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RBI for Making Aadhaar Sole Platform for Financial Inclusion

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Mumbai: A senior Reserve Bank of India (RBI) official on Tuesday called for resolution of issues regarding legality of Aadhaar project at the earliest, so that the unique identity number provided by it can become the sole platform for the financial inclusion programme including direct cash transfers.

"We need to resolve the issues regarding the legality of the Aadhaar number so that this can be the sole number for any financial transactions ... Then the whole financial inclusion programme, including the direct benefit transfers, can be rolled out without hitches and any duplication," RBI Executive Director Deepali Pant-Joshi said at an event organised by Dun & Bradsheet in Mumbai.

The Supreme Court recently invalidated making of Aadhaar enrolment a precondition for government benefits.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to kick off an ambitious financial inclusion drive on Thursday, which aims to bring 7.5 crore additional households under the banking system by FY18.

Ms Pant-Joshi also said that e-KYC (know your customer) matched with the Aadhaar would be a sufficient proof for bank account opening.

Discounting the fear that financial inclusion accounts can be misused for money-laundering, she said there is no logic behind the fear, as there would hardly be any incentives to do so. A basic savings account can transact only a maximum of Rs 50,000 a month, a petty amount from money launderer's point of view.

She also dismissed the fear amongst bankers that financial inclusion accounts would lead to more NPAs.

Over 90 per cent of the 4.1 per cent gross NPAs are created by large corporates, she said.

"Among the poorer sections, only 4.4 per cent of total NPAs are from the farm sector, while the share of the MSMEs is only 5.2 per cent. So where is the poor retail customers creating bad loans in the system? NPAs are not a creation of the poor but the rich," she said.

Meanwhile, Indian Banks Association chief executive Mohan Tanksale said that worries about misuse of Aadhaar-linked accounts were misplaced.

"Already 63 crore people spanning 23 states are on the Aadhaar platform and only the rest of the states and a few crore people are on the National Population Registry. What we need is a uniform platform and the Aadhaar is the best available option," Mr Taksale said.

UIDAI western region deputy director general Ajay Bhushan Pandey said that the UID Authority has enrolled 73 crore people and is enrolling 2 million more every day.



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