Aadhaar: Some lesser-known features you may not know about
Aadhaar is a 12-digit identification number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to the residents of India. Since so many government schemes today are linked with Aadhaar, it is one of the most important documents you will ever hold. It also serves as a vital proof of identity. Here are some lesser-known features of Aadhaar you may not know about.
You can book an Aadhaar center appointment online
In order to book an Aadhaar center appointment, visit the UIDAI portal. Then, go to 'My Aadhaar' tab and click on 'Book an Appointment'. Next, select your 'City/Location,' and click on 'Proceed to book an appointment' link. Following this, select the relevant option, viz. 'New Aadhaar', or 'Aadhaar update', or 'Manage Appointment.' Fill out the details, select your desired time slot, and submit it.
You can carry Aadhaar in your phone via mAadhaar app
mAadhaar is the official Aadhaar smartphone app launched by UIDAI, to enable users to conveniently access their Aadhaar details, right from their smartphone, whenever and wherever they wish. The app is available for download on all smartphones running on Android 5.0 and above. It can be used to generate Time-based One-Time Password, generate/fetch VID, facilitate eKYC through QR code, and to lock/unlock your biometrics.
You can easily lock/unlock your Aadhaar biometrics
In order to improve security of users' biometric data, and prevent potential misuse of sensitive personal information, the Unique Identification Authority of India launched a service, by which users can "lock/unlock" their biometrics. There are mainly three ways to lock or unlock your Aadhaar data. Next, we explain a step-by-step guide on how to lock/unlock your Aadhaar data through these three methods.
Method 1: How to lock/unlock Aadhaar biometrics via UIDAI website
Firstly, log on to the UIDAI portal, click on 'Lock/Unlock Biometrics', under 'Aadhaar services' section. You'll be redirected to the biometrics locking section. Next, enter your 12-digit Aadhaar number/UID, and the security code provided on the screen. Subsequently, an OTP will be generated and sent via SMS to your Aadhaar-registered mobile number. Enter the OTP and enable/disable the biometric lock, as per your need.
Method 2: How to use lock/unlock facility on mAadhaar app
To follow this method, you first need to install and log in to the UIDAI mAadhaar app. At the bottom of the screen, click on 'Biometrics Unlock' notification. Then, enter your mAadhaar password. Once authenticated, your biometrics will be locked, and you won't be able to do any transactions. And, to unlock your biometrics - follow the procedure once again.
Method 3: Use the toggle button in the mAadhaar app
You can also use the toggle button in mAadhaar app in order to lock/unlock your biometrics. For this, click on the three dots icon on the top-right corner of the mAadhaar app. Then switch on/off the 'Enable Biometrics Lock' toggle button, according to your requirements.
Note: Aadhaar and PAN can now be used interchangeably
Also, note that the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced that PAN and Aadhaar can now be used interchangeably. This implies that taxpayers can quote their Aadhaar number (instead of PAN), in order to file their I-T returns. Further, Aadhaar can also be used for other services where quoting of PAN is necessary, such as buying/selling financial instruments like MF, gold, etc.
SC verdict: Clearing the air around Aadhaar status
Post the September 26, 2018 Supreme Court verdict concerning authentication of Aadhaar, there has been much confusion with respect to services where Aadhaar is mandatory and where not. Aadhaar is no longer mandatory for services such as opening bank accounts, telecom services, and school admissions/entrance tests. However, it is still required for availing government welfare schemes, and filing I-T returns (if PAN isn't used).