As per reports coming in, Indian Railways will now make it mandatory to furnish Aadhaar Card details for booking train tickets. This means that if you still don’t have Aadhaar Card, then you will be denied a train ride.
This is seen as one of the biggest push for Aadhaar Card till date by the Indian Govt.
This massive campaign has been divided into 3 stages.
In the first stage, Railways will demand Aadhaar Card while claiming a concession on a train ticket. This will directly impact senior citizens (Males above 60 years and females above 58 years) who are availing discounts on train tickets, besides other concession categories like handicapped, army, students etc.
In the 2nd stage, all forms of train tickets would be mandated to be populated with Aadhaar Card details. This will include on the counter tickets as well as net bookings via IRCTC website.
In the 3rd and final stage, even unreserved tickets would be mandated to have Aadhaar Card details, thereby enforcing 100% compliance on all forms of train tickets.
Ticket Collector or TC will be empowered with a mobile handheld device, which will have all details pertaining to that particular passenger’s Aadhaar Card, along with the photo identity. Failure to match the details with the one on the ticket will result in penalty and de-boarding from the train.
Why Indian Railways Is Doing This?
As per reports coming in, besides cajoling (or rather forcing) every Indian citizen to have an Aadhaar Card, this step has been taken to stop impersonating and fraud while giving concessions and discounts to passengers.
A Railway official said, “According to government statistics, 96 per cent of Indians have been given Aadhaar numbers. By making Aadhaar card mandatory, railways will be able to check impersonation and thus revenue losses,”
As per data, in a single train journey, if Indian Railways spends Rs 100 on a passenger, it receives only Rs 57 back; rest of it spent on discounts and concessions. There 53 various types of categories of concessions applicable for train journeys in India, which is probably the highest in any Govt. department.
During 2015-16, Rs 34,000 crore was spent on ‘social service obligation’ by Indian Railways, which included massive Rs 1600 crore on different types of concessions and Rs 1200 crore on concession provided to senior citizens alone.
Is Govt. Pushing Too Hard For Aadhaar Card Expansion?
Interestingly, Supreme Court has clearly stated that usage of Aadhaar Card should be voluntary in nature, and Govt. should not ‘impose’ its usage. When Govt. of India mandated Aadhaar card for registering a new business, we had raised the same point.
We have already shared how Aadhaar Card based frauds are increasing at a steady pace, as non-tech savvy persons can easily fall into the trap of scammers, and reveal their identity which can be misused.
A lot of cases of theft identity has been reported, and in case any Govt. server gets hacked, then millions of identities would be at grave risk of being exploited. Privacy issues will always be an issue when it comes to Aadhaar Card.
As per April 4th, 2016, 93% of Indians above 18 years of age has an Aadhaar Card, which makes it more than 100 crore users of this Govt. ID.