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The Ultimate Guide to Aadhaar: What is it, Features, Benefits, FAQs and More

Introduction

If you have not yet linked your Aadhaar card to various financial services, worry not! The Supreme Court of India has indefinitely increased the time for linking till judgements on the various Aadhaar petitions are passed. With that said, there are several services where you have to link your Aadhaar to continue enjoying the benefits of the schemes.

Here, in this guide, we offer you all that you need to know about Aadhaar. Without further delay, let’s get right into the topic.

What is Aadhaar?

Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique code that is issued by the UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) for each applicant. The 12-digit code is generated randomly. All residents of India, irrespective of their age, gender, and location, can apply and voluntarily register for the Aadhaar card.

A person who wishes to enrol for an Aadhaar card has to provide certain demographic data and biometric data during the enrolment process. Applying for an Aadhaar is totally free of cost for all applicants.

An individual can apply only once for an Aadhaar card. The system has been designed in such a way that a person can't hold more than one Aadhaar number.

What is the information that is collected during Aadhaar enrolment?

During Aadhaar enrolment, the applicant has to provide the following information:

Demographic Information
  • Name
  • Date of Birth (verified) or Declared Age
  • Gender
  • Resident Address
  • Mobile Number (optional)
  • Email ID (optional)

In the case of the person applying for Aadhaar based on the introducer, he/she has to provide the following additional information:

  • Introducer’s name
  • Introducer’s Aadhaar number

In the case of the person applying for Aadhaar based on the head of the family, he/she has to provide the following additional information:

  • Name of head of the family
  • Relationship to the head of the family
  • Aadhaar number of the head of the family

Children have to submit the following additional documents:

  • Aadhaar ID or enrolment ID of anyone parent
  • Proof of Relationship document (birth certificate, etc.)
Biometric Data

This includes:

  • Two iris scans
  • Ten fingerprints
  • Facial photograph

Key Features of Aadhaar

Uniqueness

The distinct trait of Aadhaar is that it’s unique. No two individuals are assigned the same 12-digit Aadhaar code. The uniqueness of Aadhaar is achieved via the process of biometric and demographic de-duplication.

The de-duplication process compares the details of the applicant – demographic and biometric – with the data stored in the UIDAI database. It verifies if the resident has already been registered in the massive database or not.

All individuals have to register only once for the Aadhaar. If an individual attempts to register once again, the de-duplication process ensures that the person is not issued another Aadhaar. All subsequent enrolments following the first enrolment are rejected.

Portability

It is another unique trait of Aadhaar. It can be authenticated and verified anywhere in India. It allows for easy online verification. This is a highly crucial feature, as millions of Indians in the country move from one state to another for jobs, higher education, travel, etc.

Random Number

The Aadhaar number does not hold any intelligence, apart from the basic demographic and biometric data – of the cardholder. It does not track other details like religion, caste, health status, income levels, geography, etc.

Scalable and Sophisticated Technology

The UID (Unique Identity) generated by the Aadhaar is built on a scalable and open architecture. The resident’s data is stored centrally in the system and can be authenticated from anywhere in the country, within a few minutes. The Aadhaar authentication service can handle more than 100 million authentications in a day.

Reliable and Trustable Open Source Technologies

Aadhaar does not use any proprietary system. It’s built on open-source architecture that is not tied to specific computer hardware, specific database vendor, specific OS, specific storage, or other specific vendor technologies. The entire system is built using open-source technologies that can handle scalability in a reliable in a vendor-neutral manner.

How to enrol for an Aadhaar card?

All applicants have to visit an Aadhaar enrolment centre to start the process. It involves filling the enrolment form, submitting demographic and biometric data, submitting proof of identity, and address proof. Once you have submitted all the details, you will be provided with an acknowledgment slip that contains your EID. The Aadhaar card that is generated for you will be sent via post to your residential address.

Key features of Aadhaar enrolment:

  • It is free – you don’t have to pay any fee for the enrolment process as well as for receiving your issued Aadhaar card.
  • Individuals can visit any authorized Aadhaar enrolment centre in India to start the application process. It’s not necessary to visit an enrolment centre in your locality. You can make use of any centre that is convenient for you.
  • You need to take along with you – proof of identity and proof of address documents. The UIDAI accepts a wide range of documents for PoI and PoA. Some of the commonly accepted documents include – passport, driving license, ration card, election photo ID voter card, etc. You can submit photo ID cards like government-issued ID cards and PAN cards for proof of identity. For proof of address, you can submit – landline telephone bills, electricity bills or water bills for the last three months.
  • If you do not have any of the common proof, a certificate of identity with photo issued by a Tehsildar/Gazetted Officer is also permitted.
  • If a family member does not have any individual documents that can be submitted for PoI/PoA, he/she can still apply for the Aadhaar card. In this case, the head of the family has to be enrolled for Aadhaar first using valid PoI and PoA documents. Once the head of family has got his/her Aadhaar card, the other family members can be registered using the Aadhaar number of the head of family and relationship document.
  • If there are no documents available, the resident can also take help from introducers at the enrolment centre to register for Aadhaar.

To summarize it, there are:

Three Methods for Enrolling for an Aadhar:

  • Using valid documents for Proof of Identity and Proof of Address
  • Head of Family-based enrolment
  • Introducer based

What to do at the Aadhaar enrolment centre?

Step 1: Filling in the Details and Submitting Biometric Data

At the enrolment centre, you need to fill the enrolment form that is available with the enrolment officer. Once you have submitted the form, the officer will take your photo, iris scan, and fingerprint scan as part of the enrolment process.

Step 2: Verify the Captured Data

Once the enrolment officer finishes typing your information in the system, make sure to review the details – both in English and your local language. If you notice any corrections, make sure to get it corrected during the enrolment process itself.

Step 3: Receive the EID

Once your application is filed, you will receive an acknowledgement slip and an enrolment number (EID). Corrections to your enrolment data can be done within 96 hours of enrolment, by visiting the enrolment centre.

When will I receive my Aadhaar card?

Generally, it takes around 60 – 90 days after enrolment to receive your Aadhaar. The generated Aadhaar card is dispatched to your residential address. Make sure to hold the EID, till you receive the Aadhaar card.

Where to enrol for an Aadhaar card?

The RGI (Office of the Registrar General of India) and UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) has set up various enrolment centres in the country. This includes permanent enrolment centres or special Aadhaar camps.

To locate an enrolment centre near you, visit the official website of UIDAI.

my aadhaar get aadhaar locate an enrolment center

Click on My Aadhaar Get Aadhaar Locate an Enrolment Center.

You can search for an enrolment centre by using your state, Pincode or by typing the name of your city in the search box. Note that you can use an enrolment centre to make updates or corrections to your Aadhaar card as well.

Usage Benefits of Aadhaar Card in India

An Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique number that is issued to all Indian citizens. It acts as a centralised, universal identification. What makes the Aadhaar different from other common identity documents is that it’s biometric and demographic. It stores the personal data of all registrants in a centralized government database.

It’s quickly becoming the go-to-identity for availing government and other public services. Here, we list out the various benefits of having an Aadhaar card:

It serves multiple roles as a universal identity card

Unlike other proof of identity documents that serve a particular purpose, the Aadhaar doesn’t have a specific purpose. To give an example, the Voter ID card helps individuals cast their votes in various elections. On the other hand, the Aadhaar isn’t limited to a specific use, but it works well for several purposes.

Simply put, it’s a universally acceptable government-issued ID card, which you can use for several purposes. It can be used as proof of identity, proof of address as well as proof of age while applying for government or private services.

Helps holders avail Government Subsidies

It’s one of the biggest benefits of the Aadhaar card. It helps cardholders avail various subsidies from the government, for which he/she is eligible for. The government has all the data from the Aadhaar, so it makes it easy to verify if a person is eligible for various subsidies and programmes.

To give an example, by linking the Aadhaar with their bank account, cardholders can receive LPG subsidy directly to their linked bank account. This avoids fraudulent claims and well as mismanagement by middlemen.

It’s Available Online

The Aadhaar card is the only government-issued identity document that is available online. By applying for an e-Aadhaar or by using the mAadhaar mobile app, cardholders can download a digital version of their physical Aadhaar card to their mobile/laptop and access it from anywhere and at any time.

The e-Aadhaar makes it easy for individuals to carry a valid government identity card with them at all times, without having to carry around a physical copy. It reduces the risks of damaging the physical card, losing it, or misplacing it. You can download the Aadhaar to your mobile, and display it whenever required.

It serves for Verification and Authentication

Irrespective of the service you apply – opening a bank account, getting a new mobile connection, LPG connection, or more – you are required to provide several KYC documents. The Aadhaar card serves various KYC purposes for both identification and authentication. Here are some places where you can use the Aadhaar:

To apply for a New Passport or Renew your Existing Passport

Applying for a passport is a time-consuming process. You have to book an appointment with the Passport Seva Kendra, furnish the necessary documents, and undergo police verification checks and more. The process generally takes multiple weeks.

With an Aadhaar, you can reduce the overall time spent on the process. You can start your application online by attaching your Aadhaar card, which serves as identity and residence proof.

To Open a Bank Account

Aadhaar cards are quite handy while opening a new bank account. It serves as KYC proof as well as identity and address proofs. With the Aadhaar, you do not have to submit separate documents for your identity as well as address proof.

Receive the Digital Life Certification

The Digital Life Certificate, also known as Jeevan Pramaan for Pensioners, is a noble initiative by the central government of India, under the guidance of our honourable PM Mr. Narendra Modi. The Digital Life Certificate abolishes the need for pensioners to visit a bank/post office physically to receive the pension. They can continue receiving the pension without having to visit the pension office every month. The Digital Life Certificate is linked to individual Aadhaar numbers to verify their identity.

Jan Dhan Yojana

Under the Jan Dhan Yojana scheme, you can quickly open a bank account using only your Aadhaar as the required KYC document. This scheme is a huge boon for people in rural and remote areas, who don’t have additional KYC documents. It helps to bring them under the formal banking sector without extensive documentation.

Provident Fund Disbursal

Individuals who have linked their Aadhaar card with their pension accounts can receive the proceeds from their PPF funds sent directly to their linked bank account.

LPG Subsidy

By linking your Aadhaar number to the 17-digit LPG ID, you can receive the LPG subsidies directly to your linked bank account, if you qualify for it.

Debunking the Myths of Aadhaar

There’s no doubt that Aadhaar is a hugely beneficial universal identity program that encompasses millions of Indians. Yet, there have been plenty of speculations and myths about the system.

Here, in this section, we uncover the truths behind some of the popular Aadhaar myths.

Myth #1: The government uses Aadhaar data for surveillance of its people.

False. According to Section 32(3) of the Aadhaar Act established in 2016, the UIDAI is not permitted to collect, maintain or control any information about the Aadhaar holder apart from the basic biometric and demographic data submitted during application.

The UIDAI cannot store any other details about you, apart from the ones that you have voluntarily provided. When you link your Aadhaar with your PAN, bank accounts, the UIDAI is not permitted to store data associated with these services.

Myth #2: Banks share details of account holders with UIDAI.

There have been multiple rumours and fake news that state that bank account details are shared with UIDAI. Using this information, the UIDAI will be able to track how much money you have in your account, your transaction details and more.

All this false. The UIDAI is prohibited from obtaining any of these details about account holders from banks. Also, banks are under no obligation to share this info with UIDAI. When you link your Aadhaar with your bank account, banks only share the 12-digit unique identity number, the biometrics provided by the account holder (fingerprints) to UIDAI.

The details of your bank account, etc. are not shared with UIDAI.

Myth #3: Hackers will be able to get into your bank account using your Aadhaar number.

No. When you link your Aadhaar number with your bank account, it’s used only for verification purposes. Even if a person knows your Aadhaar number, he/she will not be able to access your bank account details. To access your bank account, you need a login id, password and OTP sent to your registered mobile number. It’s in no way possible to get into your bank account using Aadhaar.

Myth #4: The government will be able to snoop on your bank details using your Aadhaar.

Again no! As mentioned above, UIDAI can't track your bank account using Aadhaar. Linking of bank accounts with Aadhaar is one step taken by the government to prevent the use of fake accounts. Accounts used by anti-social elements, operational malpractices, and hawala transactions and other accounts that do not have a valid Aadhaar will stop being operational. This is seen as a move by the government to curb black money and other illegal funds.

Besides this purpose, the government can't snoop on you using your bank account.

Myth #5: The government will be able to intrude on the privacy of the individual after mobile linking with Aadhaar.

No. Neither the UIDAI nor your telecom service provider can store data beyond what you have voluntarily provided. So, the government can't intrude on your privacy using your mobile linking with Aadhaar.

Myth #6: All NRIs have to come to India to obtain their Aadhaar card.

No. The Aadhaar is only for residents in India – both Indians and foreigners. NRIs (Non-Resident Indians), PIOs (People of Indian Origin) and OCIs (Overseas Citizen of India) are not eligible for an Aadhaar. They cannot apply for Aadhaar cards.

Myth #7: Aadhaar makes it difficult for people belonging to the weaker sections of the economy to receive subsidies and other services.

According to Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act, service providers – both private and government – cannot deny a service to an individual just because he/she doesn’t have an Aadhaar card. If a person denies services due to the lack of Aadhaar, a complaint can be lodged against the individual.

Myth #8: By linking your Aadhaar with your mobile connection, your telecom service provider can use your biometric data for various purposes.

No. The Telecom Service Provider (TSP) has to send all the information collected from the customer – biometrics and other data – to the UIDAI for verification. The TSP is not permitted to store this data in its database. If it does, it will be severely penalized by the government.

Myth #9: e-Aadhaar is not a valid proof of Identity.

Wrong. All service providers – both government and private – accept e-Aadhaar as a valid proof of identity and address proof.

Myth #10: Aadhaar data of millions of Indians are easily available online for hackers and scammers to use.

There have been numerous fake reports regarding Aadhaar. In nearly ten years since Aadhaar was launched, there have been no verified cases of data breaches. UIDAI has employed state of the art technologies and is upgrading its systems continuously to avoid data thefts and other cyber attacks.

Aadhaar Card FAQs

There are plenty of queries regarding Aadhaar card usage and benefits. While it’s not possible to cover all the queries in one topic, we have covered the most common queries in this section.

1. who is eligible for an Aadhaar card?

The Aadhaar card is available to all resident Indian citizens irrespective of their age, gender, economic status, location, etc.

2. How to print/download Aadhaar card?

The UIDAI has made it seamless for all Aadhaar cardholders to print their details as and when required. You can download a digital copy of your Aadhaar card in PDF format from the UIDAI website. This digital copy is known as e-Aadhaar.

Step 1:

Visit the website www.uidai.gov.in

Step 2:

Go to My Aadhaar Get Aadhaar Download Aadhaar

How to print download Aadhaar card

Step 3:

You can download your Aadhaar using your 12-digit Aadhaar number, EID (Enrolment Identity number), or VID (Virtual ID).

verification code and OTP

Enter the details, provide the captcha verification code and OTP.

Step 4:

Your e-Aadhaar is available for download as a password-protected file. You can use the e-Aadhaar for verification and identity purposes.

3. I have a complaint regarding my Aadhaar. Where should I address my concerns?

The UIDAI has set up a grievance redressal system to resolve all concerns and queries of residents. The helpline number is 1800 – 300 – 1947 (toll-free number). You can also send in your concerns to the email id: help@uidai.gov.in.

4. I have applied for an Aadhaar. But my application was rejected. What should I do?

If your Aadhaar application was rejected, the valid reasons for rejection are communicated to you by the Registrar. Make sure to take up the issue with the grievance redressal system or the registrar to help you out.

5. What happens if I miss or lose my Aadhaar card?

If you lose or misplace your Aadhaar card, you can order an Aadhaar reprint using UID/EID/VID.

This is a paid service. You can get your Aadhaar letter reprinted by paying a nominal fee of Rs. 50. This fee is inclusive of speed post charges and GST. Here’s how to order a reprint of your Aadhaar card:

Go to www.uidai.gov.in Select My Aadhaar Get Aadhaar Order Aadhaar Reprint. To reprint your Aadhaar, you can use your 12-digit UID, EID or VID. Click on Send OTP and enter the OTP received on your mobile.

What happens if I miss or lose my Aadhaar card

Note that this service is available to both registered mobile users as well as users who have not registered their mobile number.

6. What do I do if my Aadhaar doesn’t reach my address?

If you haven’t received the physical Aadhaar card after registering at an enrolment centre, get in touch with the grievance redressal system of UIDAI. Alternatively, you can check the status of your Aadhaar application using the official website. Click on My Aadhaar Get Aadhaar Check Aadhaar status. Enter the Enrolment Id, time of enrolment (this is mentioned in the slip provided to you at the enrolment centre), captcha verification, and click on “Check Status.”

7. What to do if the details in my Aadhaar are misspelled or wrongly entered?

All applicants are required to check the data entered during the time of enrolment. However, if you missed out on any errors, you can correct the mistakes by visiting an enrolment centre within two days of enrolment to correct it.

Alternatively, you can update your Aadhaar online using the official website.

UIDAI allows for the update/change of the following details:

Demographic DataName, mobile number, email address, date of birth, gender, relationship status, and information sharing consent
Biometric DataFingerprints, Iris and Facial Photograph

8. What do I do if the name on my PAN card and my Aadhaar are different? Is it possible to link it?

To link Aadhaar and PAN, you have to ensure that the name and other demographic data on both are the same. Even minor variations in spelling can lead to errors at the time of linking. Get your Aadhaar/PAN details corrected to match, before you start the linking process.

9. Can I access the UIDAI website from outside India?

While the official website of UIDAI is accessible from anywhere in the world, certain features of the portal – like checking linking status, e-Aadhaar are only available from Indian territories.

10. My child has received an Aadhaar card that is blue. Is it valid?

Yes. According to the latest rules of UIDAI, children between the ages of 0 and 5 are issued a blue coloured Aadhaar card. This card becomes invalid after the child crosses the age of 5. After the age of 5, you have to update the Aadhaar card for your child by providing biometric and other additional demographic data. However, note that the Aadhaar number remains the same.

11. I don’t know to use the internet. How do I access the online services offered by UIDAI?

You can access the various features and services offered by UIDAI via SMS. Send an SMS to 1947 from your registered mobile number to get further details.

12. I recently shifted homes. I do not have any address proof for my current address. Can I update it in my Aadhaar?

Yes. You can update your Aadhaar to your current address by using an Address verification letter. You can download this letter from the UIDAI website along with the online address change form.

13. I wish to change my name on my Aadhaar. Can I do it online using the website of UIDAI?

No. Right now, it’s only possible to change your address using the SSUP (Self Service Update Portal). For updating other demographic details like your name, email address, mobile number, date of birth, gender, visit an enrolment centre near you.

14. How long is the Aadhaar card valid?

It’s valid for your lifetime. However, note that children aged between 0 and 5 have to get their Aadhaar card updated once they turn 5, after which it is valid for life.

15. What’s the difference between eAadhaar and Aadhaar?

Both are the same. The only difference is that the Aadhaar card is a physical document, while the eAadhaar is a digital file.

16. Should I carry my original documents for Aadhaar registration/updates/corrections?

Yes. You must carry the original documents with you while visiting the enrolment centre. The documents will be returned to you after scanning them at the centre.

17. Is it compulsory to link the Aadhaar with the PAN card?

Yes, all taxpayers must link their PAN card with Aadhaar to file Income Tax returns.

18. What is the information that is contained in the QR code of the eAadhaar?

The QR code contains the following information – name, date of birth, gender, photograph and the masked Aadhaar number.

19. I gave my Aadhaar number to a service provider. Can the company hack into my private details?

No. The Aadhaar card is just like a regular identity card. Just by knowing your Aadhaar number, the service provider will not be able to access your sensitive information.

20. Is it compulsory to link my Aadhaar with my bank account?

No. As per the recent order of the Supreme Court, residents don't need to link Aadhaar with their bank accounts. However, you can use it voluntarily for identity and address proof.

EndNote

Use Aadhaar Freely without any Security Concerns

Aadhaar is a robust and unique identity system that helps in the verification and authentication of millions of Indians. You can use it freely as your identity and address proof, without fears and concerns over security breaches and data privacy. For any complaints regarding Aadhaar, reach out to UIDAI to find the right answers to all your queries.

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