Aadhaar Linking in India – Now a Mandatory Requirement
Update: This article was written before the Supreme Court made linking of Aadhaar with private services illegal. For details on the Supreme Court judgement on Aadhaar, please click here.
Aadhaar has become one of India’s most convoluted government policies in recent times.
Even as the Supreme Court continues to hear a batch of petitions challenging the legal validity of Aadhaar, the Narendra Modi government has aggressively pushed people in India to acquire the 12-digit unique identification number.
Additionally, it has made it mandatory to link the Aadhaar number to all banking and financial identification and documents, to avail government services.
The government has rationalized this policy by way of its crackdown on black money in the country: linking the biometric Aadhaar identification will curb the existence of counterfeit accounts and prevent money laundering in India.
The issue of data privacy, however, continues to remain a contentious issue.
Given below is a list of accounts and services that must be linked to your 12-digit Aadhaar number – within the stipulated deadline – to avoid discontinuation of services.
The government has made it mandatory for every Indian bank account holder to link their bank accounts with Aadhaar number.
The deadline for doing this is December 31, 2017; post the deadline the de-linked accounts will cease to be operational.
Mobile SIM cards
As per the government directive, telecom operators across India are required to verify all mobile subscribers via Aadhaar-based e-Know Your Customer (KYC). Accordingly, it is mandatory for every new mobile subscriber to provide Aadhaar details while buying new mobile connections.
The last date for linking the existing mobile number with Aadhaar is February 6, 2018.
The government had earlier notified that the taxpayers filing income tax returns after July 1, 2017, would be mandatorily required to link their Permanent Account Number (PAN) with Aadhaar for their returns to be processed.
The extended deadline for taxpayers to comply with this directive is December 31, 2017.
Mutual fund investments
Mutual fund investors, too, are required to link their Aadhaar numbers with their respective accounts. This follows a recent amendment in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) Rules, 2017.
Currently, the deadline for linking mutual funds with Aadhaar is December 31, 2017.
From June 30, 2017, the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) has made it compulsory for its pensioners to submit their Aadhaar numbers. Those who are eligible for pension under the scheme must furnish their Aadhaar details to comply with the EPFO directive.
From October 1, 2017, the government has made it compulsory for the dead person’s Aadhaar number to be linked with their death certificates – to prevent identity fraud and ensure the accuracy of the details of the deceased.
If the deceased did not have an Aadhaar number, the relatives must provide an application stating the same. False declarations will be regarded as an offense under the Aadhaar Act and the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969. Relatives applying for the death certificate will also need to furnish their Aadhaar number to maintain the record.
Social security schemes
Aadhaar is mandatory to avail benefits of several other social security schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, Atal Pension Yojana, and Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana. The deadline to furnish Aadhaar details to avail such benefits is December 31, 2017.
Further, there are the documents and accounts where linking Aadhaar number is not mandatory yet. The holders of such accounts may, however, link their Aadhaar number to simplify the administrative procedures and benefit from enhanced services.
Driving license and registration of new vehicles
In order to curb the issue of fake licenses and recover stolen vehicles, the government has enabled services to link the driving license and the registration of a vehicle with the Aadhaar number of the owner. Though it is not mandatory to link biometric details with the driving license as yet, the linkage will help prevent such illegal practices.
Using the details furnished in Aadhaar, the EPFO aims to reduce the time taken to settle provident fund (PF) claims and go paperless. Beneficiaries linking Aadhaar to their PF account will be able to apply for a claim under the scheme within five days, as opposed to over a month without linking the Aadhaar.