Having an Aadhaar card is not going to be a pre-requisite to applying for a passport, at least not in near future.
The government on Wednesday clarified that it was not considering making submission of Aadhaar cards mandatory for applying for passports. It also made it clear that no proposal was being considered for waiving of the requirement of police verification for issuance of passports.
“There is no proposal to discontinue police verification for issuing of passports by making submission of Aadhaar cards mandatory,” V K Singh, minister of state (external affairs), informed in his written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.
The Bharatiya Janata Party earlier had reservation about the erstwhile United Progressive Alliance Government’s ambitious scheme to issue each citizen a unique identification number. But, after the Lok Sabha elections in April-May this year, the new BJP-led government, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, did not discontinue the scheme and rather gave a boost to it.
The new government moved ahead to implement the previous regime’s plan to link the Aadhaar card numbers with several schemes, including Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme and National Social Assistance Programme as well as for providing subsidy on cooking gas.
This triggered speculation about the NDA government’s imminent plan to waive the requirement of police verification for grant of passports by making it mandatory for all applicants to submit their Aadhaar cards. The speculations were followed by questions if the government was getting around the Supreme Court’s orders on Aadhaar cards.
Observing that Aadhaar cards should not be insisted upon to provide citizens benefits of the government schemes, the apex court had earlier asked the government to withdraw all orders issued earlier making it mandatory to have the unique IDs.