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Aadhaar please we aren’t Indian

Aadhaar please we aren’t Indian

13 Mar 2018 No comment 20 hits

Panaji: It is 8.30am but a line has already formed on the third floor of a glass building at Patto. At least 30 people stand mutely, bag and papers in hand, waiting for a small office to open. Among the men and women patiently waiting, is a British citizen, who stands out among the Indians waiting to register with the Unique Identification Authority of India or Aadhaar.
While the Indians are grumbling, the lone foreigner has no complaints. “Aadhaar is useful while travelling around in Goa if you want to prove that you stay here,” says Benjamin.

He is a resident from Bristol in the UK. “The rules also say that I need an Aadhaar to pay my taxes, so I have no option.”

Benjamin, a frequent visitor to Goa, is among the scores of tourists visiting Goa who have signed up for Aadhaar. Many British tourists operate bank accounts, have domestic SIM cards, own vehicles and even homes in Goa, and it is only logical that Aadhaar would be the next step, they say.

As per the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, if a person has stayed in India for more than 182 days, the person is eligible to apply for Aadhaar.

That’s not to say that enrolling is a straightforward process. A woman from Winchester city in England chose to enroll under Aadhaar after spending nearly 300 days in India. “Not wanting to lose the bank account I have spent months getting on or the number required for my business, I gave it a go. Many people say that as a foreigner I can't apply but the messages and the website said I could.”

On a daily basis during the tourist season, at least two foreigners sign up for Aadhaar in Panaji itself and this does not include non-resident Indians and Goans with Portuguese nationality.

Nick, an Englishman with a passion for Indian classical music, was one of the first to apply for Aadhaar, along with wife.

Freelance writer and blogger Christine Pemberton, who has been living in India for 12 years and is a British passport holder, was an early adopter. ‘’I use the card whenever I am asked to produce my ID, whether it is at monuments or at the airport,’’ she says adding that it is not so much the project but its implementation that is being used as a stick to beat people with, which was upsetting.

But with the Supreme Court indefinitely extending the March 31 deadline for linking Aadhaar to bank accounts and mobile phones, those long wait since early morning may become a thing of the past.

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Source: Aadhaar please we aren’t Indian

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