By the end of the year 2019, Aadhaar has crossed a new milestone. Now 125 crore residents of India have Aadhaar cards. They include children, the elderly and young people. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has announced that more than 1.25 billion people in the country have a 12-digit card each.
The cardholders are using this card the most when asked for an identity document. This proves that Aadhaar-based authentication services have been used almost 37,000 crore times since its launch. Currently, the UIDAI has 3 crore authentication requests per day.
Apart from this, those living in India are also conscious of keeping their cards updated. So far, about 331 crore update applications have come to UIDAI, which have been successfully processed. On a daily basis, the UIDAI receives between three and four lakh applications related to Aadhaar update.
If someone updates his/her card from the UIDAI website, no charge is levied on it. But updates cost the Aadhaar Centre some money. If a card is reprinted from the UIDAI website, there is a charge. Rs 50 must be paid for a card reprint.
Applying for enrollment of Aadhaar for the first time does not attract any charge. If the applicant in a child and his/her age is between 5 years and 15 years, and if his/her biometrics are updated, the service is free.
It is a 12-digit unique identity number that can be obtained voluntarily by residents or passport holders of India, based on their biometric and demographic data. The data is collected by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), a statutory authority established in January 2009 by the government of India, under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, following the provisions of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, benefits and services) Act, 2016.
Sceptic about the system during the UPA era, the BJP, after assuming power, took to Aadhaar in a big way for the direct benefit transfer schemes of the Narendra Modi government.
Aadhaar is the world’s largest biometric ID system. World Bank Chief Economist Paul Romer described it as “the most sophisticated ID programme in the world”.
Considered a proof of residence and not a proof of citizenship, Aadhaar does not by itself grant any rights to domicile in India. In June 2017, the Home Ministry clarified that this is not a valid identification document for Indians travelling to Nepal and Bhutan.