Skip to main content

The Aadhaar confusion Voluntary yet mandatory

The Aadhaar confusion Voluntary yet mandatory
With the Supreme Court’s next hearing expected in November, one can wait for some more time before linking it to bank accounts and mobile numbers, say expertsIf you download the Aadhaar enrolment form from the Unique Identification Authority of India’s (UIDAI’s) website (https://goo.gl/zYVW76), at the top it states that “Aadhaar Enrolment is free and voluntary”.
But, the government is going all out to ensure this 12-digit unique identity number becomes a necessity. Everyone, including banks, mobile operators, and even jewellers, want it. In the latter case, the government was quick to step in and clarify that there was no need to provide the Aadhaar or PAN card for transactions above Rs 50,000. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley recently hinted that Aadhaar might be needed for travelling abroad and buying a car as well.
Meanwhile, banks and mobile operators are sending messages, which ‘request’ that you link it immediately, in rather intimidating language. Going by the government’s diktat, an individual cannot operate his mobile phone or do banking transactions from 2018, if he does not have Aadhaar.In June, the Supreme Court had said those who have Aadhaar need to furnish it for filing income-tax returns. It also said if one didn’t have an Aadhaar card, their PAN would not be cancelled for failure to comply.
It’s not that Aadhaar hasn’t done any good. Nandan Nilekani, former UIDAI chief and current non-executive chairman of technology major Infosys, recently said the Centre had managed to save Rs 9 billion (over Rs 58,000 crore) by eliminating fake and duplicate beneficiaries of government schemes through the Aadhaar programme. Legal question: On August 24, the Supreme Court had ruled the right to privacy was a fundamental one protected under Article 21 of the Constitution, which upholds the right to life. However, fundamental rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution are subject to reasonable restrictions. And, the imposition of Aadhaar still needs to pass the right to privacy test.
However, many believe the government making Aadhaar mandatory doesn’t have legal backing. “According to the Supreme Court’s order, Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory for anything. Every agency making it compulsory is violating the apex court’s order, as well as the Aadhaar Act, 2016. The SC had in fact asked the Centre to advertise across print, radio and electronic media that Aadhaar is voluntary,” says Gopal Krishna, convener of Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties, which campaigns against surveillance technologies.

If you don’t have an Aadhaar number or are uncomfortable linking all accounts to one identity, it’s best to FINANCIAL SECTOR HIGH VALUE PURCHASE IDENTITY wait for some time. The Supreme Court is hearing a slew of petitions challenging the legal validity of Aadhaar, which are clubbed into one. The next date for the hearing of the case is in the first week of November. So far, Aadhaar is voluntary: “The only reason the government is going against the Act and SC is to boost the numbers of enrolments.
When the case comes for the next hearing, the government can show that a high percentage Leakages, a worry: In August, the Bengaluru police caught a 31-yearold software developer who allegedly hacked and illegally accessed the UIDAI server and is suspected to have stolen data. If scammers get hold of such data, they can devise tricks to access your bank and other accounts.
There are already cases where criminals changed the mobile number linked to an Aadhaar and stole money from the linked bank accounts. It is done by tricking the person into revealing the one-time password he receives on mobile to change the mobile number linked to Aadhaar. Recently, a Right to Information (RTI) application filed by Bengaluru-based Matthew Thomas revealed that contracts signed with foreign firms by the UIDAI give foreign firms ‘full access’ to classified data, including fingerprints, iris scan info, and personal information like date of birth, address, and mobile number of applicants. They were also allowed to store the data for seven years.
In such circumstances, a person has limited options. “Ask the institution to show you the notification or communication that states Aadhaar is mandatory,” says Wilfred D’Costa, Convenor at Indian Social Action Forum. New customers need to cite the SC’s orders in the letter. They also need to tell the organisations that their request is in violation of the court’s order and therefore not legal. They cannot mandate Aadhaar until the SC passes the final order. Also point out that according to the Aadhaar Act, it’s voluntary to enrol for it.
The Business Standard, New Delhi, 16th October 2017

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

RBI minutes show MPC members flagged upside risks to inflation

RBI minutes show MPC members flagged upside risks to inflation Concerns about economic growth and easing inflation prompted five of the six monetary policy committee (MPC) members to call for a cut in the repo rate, but most warned that prices could start accelerating, show the minutes of the panel’s last meeting, released on Wednesday. The comments reflected a tone of caution and flagged upside risks to inflation from farm loan waivers, rise in food prices, especially vegetables, price revisions withheld ahead of the goods and services tax, implementation of house rent allowance under the 7th pay commission and fading of favourable base effect, among others. On 2 August, the panel chose to cut the repurchase rate—the rate at which the central bank infuses liquidity in the banking system—by 25 basis points to 6%. One basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point. Pami Dua, professor at the Delhi School of Economics, wrote that her analysis showed “a fading economic growth outlook, as …

Shrinking footprints of foreign banks in India

Shrinking footprints of foreign banks in India Foreign banks are increasingly shrinking their presence in India and are also becoming more conservative than private and public sector counterparts. While many of them have sold some of their businesses in India as part of their global strategy, some are trying to keep their core expertise intact. Others are branching out to newer areas to continue business momentum.For example, HSBC and Barclays Bank in India have got out of the retail business, whereas corporate-focused Standard Chartered Bank is now trying to increase its focus on retail “Building a retail franchise is a huge exercise and takes a long time. You cannot afford to lose it,” said Shashank Joshi, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ’s India head.According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data, foreign banks’ combined loan book shrunk nearly 10 per cent from Rs 3.78 trillion in fiscal 2015-16 to Rs 3.42 trillion last financial year. The banking industry, which includes foreign banks…

Differential Tax Levy under GST: Food Firms May De-Register Trademarks

Differential Tax Levy under GST:Food Firms May De-Register Trademarks The government’s decision to charge an enhanced tax rate on trademark food brands is leading several rice, wheat and cereal manufacturers to consider de-registering their product trademarks. Irked by the June 28 central government notification fixing a 5 per cent goods and services tax (GST) rate on food items packaged in unit containers and bearing registered brand names, the industry has made several representations to the government to reconsider the differential tax levy, which these players say is creating an unlevel playing field within these highly-competitive and low-margin industries. Sources say that the move has affected the packaged rice industry the hardest and allowed the un-registered market leaders, India Gate and Daawat, to gain advantage as compared to other registered brands such as Kohinoor and Lal Qilla. Smaller players are even more worried with this enhanced rate of tax (against the otherwise …