This comes on the heels of a Supreme Court order on September 23 that an Aadhaar card can’t be issued to an “illegal immigrant”. The court has also said that beneficiaries of welfare programmes shouldn’t be denied benefits if they don’t have an Aadhaar card.
IB raised the objections at a November 6 meeting of senior officials of the investigative agency, the home ministry and UIDAI. The agency says any non-resident Indian (NRI) or foreign citizen living in India can apply for Aadhaar since it’s only meant for establishing identity and not as proof of citizenship.
IB pointed to the differences between the Aadhaar project and the National Population Register (NPR) enumeration being conducted by the Registrar General of India (RGI). NPR also registers non-citizens living in India, but only after a government enumerator visits the household for collecting biographical data and confirming that the person does indeed stay there.
These biographical details along with a photograph are displayed locally to invite claims and objections, unlike the UIDAI project, which relies on documents furnished by the applicant at the enrolment centre.
“The IB feels that since ultimately both UIDAI and NPR data have to be collated and de-duplicated, it is feared that the issue of nationality may crop up as a major hassle at a later stage,” a top home ministry official said.
A UIDAI spokesperson been contacted said he was not aware of the matter.
The min i s t r y of f icial said IB also raised other concerns. It said Aadha a r c a rds should not be accepted as a valid proof of residence for a blanket range of services in sensitive areas such as Jammu & Kashmir and the North-East. IB also wants to run background checks on private registrars employed by the UIDAI given that they are charged with obtaining personal information from residents.
The Aadhaar project is continuing unhindered and has already issued over 21 crore ID numbers with an aim of covering 60 crore residents by 2014, a home ministry official said. India has a total population of about 120 crore. NPR and Aadhaar are to eventually be merged with any duplicates weeded out. The NPR project has completed biographical data entries in respect of 117.75 crore persons and recorded the biometrics of more than 19.7 crore persons.
A petition by retired High Court Judge KS Puttaswamy is under the consideration of the Supreme Court in which orders were issued on September 23 that persons not opting for an Aadhaar card should not suffer in terms of getting any benefit from the government.
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