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Aadhaar details will be optional for bank accounts, SIM-cards soon

On the first day of the Winter Session of the Parliament, the Modi government has decided to make Aadhaar details optional for those applying for new mobile connections and those opening new bank accounts.

A cabinet note seeking requisite amendments to the Aadhaar Act, 2016 has reportedly already been moved in the Parliament.
What amendments the government is looking to make

The main amendment in the Aadhaar Act, 2016 would be to delete Section 57 of the Act. Deleting this particular section would make the use of Aadhaar optional.

However, the department of electronics and information technology has argued against the proposed move, saying that Aadhaar has become the sole identity for a large section of the population, and making it optional could be disruptive.

Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act enabled not only the state, but also "any body corporate or person" to demand Aadhaar details for identification. The section essentially gave statutory support to private companies like telecom companies, banks etc. to ask for Aadhaar details from customers.

Other proposed changes to the Aadhaar Act involve provisions to ensure tighter data security.

The UIDAI, for its part, would seek minimal personal data for Aadhaar enrolment, and authentication has to be done by two entities in offline mode.

Additionally, new rules would also ensure that disclosure of Aadhaar data cannot be ordered by any entity below the High Court level.

The government is also looking to turn UIDAI into an independent authority that will have the requisite manpower and financial resources required to keep pace with changing technologies.

Further, UIDAI's regulatory powers are likely to be increased, and will include the power to penalize people and organizations that demand Aadhaar data without approval.

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