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Aadhaar exemptions fpr NRI

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A recent order issued by the authority responsible for India’s biometric identity card called Aadhaar has brought fresh relief to millions of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs).

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) had already announced that NRIs did not need to submit Aadhaar for any services that mandatorily required it. However, the new order issued on November 15 by Dr Ajay Bhushan Pandey, CEO of UIDAI, directs federal ministries and departments to issue appropriate directions to state governments and other relevant agencies that NRIs are not eligible for Aadhaar.

Despite the UIDAI’s earlier assurance, NRIs have been complaining that many government and private agencies demand Aadhaar for many services, including obtaining SIM cards and opening bank accounts.

This is probably due to ignorance among officials about NRIs being ineligible for Aadhaar. The order has also specifically listed 16 services directly or indirectly connected with NRIs, which will help them refute any demand from officials who seek Aadhaar for these services.

In an interview with Gulf News on March 29, Dr Pandey had made it clear that only residents of India were entitled to Aadhaar.

In a subsequent interview with Gulf News on July 25, he said that if banks, or any Indian institutions, demanded Aadhaar from NRIs, they could assert that they were not eligible for it. Dr Pandey said that even if the government wants to extend the ambit of Aadhaar to NRIs, the existing law has to be amended by parliament. A mere amending of the rules by the government is not enough, he explained.

Pandey was referring to Section 3.1 of the Aadhaar Act 2016, which says that only a resident shall be entitled to an Aadhaar number.

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