The Indian government has tightened rules around Aadhaar. In a fresh circular issued by the UIDAI, it is now mandatory to have an Aadhaar number to avail government subsidies and benefits. In case you haven't got Aadhaar yet, an enrolment slip can be used.

This new order, which was issued on August 11 and accessed by News18, overrules the existing provision, which allows a person to avail government benefits, subsidies and services through alternate and viable means of identification. Aadhaar wasn't mandatory.

The order is issued in light of the Aadhaar enrolment in the country, which the UIDAI says has covered more than 99 percent of adults.

AADHAAR building

"Thus in the above backdrop and considering the proviso to Section 7 of the case no Aadhaar number has been assigned to an individual, he/she shall make an application for enrolment and till such time Aadhaar number is assigned to such individual, he/she may avail the benefits, subsidies and services through alternate and viable means of identification along with Aadhaar Enrolment Identification (EID) number/slip," the circular mentions.

Additionally, Aadhaar or an Aadhaar enrolment number may be needed for the issuance of various certificates used to avail benefits and schemes.

The government sees Aadhar as an effective tool against leakages in government subsidies and schemes. As per UIDAI data, 95.74 lakh Aadhaar numbers have been assigned to adults, which is 101 percent of the projected population of adults in the country as on 2022.

VID made optional

In event of this new change, the government has also made virtual ID optional. Previously, UIDAI had extended the facility of virtual identifier (VID) to residents, which is a 16-digit random number mapped to the Aadhaar number of the resident. The VID, which would give a sense of security and privacy, could be used for online authentication or e-KYC.

In picture: The fingerprints of an individual are being recorded for Aadhaar enrolment. [Representational image]Wikimedia Commons

But the UIDAI circular dated August 11 stated that the government entities may make VID optional.

"Some government entities may require the Aadhaar number in their respective databases for smooth implementation of the social welfare schemes. Therefore, such government entities may require beneficiaries to provide Aadhaar numbers and made VID optional," the UIDAI has said in the circular.