After the landmark Supreme Court verdict on Aadhaar in September, the cabinet has approved necessary changes to the Aadhaar law. This means that you will not have to link your bank account or mobile number with Aadhaar or give the 12-digit number for school admissions and other private services.
Earlier, it was mandatory to provide Aadhaar details for a host of services and welfare measures. However, this key change will enable the Aadhaar holder to refuse to share details for opening a bank account or getting a cellphone SIM card.
Aadhaar, however, is still necessary for PAN and welfare schemes.
Aadhaar is compulsory for filing Income Tax return, so you must link it with your PAN number. PAN-Aadhaar linking deadline is March 31, 2019.
Aadhaar-Welfare Schemes Linking:
If you wish to avail the benefits from government's welfare schemes and subsidies, you must link them with Aadhaar.
The amended law is expected to get Parliament's nod in the winter session. Going forward, the law is likely to be amended further to safeguard personal data and ensure the privacy of the Aadhaar holder.
Aadhaar is a unique 12-digit identification number issued to individuals by the UIDAI after storing their biometrics data. The UIDAI uses iris and fingerprint scans to obtain bio-metric data from an applicants and stores it in a database. It was launched in India in 2009 to streamline welfare payments and reduce wastage in public spending.
Over one billion Indians have already signed up for Aadhaar. The Unique Identification Number was earlier made compulsory for bank accounts, PAN cards, cellphone services, passport and even driving licenses as an overarching proof of identity and residence but after the Supreme Court verdict and amendment in laws, linking it to bank accounts, phones and other private services has become optional.