The government of India is currently working on a new proposal that will allow Aadhaar-holding citizens to withdraw from the program. According to the proposal, citizens can “withdraw their Aadhaar number” which includes both the Aadhaar data as well as the biometrics that the government collected when the citizens enrolled for their Aadhaar number.
This move comes months after the Supreme Court of India upheld the validity of Aadhaar while introducing a number of rules. As part of the judgment by the Supreme Court, Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act was struck down which allowed private companies to use Aadhaar data for user verification.
According to an exclusive report by The Hindu, the government is currently “in the last stages of finalizing” the proposal. Though, it is worth noting that this will only benefit the people who don’t hold a PAN card or the people who don’t require a PAN card. Though, as part of the judgment, the court ruled that linking bank accounts and SIM cards to Aadhaar numbers was unconstitutional, but it validated linking Aadhaar numbers with the PAN numbers. According to the report, in the initial stages of the proposal, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) proposed that the option to opt out should only be available for children once they turn 18.
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At that age, the government would give them six months to the decide if they want to keep their Aadhaar and biometric data. The report noted that this proposal was then sent to the Law Ministry that suggested that this option should not be limited to a select segment of the population.
According to the report, the Government of India has issued about 37.50 crore PAN numbers till March 12, 2018, to more than 36.54 crores. Though, only 16.84 crore of the 36.54 crore have liked their PAN cards with their Aadhaar number.