Now use of Aadhaar to be volunatry

NEW DELHI, JUL 8 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 7/8/2019 12:11:20 PM IST

Parliament on Monday passed an amendment bill which allows voluntary use of Aadhaar as proof of identity for users to open bank accounts and get mobile phone connection. The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019, was passed by Rajya Sabha by a voice vote.

The Bill, which also provides for a stiff Rs 1 crore penalty and a jail term for private entities violating provisions on Aadhaar data, was already passed by Lok Sabha on July 4.

The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019, was introduced in Lok Sabha on June 24.

The amendments provide for use of Aadhaar number for KYC authentication on voluntary basis under the Telegraph Act, 1885, and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. The passage of the Bill means that people will now be able to open bank accounts and get new mobile connection without showing their Aadhaar card. 

It also gives option to children to exit from the biometric ID programme on attaining 18 years of age, while stipulating stiff penalties for violation of norms set for the use of Aadhaar and violation of privacy. 

It had also barred private companies from using the unique identity number for authenticating customers. Citing privacy concerns, the apex court had last year said that it was not mandatory for customers to link their Aadhaar number with their respective bank accounts or mobile phone numbers.

During the debate on the Bill in Rajya Sabha, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday said that people like Bill Gates and Thomas Friedman are appreciating Aadhar. He assured that House that the government is not going to change the architecture of Aadhaar and is focused on only changing the concerned law.

Prasad also said that a comprehensive data protection law will be introduced by the Centre because the government considers data sovereignty a very important thing and will ensure that it is never compromised. “We will bring a comprehensive data protection law. Data sovereignty is integral to us and it will never be compromised,” Prasad said in Rajya Sabha.

The amendments in the law will enable the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI)—the authority responsible for issuing Aadhaar numbers—to hold back the misuse of 12 digit identification number.


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