Aadhaar Enrolment: Someone Is Not Telling the Truth, Reveals RTI
The refusal to provide information is getting so brazen that information officers at the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) claimed that no reports were available even when UIDAI publishes reports under different heads. It also turns out that information, when provided, raises more questions.
 
Over the years, most government departments and undertakings have tried to stymie the Right to Information (RTI) Act by finding multiple excuses, ranging from 'information not available',  'personal information' or third-party information to deny information to citizens. UIDAI, which is tasked with issuing Aadhaar numbers to resident Indians, has gone a step further. In response to a recent filing by activist Aakash Goel, an engineer, management graduate and chartered financial analyst, UIDAI said it does not have the reports readily available for fresh first-time Aadhaar generated for people 18 years and above. It claimed that ‘No such reports are readily available’ even when UIDAI itself publishes these reports under a different head
 
Even more astonishing is the vast difference between the information shared by UIDAI in response to the RTI application and the data published on its website. Consider the table below:
 
 
During the past eight financial years, UIDAI says it generated 439.6mn (million) fresh, first-time Aadhaar, including Bal Aadhaar for residents. However, it says it does not have any report or data for fresh Aadhaar generated for people aged 18 and above from FY15-16 to FY22-23.
 
This is not entirely true. UIDAI publishes reports on Aadhaar saturation on its website. As per the report, as of 31 March 2023, the projected population (based on data from the registrar general of India-RGI) of those aged 18 and above was 957.59mn (95.75 crore). UIDAI assigned Aadhaar to 975.66mn residents, crossing the saturation level to 101.9%. The data includes revised population updated between November and December 2021 for Daman & Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Chandigarh and Puducherry. 
 
 
While claiming a saturation level of 101.9% for assigning Aadhaar to those aged 18 and above, UIDAI continues to issue Aadhaar numbers to first-time enrollees, including children. At the same time, it denies data on the fresh enrollment of residents aged 18 and above.
 
Mr Goel says, "Aadhaar has been transformative for the country, the government and its policies and way of living. It was reported in Mint that in FY20-21, 1.3mn (13 lakh) people of 18 years of age or older, got fresh, first-time enrolment in Aadhaar. Then Financial Express reported that in FY021-22, 5mn (50 lakh) people of 18 years of age or older, got fresh first-time enrolment in the Aadhaar database. It is strange to extremely strange that when an Aadhaar is the basis for school education, ration card, bank account and practically anything for a living, so many people are without an Aadhaar in their 18 years (or more) of life. It clearly reeks of unchecked migration."
 
"And since 'No such reports readily available' is used to not provide information on half queries, it is very clear that the central public information officer (CPIO) took 18 extra days over 30 days to provide readily available information," he added.
 
However, since Mr Goel did not press the matter, chief information commissioner Heeralal Samariya disposed his second appeal filed under the RTI Act.  
 
As of 20 February 2024, UIDAI has generated 1.39bn (billion) or 139.19 crore Aadhaar numbers and has updated 891.97mn Aadhaar numbers.
 
 
Earlier this month, the Union government informed the Lok Sabha that notwithstanding the 30 June 2023 deadline, as many as 114.8mn holders of permanent account numbers (PANs) have not linked their PAN with Aadhaar and, during the past seven months till 31 January 2024, the government collected Rs601.97 crore as a penalty from PAN-holders.
 
In a written reply, Pankaj Chaudhary, minister of state for finance, says, "Number of PANs not linked with Aadhaar, excluding exempted categories, is 11.48 crore as of 29 January 2024. The total collection of fee from the persons who have not linked their PAN with Aadhaar is Rs601.97 crore from 1 July 2023 to 31 January 2024."
 
At present, there are 702.4mn PAN card-holders in India. Last year in November, responding to a query filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the central board of direct taxes (CBDT) stated that 115mn PAN cards were deactivated for not being linked to Aadhaar. (Read: 11.48 Crore PAN Not Yet Linked with Aadhaar, Govt Collected Rs602 Crore Penalty in 7 Months)
 
Last month, in yet another clarification, the UIDAI asked all those concerned to delete the use of Aadhaar as proof of date of birth (DoB) from the list of acceptable documents. UIDAI says it observed that authentication user agencies (AUAs) and know-your-customer (KYC) user agencies (KUAs) are considering and accepting Aadhaar or e-Aadhaar as one of the acceptable documents for proof of date of birth. Following the UIDAI circular, the employees' provident fund organisation (EPFO) decided to remove Aadhaar as proof of date of birth from its list of acceptable documents. (Read: UIDAI Says Aadhaar Can't Be Used as Proof of Date of Birth, EPFO Removes Aadhaar as DoB Proof)
 
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Comments
yerramr
2 months ago
Aadhar is NIRAADHAR (Undependable). Why PAN should be linked to this type of Aadhar if not for harassing those that did not file their return perhaps because they are outside the purview of the Finance Act provisions of a particular year?
r_ashok41
2 months ago
I think RTI is not being taken in the right sense to provide information to customers wanting
Mamata Accuses Centre of 'Deliberately' Deactivating Aadhaar of Citizens; 'Technical Glitch', Says LoP Adhikari
IANS 20 February 2024
A political slugfest has erupted in West Bengal over chief minister (CM) Mamata Banerjee’s allegation that the Union government is deliberately deactivating the Aaadhar cards of around 60 citizens of the state.
 
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