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Budget 2018: Government mulls Aadhaar like unique identity for business, says Jaitley

"Aadhaar has provided an identity to every Indian. Aadhaar has eased the delivery of so many public services to our people," Jaitley said while presenting the Union Budget.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Feb 01, 2018, 01.30 PM IST
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Noting that every enterprise, be it large or small, also "needs a unique ID", Jaitley said the government will evolve "a scheme to assign every individual enterprise in India a unique ID".
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NEW DELHI: The government has mooted the idea of "Aadhaar for business," with an aim to further crackdown on shell companies and ensure easier traceability of public money.

This comes after the government's ambitious unique identity scheme Aadhaar has covered over 99% of the adult population of the country with close to 118 crore Indians allotted a unique identity number.

While announcing the Union Budget 2018-19, finance minister Arun Jaitley said "The Government will now start a scheme where every enterprise will be assigned a unique id," as he outlined measures for increasing the ease of doing business in India.

Jaijit Bhattacharya, partner and head, economic, regulatory and policy advisory, KPMG in India told ET, "It will provide increased trackability and traceability to ensure that promoters don't take public money for a ride."

The finance minister however did not elaborate on the details of how the project will be implemented and which applications it will be used for. A government official said that it is very early for the details to emerge and the new scheme could be a build up of the existing Udyog Aadhaar project of the Ministry for small, medium and micro enterprises (MSME).

The MSME ministry launched the Udyog Aadhaar scheme in September 2015 and according to a report over 3 million enterprises across the country have obtained Udyog Aadhaar number.

The idea behind the number was to improve the ease of doing business and promoting formalisation of the MSME sector along with helping in creating a more data driven policy environment.

The official quoted above said that it is unclear if the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) will run the Aadhaar for Business feature since the Udyog Aadhaar was completey handled by the MSME ministry and UIDAI had no role to play in it.

It also remains to be seen how the business owners will react to it, since the Aadhaar for individuals is facing one of its biggest tests with the Supreme Court hearing a multitude of petitions which allege privacy violations and the creation of a Big Brother state due to the proliferation of the unique identity number.
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