targeted delivery of subsidies and services to individuals residing in India he Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act intends to provide for by assigning them unique identity numbers, called Aadhaar numbers.
Key Provisions of Aadhar Act
- Eligibility: Every resident shall be entitled to obtain an Aadhaar number. A resident is a person who has resided in India for 182 days, in the one year preceding the date of application for enrolment for Aadhaar.
- Information to be submitted: To obtain an Aadhaar number, an individual has to submit:
. biometric (photograph, finger print, iris scan)
. demographic (name, date of birth, address) information.
- Use of Aadhar:
. To verify the identity of a person receiving a subsidy or a service, the government may require them to have an Aadhaar number. If a person does not have an Aadhaar number, the government will require them to apply for it, and in the meanwhile, provide an alternative means of identification.
. Any public or private entity can accept the Aadhaar number as a proof of identity of the Aadhaar number holder.
. Aadhaar number cannot be a proof of citizenship or domicile.
- The key functions of the Unique Identification Authority (UID) include
. specifying demographic and biometric information to be collected during enrolment
. assigning Aadhaar numbers to individuals
. authenticating Aadhaar numbers
. specifying the usage of Aadhaar numbers for delivery of subsidies and services.
- Authentication: The UID authority will authenticate the Aadhar number of an individual, if an entity makes such a request. The requesting entity has to obtain the consent of an individual before collecting his information.
- Response to authentication query: The UID authority shall respond to an authentication query with a positive, negative or other appropriate response. However, it is not permitted to share an individual’s fingerprint, iris scan and other biological attributes.
- Cases when information may be revealed: In two cases, information may be revealed:
. In the interest of national security, a Joint Secretary in the central government may issue a direction for revealing, (i) Aadhaar number (ii) biometric information (iii) demographic information (iv) photograph. Such a decision will be reviewed by an Oversight Committee (comprising Cabinet Secretary, Secretaries of Legal Affairs and Electronics and Information Technology) and will be valid for six months.
. On the order of a court, (i) an individual’s Aadhaar number (ii) photograph (iii) demographic information may be revealed.
- Offences and penalties:
. A person may be punished with imprisonment upto three years and minimum fine of Rs 10 lakh for unauthorised access to the centralized data-base, including revealing any information stored in it.
. If a requesting entity and an enrolling agency fail to comply with rules, they shall be punished with imprisonment upto one year or a fine upto Rs 10,000 or Rs one lakh (in case of a company), or with both.