The Cabinet has cleared a Bill to allow voluntary use of Aadhaar as identity proof for opening bank accounts and procuring mobile phone connections. It is to make Aadhaar more user-friendly, the Union Cabinet approved the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill 2019 to replace Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2019.
“This move will make Aadhaar number for authentication as acceptable Know your customer (KYC) document for opening the bank accounts,”Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar, who briefed the media on the Cabinet decisions said.
The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019 will be introduced in the ensuing session of Parliament, beginning June 17.The Bill will now also allow children to cancel their Aadhaar number on attaining the age of 18. This means it will allow voluntary use of Aadhaar number for authentication and identity proof in opening of bank accounts and procuring of mobile phone connections.
“The decision would enable UIDAI to have a more robust mechanism to serve the public interest and restrain the misuse of Aadhar. Subsequent to this amendment, no individual shall be compelled to provide proof of possession of Aadhaar number or undergo authentication for the purpose of establishing his identity unless it is so provided by a law made by Parliament,” Javadekar said.
The changes proposed include a civil penalty of up to ₹1 crore on entities that violate the provisions of the Aadhaar Act, with an additional fine of up to ₹10 lakh per day in case of continuous non compliance. Unauthorised use of identity information by a requesting entity or offline verification seeking entity would be punishable with imprisonment of up to three years with a fine that may extend to ₹10,000 or in case of a company with a fine of up to ₹1 lakh. Punishment for unauthorised access to the Central Identities Data Repository as well as data tampering is proposed to be extended to 10 years each from the current three years.