New Delhi: More than one billion Indians now have Aadhaar cards, almost six years after the first Aadhaar card was issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). Backed by a legislation and with 85% coverage, Aadhaar is here to stay.

Though Aadhaar is not mandatory, it ensures easy access to various government services and social security programmes. Mint looks at a few areas where Aadhaar is making life easy for Indians.

Property transactions

Property transactions have gone cashless, paperless and even presence-less in Maharashtra. So a homeowner renting out a property in Mumbai can go to www.igrmaharashtra.gov.in, fill in his bank account, Aadhaar and biometric details (fingerprint, iris recognition etc.) along with digital signatures and property documents. The tenant along with the sub-registrar and the witness can also do the same, not necessarily at the same point of time. The fees will be paid electronically; all documents will be stored in the Aadhaar-operated digital locker which eliminates the need of physical presence in Mumbai.

Healthcare

Aadhaar can also help in exchanging data about patients not just across internal systems of the provider network but also with other laboratories and pharmacies.

The e-hospital service is now available, which allows a resident to book an appointment using the Aadhaar card in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences or any other government hospital online.

Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh is setting an example by using Aadhaar to track absenteeism of doctors and nurses, using biometric markers.

Temple rituals

Recently, the administration in Andhra Pradesh’s Tirupati temple, one of the largest and richest places of religious worship in India, made Aadhaar mandatory for booking the much sought-after ritual known as angapradakshinam. This is done to make sure that the same person is not using the facility repeatedly. The demand is huge, whereas the tickets are limited

Scholarship

It has been made mandatory for all college students to have Aadhaar cards. In case any student wants to get a scholarship or fellowship from either the state government or the University Grant Commission (UGC), then she must possess the Aadhaar card issued by the UIDAI.

DigiLocker

One of the key initiatives under the Digital India Programme, DigiLocker is aimed at minimizing the usage of physical documents and enabling sharing of e-documents across agencies. Aadhaar details need to be updated by citizens, after creation of the account, to avail of additional services. Residents can also upload their electronic documents and digitally sign them using the e-sign facility. These digitally signed documents can be shared with government organizations or other entities.

Mutual funds

Investors can use an Aadhaar-based e-KYC (know-your-customer) for investment in mutual funds. The investor is required to add the Aadhaar number and registered mobile number and enter the one-time password (OTP) for Aadhaar authentication, after which he or she is required to upload a self-attested copy of e-Aadhaar. Upon verification with UIDAI database, the investor is e-KYC verified and can carry out transactions in mutual funds.

Pension schemes

eNPS enables a subscriber to open an account with the National Pension System (NPS) sitting at home. All he needs is an internet connection and an Aadhaar or Permanent Account Number (PAN) card. This facility is now available for non-resident Indians (NRIs) as well.

The Central government has already made Aadhaar card compulsory for all Central government pensioners, encouraging them to seed their bank accounts with Aadhaar card numbers.

Income tax returns

The income tax department allows residents to e-verify income tax returns using Aadhaar, eliminating the need to send a physical signed income tax return form to the central processing centre. All that the user needs to do is link his/her Aadhaar number to their respective e-filing account. Once this is done, the Aadhaar number will be linked to their PAN after validation through a one-time password.

Transport

Having an Aadhaar card is mandatory for all road transport authority transactions in Andhra Pradesh like vehicle registration certificates, learning licence, permanent driving licence and change of ownership of the vehicle since July 2015.

Telangana has also linked Aadhaar card with every transaction in the transport department to curb increasing malpractices in the registration of vehicles, issuance of driving licences and irregularities committed by vehicle owners. The card has also been linked to financial institutions for getting and releasing loans.

Insurance

Insurance products will soon be available on the digital platform through e-commerce websites, according to the recent draft by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai). e-KYC can be done using e-Aadhaar or by National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL) using the e-PAN facility. The draft talks about a mandatory e-insurance account that individuals have to maintain for online purchase of a product.

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