Aadhaar for private firms too PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 07 May 2018 04:46
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No reason to restrict its use to only govt and for just subsidies


If a road is built using public money, should its usage be restricted to just government officials or can private traders be allowed to use it to transport goods too? The answer is so obvious, few would even ask such a question. So, it comes as a surprise that, in the Aadhaar hearing, the judges should say that Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act—this allows private citizens/firms to also use Aadhaar to establish the identity of anyone—appeared an area of concern. In this context, the bench argued that, while the use of Aadhaar for establishing identity before making payments from government coffers was one thing, allowing corporates to use it seemed like it was going beyond the mandate of the Act.

While the government counsel will counter this argument, a few months ago, the UIDAI also reduced access to Aadhar for various non-bank private sector players for precisely this reason. When some of these firms protested, the UIDAI’s stance seemed to be that, if someone didn’t really need the facility for his/her core business, it made sense not to make it available. An Uber, for instance, doesn’t really need to do an Aadhaar authentication to know where a passenger is or to receive payments, so why allow it to use Aadhar? But, what if Uber wanted to use Aadhaar to authenticate its drivers and their driving licenses? UIDAI allows private sector banks to do Aadhaar authentication, but why shouldn’t this facility be open to a private sector mutual fund? If the banks get to save a lot of time and money by doing an online Aadhaar authentication instead of the cumbersome procedure of looking at other identity proofs that could be fake, and don’t lend themselves to online verification, the same would surely apply to private sector mutual funds.




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