Thursday, 13 June 2019

Aadhaar Amendment Bill 2019 gets Cabinet nod - details here

PM Narendra Modi led Cabinet ordered a big change to be effected in norms. In fact, the Union Cabinet today made it quite people friendly and cleared 'The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019' to replace the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2019.
According to the new provisions, no individual would be compelled to provide proof of Aadhaar card number unless provided by law, and it would be accepted as KYC document only on voluntary basis.

The decision is expected to go a long way in making the Aadhaar card citizen centric. The salient features of the amendments are given below, according to the government statement.

1. It provides for voluntary use of Aadhaar card number in physical or electronic form by authentication or offline verification with the consent of Aadhaar  number holder.
2. Provides for use of twelve-digit Aadhaar number and its alternative virtual identity to conceal the actual Aadhaar number of an individual.
3. Gives an option to children who are Aadhaar number holders to cancel their Aadhaar number on attaining the age of eighteen years.
4. Permits 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 or is prescribed to be in the interest of State by the Central government.
5. Allows the use of Aadhaar number for authentication on voluntary basis as acceptable KYC document under the Telegraph Act, 1885 and the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002.
6. Proposes deletion of section 57 of the Aadhaar Act relating to use of Aadhaar by private entities.
7. Prevents denial of services for refusing to, or being unable to, undergo authentication.
8. Provides for establishment of Unique Identification Authority of India Fund.
9. Provides for civil penalties, its adjudication, appeal thereof in regard to violations of Aadhaar Act and provisions by entities in the Aadhaar ecosystem.

Notably, the decision would enable UIDAI to have a more robust mechanism to serve the public interest and restrain the misuse of Aadhaar. Following 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.

The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019 was considered by the Cabinet in its meeting held on 28th February, 2019 and the Ordinance was promulgated on 2nd March 2019.


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