Do I still need an Aadhaar card for LPG subsidy if I live in one of the districts chosen for the pilot scheme, which applies from October 31 with a grace period of three months till January 31?
There is no clarity yet. The decision will be voluntary, not mandatory, if the Supreme Court's interim order is upheld in the final ruling. But the Centre said on Tuesday that there was no change in its pilot scheme. The Centre said it would move the court seeking “a correction” of Monday’s interim order. It added that efforts would be made to pass a related bill in the winter session. Petroleum minister Veerappa Moily said the planned rollout of the Aadhaar-based cash subsidy payout to cooking gas consumers would continue as planned. The minister did not elaborate and he probably meant that the government would not make any change till the final order and the fate of the bill in the winter session were known. As matters stand now, the government cannot insist that you have to have the card to obtain benefits such as LPG subsidy
Is the Supreme Court order interim or final?
Interim. But the court has sufficiently indicated that it is not in favour of making the Aadhaar card mandatory for obtaining benefits when no legislation has been enacted for the purpose. The Centre had also categorically told the court that enrolment for the Aadhaar scheme was voluntary. What is not clear is whether various agencies such as oil companies can make the card number mandatory for providing the subsidy. According to the current plan, the oil companies will deposit the subsidy in the consumers’ bank accounts and the government will reimburse the companies
When is the next hearing?
The court has not set any specific date. In normal course, the case may come up for hearing after four to six weeks
Will Aadhaar cards be issued in the interlude?
Yes. There is no embargo from the court on issuing the cards. For residents, enrolment is voluntary, not mandatory
Is there any point in having the Aadhaar card if it is not linked to the direct benefit scheme?
Aadhaar means foundation. It is the base on which a delivery system can be built. The question is whether the card, the enrolment to which is voluntary, can be made mandatory for obtaining the benefits. Aadhaar can be used in any system that needs to establish the identity of a beneficiary
Is the Aadhaar a citizenship card?
No. It only suggests that the cardholder is a resident of India
Why did the court say it should not be given to any illegal immigrant?
Strictly speaking, the Aadhaar scheme does not differentiate between illegal immigrants and citizens. You can go to any authorised Aadhaar enrolment centre anywhere in India with your identity and address proof. The centres accept 18 types of proof of identity and 33 categories of proof of address. The objective is to provide identification numbers to facilitate access to benefits and services for individuals residing in India and who are entitled to such benefits. An element of ambiguity has crept in because the draft bill refers to “individuals residing in India and to certain other classes of individuals”
Compiled by Basant Kumar Mohanty and R. Balaji