March 31, 2018 is the last date to link Aadhaar card or the 12-digit Unique Identity Number with various government schemes and financial services. These range from PAN card, bank accounts and mobile SIMs to mutual fund investments and small savings schemes such as PPF (Public Provident Fund) and KVP (Kisan Vikas Patra). The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) – the issuer of the 12-digit Aadhaar number or Unique Identity Number (UID) as well as Aadhaar card – has in a communication dated January 14, 2018 sought to address some frequently asked questions (FAQs).
Here are some of the FAQs about Aadhaar which card holders need to know, according to UIDAI,
1. The UIDAI has all my data including biometrics, bank account, PAN etc. Will it be used to track my activities?
Absolutely false. UIDAI database has only the following information –
(a) Your name, address, DOB, gender, date of birth
(b) Ten finger prints, two IRIS scans, facial photograph
(c) Mobile number and email ID
Rest assured, UIDAI does not have your information about family, caste, religion, education, bank accounts, shares, mutual funds, financial and property details, health records etc and will never have these information in its database.
In fact, Section 32(3) of the Aadhaar Act 2016 specifically prohibits UIDAI from controlling, collecting, keeping or maintaining any information about the purpose of authentication either by itself or through any entity.
2. When I link my bank accounts, shares, mutual funds and mobile phones with Aadhaar, will the UIDAI not get this information?
Absolutely not. When you give Aadhaar number to your banks, mutual fund companies, mobile phone companies, they only send Aadhaar number, your biometrics (given at the time authentication) and your name etc to UIDAI for verification for your identity. They do not send your bank account or its details to UIDAI.
So far as UIDAI is concerned, it responds to such verification requests by replying either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. In few cases, if the verification answer is ‘Yes’, your basic KYC details (name, address, photo etc.) available with UIDAI are sent to the service provider.
3. Why am I being asked to link all my bank accounts with Aadhaar?
For your own security, it is necessary to verify identity of all bank account holders and link them with Aadhaar to weed out the accounts being operated by fraudsters, money-launderers, criminals etc. When every bank account is verified and linked with Aadhaar and then If anyone fraudulently withdraws money from your account, through Aadhaar such fraudster can easily be located and punished.
Therefore, by linking your bank accounts with Aadhaar, your accounts becomes more secure and not the other way around.
4. Do NRIs need Aadhaar for banking, mobile, PAN and other services?
Aadhaar is only for residents of India. NRIs are not eligible to get Aadhaar. The respective service providers like banks and mobile companies have laid down NRI-specific exemptions. NRIs should simply tell the banks and other service providers such as credit card companies etc that they are not required to provide Aadhaar numbers by virtue of being non-resident Indians.
5. Why am I being asked to verify and link my mobile numbers with Aadhaar?
For your own security and security of our country, it is necessary to verify identity of all mobile subscribers and link them with Aadhaar to weed out mobile numbers being operated by fraudsters, money-launderers, criminals etc. It has been found that most criminals and terrorists get SIM cards issued in the name of fictitious and even real people without their knowledge and use them for committing frauds and crime. When every mobile number is verified and linked with Aadhaar, then fraudsters, criminals, and terrorists using mobiles can be easily identified and punished in accordance with law.
6. Can the mobile company store my biometrics taken at the time of SIM verification and use them for other purposes later?
No one, including mobile phone companies, can store or use your biometrics taken at the time of Aadhaar verification and linking. The biometrics are encrypted as soon as Aadhaar holder places his finger on fingerprint sensor and this encrypted data is sent to UIDAI for verification.
Regulation 17(1)(a) of the Aadhaar (Authentication) Regulations 2016, strictly prohibits any requesting entity which includes mobile phone companies, banks etc from storing, sharing or publishing the finger-prints for any reason whatsoever and neither shall it retain any copy of such fingerprints. Any violation of this provision is a punishable offence under the Aadhaar Act 2016.
7. Some agencies are not accepting e-Aadhaar. They insist on original Aadhaar. Why?
e-Aadhaar (downloaded Aadhaar) from UIDAI website is as legally valid as original Aadhaar issued by UIDAI . Both should be acceptable by all Agencies. In fact downloaded e-Aadhaar has updated address etc. of the Aadhaar holders and therefore should be preferable. If anyone refuses to accept downloaded e-Aadhaar, the Aadhaar holder may lodge complaints with higher authorities of those departments/agencies.