Ahead of the next hearing of the Aadhaar card case in the Supreme court on Tuesday, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) – which issues the 12-digit UID number – said that the Aadhaar card project has saved Rs. 57,000 crore of the country. The UIDAI made this comment on its official Twitter handle @UIDAI. Last week, the top court had said that for now, the citizens do not have to link their Aadhaar card numbers with their bank accounts, phone numbers and passports by the earlier March 31 deadline. In effect, the March 31 deadline has been extended indefinitely because the Supreme Court had said that it was yet to decide whether the linking of the 12-digit biometric number with private and public services is a violation of the right to privacy.
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The Aadhaar number, however, must be linked with services like Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), PAHAL for LPG subsidy, and other subsidies to avail their benefits, the top court ruled.
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The earlier Aadhaar linking deadline was December 31.
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The linking of Aadhaar card number with a host of services has been in the line of fire ever since the government made it compulsory to link the Aadhaar card number with everything – from phones and bank accounts to passports and income tax returns filing. A bunch of petitions oppose the move saying that it’s a breach of privacy of Indian citizens.
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On March 7, a constitution bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said that it may not be possible to take a call on all the petitions by March 31. It is unlikely that an order will be delivered before the Supreme Court goes on vacation in May, say lawyers.
Campaigners are concerned about the safety of personal data, the susceptibility of biometrics to failure, and the misuse of Aadhaar data for increased surveillance.