Goa Congress president Shantaram Naik wrote to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday demanding that the Centre issue Aadhaar cards to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs).
In his letter, Mr. Naik said the government should amend the Aadhaar Act to make arrangements in embassies and consulates for issuing the cards. Mr. Naik suggested in his letter that equipment to print the cards should be installed at such designated places.
He said that NRIs should be exempted from producing PAN cards and other ID proofs within the possession of family members of NRIs should be accepted.
Mr. Naik said he wrote to Mr. Jaitley to express the travails of NRIs, especially Goans residing abroad in obtaining Aadhaar Cards, under the Aadhaar (Targetted Delivery of Financial and other subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016.
Mr. Naik said, “It is not practical to ask NRIs to come down to India just for obtaining Aadhaar cards. If the cards are not obtained in time, as per government rules, citizens will be deprived of benefits and their bank Accounts will become non-operational.”
In the letter, Mr. Naik said, “As regards the government’s decision to render the accounts of Indian citizens non-operational, if Aadhaar cards are not produced, it would… be an act of cheating and, I hope, your ministry would not like to be a part of such a criminal act.”
Mr. Naik said that Section 2 (v) of the Aadhar Act reads “resident is an individual who has resided in India for a period amounting in all in all to 182 days or more in the 12 months immediately preceding the date of allocation for enrolment”. He said under this rule, NRIs would not be able to apply for an Aadhaar card even if they came to India for a short period of 15 days.
Mr. Naik said that the Centre should amend the Aadhaar Act to modify the definition of “residence”.
He also said that changes had to be made in Section 5, which lists special measures to issue Aadhaar cards to “women, children, senior citizens, persons with disability, unskilled and unorganised workers, nomadic tribes or to such other persons who do not have permanent dwelling house and such other categories of individuals as may be specified by regulations” to include NRIs.