Modi government makes Aadhaar number compulsory for budding
entrepreneurs to register new business

By Vikas Dhoot, ET Bureau | 20 Oct, 2015, 08.32AM IST

NEW DELHI: Even though the Supreme Court has only allowed Aadhar to be
used ‘voluntarily’ for a few social welfare schemes, the Modi
government has made it compulsory for any budding entrepreneur to
submit her or his Aadhaar number in order to register a new business.

In fact, aspiring startups can’t even ‘fill’ a new online form for
registering new enterprises introduced last month unless the Aadhaar
credentials of their promoters (sought in the first column of the
form) are validated online.

The ministry for micro, small and medium enterprises had last month
notified Udyog Aadhaar, taking a cue from the prime minister’s radio
show Mann Ki Baat, where he had talked about simplifying procedures to
start a business with a single-page registration form.

Experts said this move is a violation of the Supreme Court order on
Aadhaar. “The Supreme Court has been crystal clear on the Aadhaar
number being voluntary for now,” said Supreme Court lawyer Pavan
Duggal. “So  this would be a violation of the apex court’s order and
could be a fit case for contempt of court. This would also infringe on
citizens’ right to equality, as it would discriminate against people
who don’t have Aadhaar numbers yet.”
[Emphasis added.]

Detailed queries sent to the government on Friday elicited no response
till the time of going to press. Dhiraj Mathur, partner (tax and
regulatory) at PwC said Aadhaar is essential to check leakages in
subsidies and benefits paid out of taxpayer money, but it would not be
correct to make it mandatory for starting a business unless the unique
identification programme has not achieved full ‘coverage’ or
enrolments. Industry representatives didn’t want to comment on the
matter, though they said they will take it up for internal