EXPLAINER: Where is AADHAR mandatory, and where can you work without it

The Supreme Court has ruled that having AADHAR is not mandatory to draw benefits from government schemes

The Supreme Court’s (SC) directive to not make AADHAR essential for central welfare schemes has put a spanner in the works of the Narendra Modi government, which wants the pocket-sized document to be the single-most crucial identification paper a citizen could possess. The SC said on Monday that access to three-dozen odd welfare schemes such as the Mid-day Meal program, National Rural Livelihood Mission and various farming subsidies among others could’t depend on who’s got AADHAR, which was reiteration of a similar ruling that the top court had made in 2015.

The court had set aside its 2015 order two weeks later and mellowed its ruling, making the owning of the 12-digit AADHAR number voluntary rather than compulsory to draw government benefits.

The top court’s Monday ruling on AADHAR follows another linked directive in February, in which the court ordered telecom companies to carry out a re-verification drive of mobile users in the country. The revised verification process will require of mobile users to fill out an AADHAR-linked e-Know Your Customer (KYC) form, failing which their mobile numbers will be deactivated. According to news reports, the telecom companies have until Feb 6,2018 to verify their customers all over again.

The whole drive is expected to cost in the vicinity of Rs 1,000 crore. According to news reports, the costs of the project would be borne by telecom companies.

Beside mobile numbers and central welfare schemes, here’s updated information on if AADHAR is needed for the following,

Driving License

The Centre will soon ask the states to make AADHAR mandatory to get a new driver’s license, according to a report in the Times of India on Sunday. The TOI report noted that linking AADHAR to driver’s licenses would cut down on the number of people carrying multiple or fake documents. The English daily quoted senior government officials as saying that the plan would take off in October later this year.

Permanent Account Number (PAN) card

As per the Finance Bill passed by Parliament last week, having a PAN card is essential to file income tax returns. AADHAR is also mandatory no to get a PAN card.

Haj subsidy

For India’s Muslims, having an AADHAR is all the more important as Uttar Pradesh considers linking the Haj subsidy to AADHAR in order to check for multiple visits by the same person. Minister of State for Minority Affairs in UP government Mohsin Raza was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India that linking the Haj subsidy with AADHAR would bring in “greater transparency” in the system.