Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique number issued to an individual by UIDAI, the regulatory body of this project. The central government launched the program of providing every individual with a Unique Identification (UID) number which was later named as Aadhaar. The Unique Identification Authority of India is the official regulatory body for this project. Mr. Nandan Nilekani is the chairman of UIDAI. To get his/her Aadhaar number, one has to enrol for Aadhaar at an authorised Aadhaar enrolment centre. The uniqueness of the number is based on the biometric and demographic information of the person which is collected at the time of enrolment. The demographic details include name, address, contact information and other valid information of the enroller while the biometric details include photograph, fingerprints and iris scan which are taken during the enrolment process.
Aadhaar is a number and not a card and it is unique for every individual and is different from other cards like ration card where one card is valid for all the family members. A person can have only one Aadhaar number which will be valid for his whole life. Aadhar card can be used both as ID as well as address proof and is now accepted in many areas like during railway ticket booking, opening bank account etc. Initially the government launched the program as a voluntary based participation but after the launch of Aadhaar based direct cash transfer scheme, it has become essential for people from some states to enrol for Aadhaar to access various government services. For example, Delhi government has announced that Aadhar card is necessary to avail various services in the state. Recently, the central government also made Aadhaar number necessary for new members of EPF from 1st March 2013.
Though the project has received huge response from the people of India, it is also a fact that the project has also been criticised by many people and opposition parties. Many of them questions the government that how it can be a successful project knowing the basic infrastructure required for this is very poor in the country especially in the rural regions.
Any individual including children are eligible for Aadhaar but the details of children needs to be updated when they become of 15 years in age. Aadhaar number is made free of cost and no fee will be charged at any time for obtaining the 12-digit Unique Identification (UID) Number.