India Post asks for display of Aadhaar number on parcels

Rachel Chitra BENGALURU: 10 Sep 2018

The UIDAI does not want citizens to disclose their Aadhaar number publicly, but India Post has
started insisting that people paste a copy of their Aadhaar card on parcels they are sending outside India.

The chief postmaster general (CPMG) of Delhi has tweeted, “Pasting of ID proof is in accordance with
international guidelines. For ensuring safety of your Aadhaar data, you can mention in capital lettrs, ‘ID proof for tracking purpose only’ on your Aadhaar copy.”

The tweet was in response to consumers complaining about the issue. New Delhi-based Neelu Duggal said she was asked to stick a photocopy of her Aadhaar card on the outside of her parcel she was sending overseas. “At the same time, we are being advised to keep ID proofs carefully! Is it correct for the department to insist on revealing your Aadhaar to the entire world for misuse of the same,” she asked.

Twitterati were quick to emphasise the incongruity. Ethnobotanist Merlin Franco had this sarcastic one: “Brilliant minds at work! Make your personal data public with a disclaimer. This is definitely going to deter people from misusing our data.” Aadhaar was made mandatory for post office deposit schemes and participation in other small savings schemes. But so far, there’s no official mandate/circular on Aadhaar card for SpeedPost, say some India Post officials.

Recommended By Colombia Another affected consumer, Annie Zaidi, tweeted: “So the latest is, one can’t send a speedpost letter or documents to a foreign country without a copy of Aadhaar and no other identification will be accepted. Not even PAN, which is what should matter if undocumented money is a concern. Why so much #Aadhaar zabardasti?”

Lawyers say India Post cannot insist on producing or public display of Aadhaar number before the Supreme Court. rules on the matter. “What international guidelines is the post office talking about? US and European countries are more concerned with privacy of citizens’ data, not less. With the SC verdict pending, no government authority can insist on Aadhaar,” says cyber lawyer Ramesh Kumar.

Earlier, the authority was fine with any Centre or state government issued ID proof such as driving license, voter ID or passport. An India Post official told TOI that the insistence on Aadhaar could be part of the India Post Payments Bank initiative.

“Heads of local circles are under pressure to show addition of accounts to India Post Payments Bank. So, as part of their efforts to reach more customers, some officials ask for mobile number and Aadhaar so that their local representative can contact them,” he said.

In an official statement on Saturday, India Post Payments Bank said, “IPPB will make banking and payments simple. Using Aadhaar, it will open paperless accounts in minutes and allow customers to make digital transactions with the help of QR Cards and biometric authentication. Aadhaar-based customer onboarding will reduce the cost of customer acquisition – a benefit that will be transferred to the end customer. ” ( TOI )