UIDAI urges citizens to use Aadhaar carefully

PUNE: The Unique Identification Authority of India took to social media to warn citizens to be careful while using their Aadhaar cards or number as ID proof while exchanging scrapped currency notes for legal tender.

A couple of days ago, the official Twitter handle of the UIDAI put out a series of tweets. The first one read, “We urge you to be very discreet abt your Aadhaar & other identity documents. Do not share the document no. or a printed copy with anyone (sic).” That tweet was followed by another: “Wherever you are submitting a copy of your Aadhaar, self-attest it and state the purpose clearly to avoid misuse.”

A senior UIDAI official said this was a part of their drive to spread awareness among people about possible misuse of information, especially as the Aadhaar card is one of the accepted documents for the cash exchange facility. “As a part of our attempts to ask citizens to be cautious, we decided to take to social media and reach out to people to attest their Aadhaar copies when they hand it out for various purpose of ID proof,” said the senior official.

“As (with) any other ID proof, we are telling people to self-attest as these documents can be misused. It is better to be cautious than be sorry,” added the official.

According to the final tweet, if information is misused, legal recourse is an option. “We wanted to assure people that if any kind of misuse does take place, legal action can be taken,” said the official.

At present, 107.7 crore people in the country — 84% of the 128-crore population — have Aadhaar cards. According to officials, 98% of the adult population is covered, while 70% of those in the 5-18 years age group have an Aadhaar card. Only 5% is the children below 5 years of age have been enrolled, something the officials plan to rectify soon.

In the last one year, most government departments have increasingly encouraged the use of Aadhaar as ID proof. The main purpose of the unique identification number is to ensure the identity of the individual, and also ensure that benefits are directly given to the individual. Government schemes such as LPG, Mnrega, public distribution services are all part of the system which uses Aadhaar. For registration too, UID is used. Even government offices have enabled Aadhaar-based biometric attendance systems.