Monday, December 17, 2018

Aadhaar to be voluntary for mobile, bank accounts

The government on Monday decided to move amendments to at least three laws to allow voluntary use of Aadhaar for getting a mobile connection or opening bank accounts. At the same time, consumers will have the option to use any other identity or address proof for availing of these services.
Telecom firms and banks insisting on Aadhaar as the sole identity and address proof, instead of allowing consumers looking to get a mobile connection or open an account use their passport or ration card, will be liable to a penalty of up to Rs 1 crore and jail sentences for concerned staffers — ranging from three to 10 years.
The Union Cabinet has proposed amendments to The Telegraph Act, Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and Aadhaar Act in what was described as a move to provide convenience to individuals who were willing to share their details. The amendments will once again open the doors for e-KYC, a biometric authentication facility for those who are open to sharing their Aadhaar details.
The plan will also help telecom companies, banks and financial technology firms, which were worried about massive paperwork after the Supreme Court ordered that Aadhaar could not be mandatory for services other than direct benefit transfer, social welfare schemes or issuing of the permanent account number (PAN) by the income tax department. The apex court had said the provision in the law had no legal backing, though it had held constitutional validity of Aadhaar for the distribution of state-sponsored welfare subsidies.
The amendments proposed by the government also include a provision that gives a child the option to withdraw her Aadhaar details and thereby ask the Unique Authority of India (UIDAI) to strike down all the details from its servers once she turns 18.

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