New Delhi, Sep 13 : The Ministry of Railways said today it has decided to allow m- Aadhar, a digital version of the Aadhar card, as proof of identity for travellers in any reserved class.
The m- Aadhar is a mobile app launched by the Unique Identification Authority of India on which a person can download his/her Aadhaar card.
It can, however, be downloaded only on the mobile number to which Aadhar has been linked.
To show Aadhar, a passenger has to open the app and enter his/her password.
"m- Aadhar when shown by the passenger on his/her mobile after entering the password should be accepted as a proof of identity for undertaking journey in any reserved class over Indian Railways," the ministry said in a statement.
Aadhaar law likely to pass test of constitutionality: Jaitley
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today exuded confidence that Aadhaar law will pass the test of constitutionality, saying the legislation has adequate safeguards for data protection.
Jaitley's comments at a conclave on financial inclusion organised by United Nations here come amid a legal challenge mounted in the Supreme Court against making the biometric identification number, Aadhaar, mandatory for government schemes, including its linking to income tax PAN. The next date of hearing is in November.
The Finance Minister said Aadhaar was an evolving idea under the previous UPA regime and it did not have legislative backing.
BJP-led NDA gave it a legislative cover with iron wall to ensure data protection and privacy, he said.
"... A legislation was necessary and because of evolving debate the confidentiality of the data and (the need) to build some iron wall around the data itself. The (Aadhaar) legislation has been passed and I am sure it will stand the test of constitutionality," he said.
Earlier last month, a nine-judge Constitution bench of the apex court had declared the Right to Privacy as a fundamental right saying it is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedom guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution.
Jaitley further said that the Supreme Court in its recent judgement has talked about reasonable restrictions while upholding the idea of privacy as an important constitutional guarantee under the Article 21 of the Constitution.
Citing some of the conditions on privacy, he said, "they have to be by the law, they have to obviously reasonable and some of illustrative restraints not exhaustive are in the larger interest of national security or for the purposes of detection of crime or for the purpose of dissemination of social benefits.
"I think the third criteria is very consciously inserted because that is the principle purpose for which this was intended to be used and that is where this interplay of over a billion Aadhaar number over a billion bank accounts and mobile phones itself has an important role," he said.
Pointing out that untargetted subsidy result in wastage of resources, he said once you are able to create identity network then you make sure the social benefits must reach those segments of population for whom it is specifically targeted as resources of states are limited.
Speaking about financial inclusion, Jaitley said as many as 30 crore families have got bank accounts since the launch of India's biggest ever bank account opening drive, Jan Dhan Yojana three years back.
About 42 per cent of households were unbanked before the scheme was launched, which aims to give every household access to banking facilities by offering them zero-balance accounts across all commercial banks.
Over the period of three years, he said, the number of zero-balance accounts has reduced from 77 per cent to 20 per cent and even these would become operational once the direct benefit transfer is expanded.
In December 2014, four months after the scheme was launched, 76.81 per cent accounts had zero balance.
99.99 per cent of households now have at least one bank account, thanks to the Jan Dhan Yojana.
PMJDY, launched on August 27, 2014 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was aimed at providing financial services to the poor. These included opening bank accounts for the poor, giving them electronic means of payment (via RuPay cards), and placing them in a position to avail themselves of credit and insurance.
In addition to financial inclusion, he said, the government has taken steps to provide security to the poor via life insurance under the Pradhan Mantra Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) and accident insurance Pradhan Mantra Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY).
Total enrolment was 3.6 crore under the PMJJBY and 10.96 crore under PMSBY with 40 per cent of the policy holders being women in both the schemes.
On Mudra Yojana, he said, 8.77 crore people have been benefited and most of the beneficiaries are women.
Make Aadhaar mandatory for
NRI marriages: expert panel to MEA
Aadhaar should be made mandatory for the registration of NRI marriages in India to tackle desertion and other marital issues, an inter-ministerial committee has recommended to the Ministry of External Affairs.
The proposal by the special committee on Indian passport holders getting married in India is aimed at protecting the rights of women who are deserted by their NRI husbands or become victims of domestic violence and dowry harassment abroad.
"It has been proposed that Aadhaar be a must-have for registration of NRI marriages (in India)," said a source privy to the contents of the report submitted to the MEA on August 30.
The Unique Identification Authority of India is working on a policy for the Aadhaar enrolment of NRIs, Overseas Citizens of India and Persons of Indian Origin. At present, all residents including Indian nationals and foreigners with valid visas can enrol for an Aadhaar number.
The panel also recommended that India amend its extradition treaties with various countries to include domestic violence as a criterion for seeking the custody of an accused.
An official in the ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) said tracking an offender in NRI marriages was often difficult.
"The main issue is that serving of notice is difficult because you don't have the address," he said.
The report is only limited to NRIs and not anybody else of Indian origin living abroad, the source said.
"We are only dealing with those who hold an Indian passport," the source added.
The committee also suggested that the National Commission for Women (NCW) be made the nodal authority for looking into disputes arising out of such marriages.
According to an NCW report, about 1300 such cases were registered by its NRI cell between 2005 and 2012.
The panel mooted that special teams consisting of officials of the MEA, Home Affairs and WCD be deputed in "10- 15 countries" from where such cases emanate.
Apart from the UK, US, Canada and Australia, teams should also be posted to African and West Asian nations, it said.
The expert panel on NRI marriages was constituted last year under the chairmanship of retired Justice Arvind Goel, former chairman of the NRI Commission of Punjab, and comprises officials of the ministries of WCD, Home Affairs, MEA and the department of Telecommunications.
The NCW report commissioned in 2011, titled Laws Relating to NRI Marriages and their Impact on Women, lists the problems faced by women in such marriages.
"It has been noticed that sometimes the particulars of employment, immigration status, surname, property, earning status, marital status and other material particulars are wrongly supplied purposely by the prospective groom to con a girl into marriage for ulterior motives," it said.
While hearing a batch of petitions challenging the Centre's move to make Aadhaar mandatory, the Supreme Court last month unanimously declared that the right to privacy was a fundamental one.
The judgement was limited to the issue of right to privacy and the question whether Aadhaar violates the right to privacy will be dealt with by a three-judge bench from November.