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Parliament passes Aadhaar Amendment Bill - Here's what you need to know

Parliament passed the Aadhaar Amendment Bill which allows voluntary use of Aadhaar as proof of identity for users to open bank accounts and get a mobile phone connection. It may be noted that the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019,
was passed by Rajya Sabha by a voice vote.

The amendment provides for a stiff Rs 1 crore penalty and a jail term for private entities who violate provisions on Aadhaar data. The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019, was introduced in Lok Sabha on June 24. The amendments provide for use of Aadhaar number for KYC authentication on a voluntary basis under the Telegraph Act, 1885, and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

The Union Cabinet approved “The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill last month to replace the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019. The amendments proposed are the same as those in the ordinance. 

Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asserted that the government will soon bring a comprehensive law on the data protection. "We will bring a comprehensive data protection law. Data sovereignty is integral to us and it will never be compromised," he said. The union minister also mentioned that the architecture of Aadhaar was not altered and just the concerned law was changed.

The amendments:

1. Provide for voluntary use of Aadhaar number in physical or electronic form by authentication or offline verification with the consent of Aadhaar number holder.

2. Provide for use of twelve-digit Aadhaar number and its alternative virtual identity to conceal the actual Aadhaar number of an individual.

3. Give an option to children who are Aadhaar number holders to cancel their Aadhaar number on attaining the age of eighteen years.

4. 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 or is prescribed to be in the interest of the state by the central government.

5. Allow the use of Aadhaar number for authentication on a voluntary basis as an acceptable KYC document.

6. Propose deletion of section 57 of the Aadhaar Act relating to the use of Aadhaar by private entities.

7. Prevent denial of services for refusing to, or being unable to, undergo authentication.

8. Provide for the establishment of the Unique Identification Authority of India Fund.

9. Provide for civil penalties, its adjudication, appeal thereof in regard to violations of Aadhaar Act and provisions by entities in the Aadhaar ecosystem.

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