You can de-link Aadhaar from different services. Here's how
The government has been embroiled in a legal battle with citizens' groups since months, over the apparent usefulness of Aadhaar and its alleged drawbacks. During the hearing, many hitherto unknown things came to light. For example, it was never mandatory to link Aadhaar with SIM, the SC noted. New reports suggest citizens are also allowed to de-link their Aadhaar from various services. Here's more.
All about the Aadhaar scheme
The Aadhaar project began in 2009. Under the initiative, each applicant is assigned a 12-digit unique identification number (UID), which is linked to their demographic as well as biometric details (fingerprints and iris scans). Though it was initially touted as a voluntary ID, the government has gradually made it mandatory to access a number of schemes including bank accounts and SIM cards.
Why did the government insist on mandatory Aadhaar?
The government said linking Aadhaar to various schemes like bank accounts and SIM cards was mandatory since it would help remove fraudulent accounts and eventually, black money. The Center was also reportedly planning to make Aadhaar mandatory for driving license, voter ID and more.
So why the need to de-link?
Over time, reports have emerged about blatant misuse of Aadhaar after being linked to agencies. For example, Airtel was found to be opening bank accounts for customers without their "informed consent" once they linked Aadhaar to their SIM. Critics also alleged Aadhaar breach citizens' right to privacy, and personal data is at risk of cyber attacks and other crimes.
Here's what the law says on de-linking of Aadhaar
Recent reports state that once Aadhaar is linked, it can also be de-linked at anytime. According to Point 5 of UIDAI's Compendium of Regulations, "The Aadhaar number holder may, at any time, revoke consent given to a KUA (e-KYC User Agency) for storing his e-KYC data or for sharing it with third parties, and the KUA shall delete the e-KYC data and cease any further sharing."
What does it mean?
This covers all public and private agencies - banks, telcos, PAN, voter ID, LPG connection, passport, ration card and more. Since no company has explicitly mentioned the process for de-linking Aadhaar, the first step is to contact customer care and enquire about the method.
How far will laws on paper take us?
However, it might not be easy. TBI reports they tried de-linking Aadhaar from SIM, but when they called up customer-care, the executive insisted there was no way to do it. It won't be a rarity: though the government ruled Aadhaar isn't mandatory for getting SIM cards, telcos continue to send away new customers without this document. Proper implementation of laws needs to be ensured.