide the unique identity number, but is it up to various government departments and ministries to identify beneficiaries, leverage the UID and provide benefits,” a senior UIDAI official said. He quoted Section 6 of the proposed UID Bill, which says that it does not provide citizenship, domicile or confer any right.

Recently, the Supreme Court said Aadhaar is not mandatory for getting benefits. The issue reached the court as the Government made this number mandatory for getting the subsidy on domestic cooking gas.

No relief for Oil firms

The matter was listed for hearing on Tuesday. According to a Press Trust of India report, the Centre and public sector oil marketing companies failed to get any relief from the apex court. The court agreed to give the Centre an urgent hearing on the issue, but refused to modify its earlier order on Aadhaar card.

UIDAI came into existence in January 2009 and has till date issued over 44 crore Aadhaar numbers. As of September 30, it had spent Rs 3,490 crore out of the budgeted Rs 12,398 crore. It has been assigned to issue UIDs to 60 crore people, the rest will get covered under the National Population Register (NPR).

shishir.s@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on October 8, 2013)
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