Cabinet Approves Aadhaar Bill; claims it is people friendly

New Delhi: The Cabinet has approved the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which establishes that no individual can be compelled to provide proof of Aadhaar number unless provided by law, and the Aadhaar number on voluntary basis shall be accepted as KYC document.

The Bill replaces Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019, and it will be introduced in the scheduled Parliament session in June.

Claiming the Bill people-friendly and citizen-centric, the government said it will enable UIDAI to have a more robust mechanism to serve public interest and act as a deterrent against the misuse of Aadhaar.

“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”, said a statement by the government.

The Bill will help public, in opening bank accounts, to use of Aadhaar number for authentication on voluntary basis as acceptable KYC document.

The amendment will allow voluntary use of Aadhaar number in physical or electronic form by authentication or offline verification with the consent of Aadhaar number holder. And, it also allows the use of twelve-digit Aadhaar number and its alternative virtual identity to conceal the actual Aadhaar number of an individual. The Bill provides option to children, who are Aadhaar number holders, to cancel it on attaining adult-age.

In a major improvement, the Bill will permit the entities to perform authentication only when they are compliant with the standards of privacy and security specified by the Authority, and the authentication is permitted under any law made by Parliament.

“Prevents denial of services for refusing to, or being unable to, undergo authentication; Provides for establishment of Unique Identification Authority of India Fund; and provides for civil penalties, its adjudication, appeal thereof in regard to violations of Aadhaar Act and provisions by entities in the Aadhaar ecosystem”, said the statement by the government.

The Bill is strengthening of the Aadhaar Act as per the directions of the Supreme Court and recommendations of former Justice B.N.Srikrishna Committee.