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UID scheme for poor, Right to Privacy: Timeline of India's push for Aadhaar

Over a billion Indians have already registered for Aadhaar cards


Aadhaar timeline
The earlier deadline of June 30 has been extended till September 30 for those who want to apply for Aadhaar

The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday the right to privacy is a fundamental right protected by the Constitution, in a potential setback to the government’s push to mandate the use of Aadhaar, or unique ID numbers for a variety of routine tasks.

Over a billion Indians have already registered for cards, which ascribe unique ID numbers, and record fingerprints and iris scans of each person. The database was originally set-up to streamline welfare benefit payments and reduce wastage.

The current government however, has been keen to mandate the use of for everything from the filing of income taxes to the operating of one’s bank accounts. Below is a timeline on the various developments:

March 2006: India’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology approves a Unique ID (UID) scheme for poor families.

December 2006: Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) constituted to collate two schemes -the National Population Register under the Citizenship Act, 1955 and the

2007: At its first meeting, the EGoM recognises need to create a residents database. This leads to the creation of

2009: The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is created to issue unique identification numbers. Nandan Nilekani appointed the first chairman.

December 2010: The National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2010 (NIAI Bill) introduced in Parliament.

September 2011: Number of holders crosses 100 million.

December 2011: Standing committee on Finance rejects NIAI Bill in initial form; recommends requirement of privacy legislation and data protection law before continuance of scheme.

2012: Former High Court judge files petition contending that violates fundamental rights of equality and privacy.

September 2013: Supreme Court passes interim order stating no person should suffer for not having an card.

December 2013: The number of holders crosses 510 million

March 2014: The Supreme Court revokes orders made by agencies demanding for welfare schemes. Court also forbids UIDAI from sharing information in the database with any agency without the individual’s consent.

December 2014: Number of holders crosses 720 million.

August 2015: Three-judge bench of Supreme Court limits use of to certain welfare schemes, orders that no one should be denied benefits for lack of an card. It refers question of right to privacy as a fundamental right to a constitution bench.

February 2016: Number of holders crosses 980 million.

March 2016: (Targeted Delivery of Financial & Other Subsidies, Benefits & Services) Bill introduced as a money bill in the lower house of parliament. Bill passed by Parliament; receives presidential assent.

January-March 2017: Various ministries make mandatory for welfare, pension, and employment schemes. made mandatory for filing of income tax returns. holders crosses 1.14 billion.

First Published: Fri, August 25 2017. 10:24 IST