On Saturday, the Reserve Bank of India clarified that it was mandatory for bank account holders to link their Aadhaar number. As per the Prevention of Money Laundering Second Amendment Rules, 2017, customers who wish to open a bank account must furnish their Aadhaar details, and existing bank account holders need to link their Aadhaar number by 31 December 2017.
The RBI issued this notice following a video that went viral on social media stating that the RBI had not given any directive to banks to make it mandatory to link Aadhaar. The RBI dismissed these reports, clarifying that all bank accounts require Aadhaar seeding by 31 December, and failure to do so will render the accounts inoperable.
In the 2017 Budget, the Government made it compulsory for Aadhaar to be linked to PAN, in an effort to eliminate those evading taxes by using multiple PANs.
In June 2017, the anti-money laundering laws were amended. The RBI stated that these amendments have statutory force which means banks need not wait for further instructions and must enforce them immediately. As per the new rules, individuals, partnership firms or companies must furnish Aadhaar details along with Form 60 or PAN for financial transactions of Rs.50,000 and above.
Aadhaar, which is a 12-digit unique identification number, has come to be the largest programme for biometric IDs in the world. However, many have put forth their concerns of infringement of privacy, dangers of hackers stealing important information, and the possibilities of identity theft.
A fresh petition filed in the Supreme Court on 14 October of this year challenged the decision made by the Government to link Aadhaar to bank accounts and mobile numbers.
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