Centre extends deadline for linking Aadhaar with bank accounts to March 31
The government had made quoting of the 12-digit biometric identifier Aadhaar mandatory for old and new bank accounts as well as for any financial transaction of Rs 50,000 and above.india Updated: Dec 13, 2017 23:32 IST
The government on Wednesday extended till March 31, 2018 the deadline for linking Aadhaar to bank accounts, ahead of the Supreme Court hearing a batch of petitions challenging the proposed mandatory linking of the biometric identity with various schemes and services.
The government announcement came a day after it amended the Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules, 2005 to put off the earlier deadline, December 31, till a new date was fixed.
An official statement said the new date was fixed “after considering various representations received and inputs received from banks”.
The government is pushing for wide use of the 12-digit Aadhaar which it says is necessary to plug leakages and corruption in various welfare schemes and for national security.
Critics and activists question Aadhaar linking on the ground that it infringed upon their privacy, which they contended was a right guaranteed by the Constitution. On August 24, a nine-judge bench declared privacy was a fundamental right.
Besides other schemes, the government has also mandated a February 6, 2018 deadline for linking mobile numbers with Aadhaar (see chart).
The Supreme Court said on Wednesday a five-judge constitution bench will hear pleas on Thursday seeking an interim stay on mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various government schemes and welfare measures. The same day, the top court will also take up an interim application challenging the move to link Aadhaar to insurance policies.
The government also clarified in a notification issued on Tuesday that those opening new banks accounts will have to submit their Aadhaar details to banks within six months.
The new rule replaces the requirement of submitting “the Aadhaar number and Permanent Account Number by December 31, 2017” with a provision saying “submit the Aadhaar number, and Permanent Account Number or Form No. 60, by such date as may be notified by the Central Government”.
While the 12-digit Aadhaar is issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), PAN is allotted by the Income Tax Department. Form 60 is a declaration filed by an individual who does not have a PAN and who enters into any specified transaction.
Apart from linking of Aadhaar to bank accounts, there are 45 other government welfare schemes such as the midday meal scheme, targeted public distribution system (PDS) and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) on which there is no clarity.
The Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) forms the core of the legal framework put in place by India to combat money laundering and generation of black money.
The PMLA and its rules impose an obligation on reporting entities like banks, financial institutions and intermediaries to verify the identity of clients, maintain records and furnish information to the Financial Intelligence Unit of India (FIU-IND).
(With agency inputs)