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In a bid to enhance the safety and security of Aadhaar, the UIDAI has launched a feature called 'Masked Aadhaar.' It is quite similar to a regular Aadhaar, with the difference that the Aadhaar number is partially covered.
Over 89% of India's total population has been issued Aadhaar as of mid-February 2018, according to various news reports. Aadhaar card remains one of the most important document proofs as it holds both biometric and demographic details of the cardholder.
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has time and again vouched for the safety and security of the Aadhaar database. Adding another layer of protection and strengthening the system, the UIDAI has introduced a new feature called ‘Masked Aadhaar’.
The masked Aadhaar feature allows users to partially hide their 12-digit unique identity in the downloaded Aadhaar or e-Aadhaar. Only the last four digits are viewable, while the remaining are crossed. The masked Aadhaar will additionally show demographic information, photograph and the QR code. Users can provide this version for e-KYC at places where sharing of Aadhaar number is not mandatory. This version of Aadhaar is as valid as any other government identity proof.
Individual who holds a valid Aadhaar number can download masked Aadhaar from the website of the UIDAI. It must be noted that this facility can only be availed when the individual's mobile number is registered in the UIDAI's database.
Masked Aadhaar can only be obtained via e-Aadhaar, which is a password-protected electronic version of Aadhaar. According to the Aadhaar Act, e-Aadhaar is considered as valid as the physical copy of Aadhaar.
The steps to download masked Aadhaar are as follows:
Step 1 - Go to UIDAI’s official website.
Step 2 - Under ‘My Aadhaar’, select ‘Download Aadhaar’.
Step 3 - Choose from Aadhaar, VID and Enrolment ID under the ‘I Have’ section.
Step 4 - Enter all the required details in the empty columns. Select 'Request OTP' and then press 'I Agree'. (Note - In case one wants to opt for the TOTP feature for verification, then the TOTP has to be entered in the space provided to validate request. The TOTP can be viewed from the mAadhaar app.)
Step 5 - A one-time password will be sent to the Aadhaar cardholder's registered mobile number. After entering this OTP, the user will be able to download masked Aadhaar by clicking on the ‘Download Aadhaar’ button.
Masked Aadhaar is a valid proof of identity, just like a regular Aadhaar card. Individuals can use it while travelling in flights or trains and for hotel bookings, among other places. This version of Aadhaar is valid for the whole life of the individual. It, however, cannot be used to avail government benefits like subsidies and other welfare schemes. Here, the individual will have to provide his or her normal Aadhaar card, which contains Aadhaar number and date of birth.
The masked Aadhaar feature not only provides an extra layer of security, agencies can also validate one’s identity through the same. Taking into consideration all of its advantages, those looking to download their Aadhaar card are advised to opt for the masked Aadhaar route. There are no costs to be borne in opting for this, and the holder can have peace of mind knowing that his or her Aadhaar number cannot be misused.
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