UIDAI Aadhaar Card- Uses, Application, e-Aadhaar & More
June 25 , 2013

UIDAI Aadhaar is the government's ambitious programme for providing a unique identity number to every resident of the country. All residents, irrespective of citizenship can enroll for Aadhaar and get the 12-digit unique identity number which is valid for lifetime.

This article covers basics like purpose of Aadhaar, where one can enroll for Aadhaar, application process and checking Aadhar card status.

What is Aadhaar? 

Aadhaar is a unique identity number for residents of India, being issued by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). UIDAI, which is presently under the Planning Commission of the government and headed by Nandan M Nilekani, was launched Aadhaar in 2009.

Aadhaar, which means foundation, is envisaged to be the base of all future identity-based transactions in the country. When you enroll for Aadhar what you get is a unique 12-digit number and the Aadhar card which has your demographic details. Aadhar is also linked to a person's biometric information which is captured during enrollment.

Thus Aadhar is different from all existing identity documents in that every resident -from infants to aged- can have it irrespective of citizenship. Aadhar is not meant to replace existing identity documents; rather it will serve as facilitator for such identity based applications as ration card, PAN card, etc.

Where Aadhaar will be used

With biometric information linked to a unique number and demographic details, Aadhaar will eliminate duplicate or fake identities from entering a transaction. At the outset Aadhar was launched for being used for 2 main purposes. The first is called Aadhaar Enabled Service Delivery. The second is Micropayments.

Aadhaar Enabled Service Delivery

Under this all social benefit schemes of the government would be delivered to the population through Aadhaar. Government social benefit schemes like PDS, MNREGA, Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana etc require identity verification before passing on benefits to beneficiaries. Aadhaar will be used to serve the purpose.

Beneficiaries will require an Aadhaar number and link their bank account to Aadhaar. In some of the social benefits programs the government will transfer value of such benefits directly to beneficiary's account. Presently a couple of social benefits program are running the Aadhaar way in some parts of the country.


UIDAI intended to bring banking under Aadhaar framework and thus make banking services accessible in all parts of the country. However many banks have expressed reservations since they would have to shift to Aadhaar authentication platform. Aadhaar's Know Your Resident (KYR) would replace the present Know Your Customer (KYC) norms in banks.

Banks that have put up resistance against adopting Aadhaar payment system are worried about liabilities from false identities and the requirement that they allow interoperability in services through ATMs and microATMs. MicroATMs, part of Aadhaar micropayments will enable holders of any Aadhaar-enabled bank account to make electronic withdrawal and deposit of small amounts, send or receive remittance and enquire account balance through hand-held devices.

Aadhaar will only provide 'yes' or 'no' answers to identifications queries. It will not divulge details of the individual stored in the system.

How to get Aadhaar card?

You can get your Aadhaar card created by getting enrolled at one of the Aadhaar enrolment centers near you. You would have to fill in application form and provide identity proof and address proof documents. Those who do not have these documents can enroll through an introducer who is Aadhaar holder. At the enrolment centre you need to get the iris scan and fingerprint scan done. You will be provided an enrolment number on completing formalities.

For detailed procedure you can read how to apply for Aadhaar card. Now it is possible to book an appointment for Aadhar enrolment online at a center near you.

Aadhaar status enquiry

Once you complete the enrolment procedure it could anywhere between 2-3 months (or longer!) before you get the card at your residential address. In the mean time you can check your Aadhaar status online using your enrolment number and 14- digit date-time stamp.

Getting e-Aadhaar card by name and pin code

If the Aadhaar card enquiry status shows your card as ready you can take download your e-Aadhaar and take print of it. UIDAI sends the card by post and it could take weeks or months before you get it. e-Aadhaar is being accepted as the official card in most places. You can download it by entering details such as enrolment number, date & time, your name and Pin code at

Where is Aadhaar headed to?

Presently Aadhar is not free of drawbacks. Most importantly the base on which it hangs- that every resident would be allotted a unique number- appears to be shaky. There are people who have succeeded in getting multiple Aadhaar numbers.

Aadhar enrolment is voluntary but gradually the government can switch gear to make it a requisite for all transactions requiring identity verification in the country.

According to UIDAI website, Aadhaar will help provide access to services like banking, mobile phone connections, other govt and non-govt services in the future. Banks and others who stand in the way will sooner or later be taken into confidence.

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