More than 125 crore Indians have Aadhaar, says govt

125 crore Aadhaar cards
Aadhaar-based authentication services have been used close to 37,000 crore times.

More than 125 crore Indians have Aadhaar, the 12-digit unique identity number, the Unique Identification Authority of India said. Since its inception, Aadhaar-based authentication has been used nearly 37,000 crore times for different services, showing its emergence as the primary identity document for most Indians. A UIDAI release said it receives about 3 crore authentication requests daily.

Aadhaar is currently the largest biometric identification system in the world. UIDAI has recorded 331 crore Aadhaar updates – both biometric and demographic — till date. The authority receives about 3-4 lakh update requests daily, the release said. Aadhaar is based on biometric and demographic data, collected by UIDAI, a statutory body set up under the ministry of electronics and information technology in 2009. The Manmohan Singh government rolled out Aadhaar in 2010. The income tax department has made it mandatory for tax payers to link permanent account number with Aadhaar numbers by December 31.

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India is the world’s second most populous country with an estimated population of 135 crore people. The country is set to overtake China in 2030, with a population of 153 crore at the current growth rate of 1.2%.

The government has linked several important services to Aadhaar, making it mandatory for consumers to produce the identity card for availing these services. Initially, the plan was to link to the benefits of several government schemes. Despite a Supreme Court ruling against it, several banks and telecom service providers continue to use Aadhaar car as the basic identification document for availing their services. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India has also linked insurance policies to Aadhar under the Prevention of Money-laundering Rules.

The government statement that Aadhaar and passport are not proof of the holder’s citizenship has created a furore recently during the discussions on the Citizenship Amendment Act.