There is a booming business around Aadhaar cards in India. Even though Aadhaar enrollment is free of cost there are a large number of private agnecies who promise a Aadhaar "smart card" for a fee of Rs 50 to Rs 200. But the fact is that there is no Aadhaar smart card.
The "smart cards" that these agencies/individuals provide has the same information as an Aadhar card printed on a piece of paper, only that it is printed on a plastic card. And merely printing that on a more durable material doesn't make the Aadhaar card smart.
Aadhaar is a 12-digit individual identification number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on behalf of the Government of India to help people get access to services like banking, mobile phone connections and other government and non-government services and subsidies.
The UIDAI on its part has cautioned the general public against merchants charging Rs 200 for printing the ID on a plastic card. The authority says that even a black and white print out on paper for official use is perfectly valid.
"There is absolutely no need to get his/her Aadhaar card laminated or obtain a plastic Aadhaar card or so called SMART Aadhaar card by paying money," UIDAI Director General and Mission Director Ajay Bhushan Pandey said in a statement. "There is no concept such as smart Aadhaar card," he said.
"In case a person still wants to get his Aadhaar card laminated or printed on plastic card, he may do so only at authorised Common Service Centres or Aadhaar Permanent Enrollment Centres by paying no more than the prescribed rate, which is not more than Rs 30," the satement said.
Some unscrupulous entities are charging Rs 50 to Rs 200 for printing Aadhaar on a plastic card in the name of smart card.
UIDAI also warned e-commerce companies such as eBay, Flipkart and Amazon to discourage merchants involved in such activities using their platform as aiding such persons in any manner may amount to a criminal offence punishable with imprisonment.