Though one’s date of birth is a vital and permanent information, as many as 20 crore Aadhaar cards made and distributed during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime, did not have this basic information, though there was mention of address, something that can keep changing during one’s lifetime.
Until now, over 98 crore Aadhaar cards have been generated across the country and the Lok Sabha on Friday passed the Aadhaar Bill to give legal teeth to the government in ensuring that its subsidies and services reach the intended beneficiaries directly, thereby going beyond the scheme’s current mandate of merely assigning
a unique identity to residents.
After noticing the absence of the date of birth on the UPA-era Aadhaar cards, Avinash Prabhune, a social activist, sent a letter to then UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) chairman Nandan Nilekani in November 2012 to add the “date of birth” (DoB) so that the cards help individuals in many ways and one does not need to carry any other additional document for physical transactions with service providers.
“My three reminders remained unanswered. So I filed an RTI application for action against my communication. In March 2013, UIDAI informed me that my request for adding the DoB on Aadhaar cards had been considered and henceforth, the DoB would be added on all Aadhaar cards. I was informed that around 20 crore cards had been issued and about Rs 2,000 crore was spent till that time,” he told The Sunday Guardian.
Subsequently, due to his intervention, Aadhaar cards issued after September 2013 contain the date of birth. However, Prabhune again wrote to Nilekani, requesting him to reissue Aadhaar cards to those who have been already issued the cards by just reprinting them.
“I again filed an RTI to know the status and action taken against this letter. But there was no response and so I kept on following it up. In May 2015, the UIDAI reprinted and reissued my Aadhaar card. Regarding the issue of reprinting and reissuing cards to others, I again filed an RTI and I was informed that the UIDAI has not adopted a general system to incorporate the date of birth in old cards for others,” Prabhune said.
“This (not having the date of birth) was a major shortcoming and UIDAI officials are hiding the truth as to why this happened. I have requested the present government to take adequate and corrective measures for the earlier shortcomings while giving statutory status to Aadhaar so that citizens can use Aadhaar cards in physical and electronic transactions,” he said.