Aadhar, meaning 'base' or 'foundation' is a 12 digit identification number issued to Indian residents. The data is collected by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). This brainchild of Nandan Nilekani will probably be what a Social Security Number is for the United States.
The information in an Aadhar can be divided into two components; Demographic and Biometric. The demographic content includes your address, date of birth, etc. And biometric includes your photograph, fingerprints and so on.
How does the Aadhar card help the government?
Contrary to popular belief, it is not meant to replace the passport, PAN, driving license, etc. and is not a proof of Indian citizenship. The Unique Identification Number helps the government trace all your activities like buying a car, applying for a loan, phone calls made, digital payments made, etc. It is an attempt to curb corruption and maintain internal security throughout the country.
What happens when you link your Aadhar to sim cards and private bank accounts?
You must have given your fingerprint at the office of your mobile provider to get your Aadhar linked to your sim card. It allows the system to verify whether or not you are the person who holds the number provided.
Section 8 of the Aadhar Act allows a "requesting entity" to obtain your personal data except for your biometric information. But, the requesting entity has to inform you about why the entity or person requires your information and how it will be used. It cannot use it for any purposes without your consent. Also, the entity or person cannot publish or display your Aadhar number without your consent.
What are the consequences of not linking Aadhar number to various accounts?
If you fail to link your Aadhar to PAN, your ITR will be considered invalid. You will not be able to claim capital or business losses, exceptions or deduction. You may be charged a penalty fine of Rs. 5,000 under the section 142(1) for failure to file ITR.
Who can apply for an Aadhar card?
Anybody residing in India, who may or not be a citizen can apply for Aadhar. OCIs and PIOs residing in India can also apply for an Aadhar card.
Who is exempt from linking Aadhar?
- NRIs as per Income Tax Law
- Non-citizen of India
- Citizens above the age of 80 years
- Residents of Assam, Meghalaya and Jammu & Kashmir