To expedite Aadhaar enrolment process, UIDAI on Monday asked banks to install fingerprint and iris scanners in 10 per cent of their branches to enable people with no Aadhaar to get the Aadhaar (enrollment facility) in the bank itself. The Supreme Court also extended the deadline for Aadhaar linking on Friday with all government-sponsored welfare schemes and services to March 31, 2018.
The court verdict came days after the government expressed its willingness to extend the date for mandatory linking of unique identification number to avail the benefit of state-run services. The SC also said the bank account could be opened without Aadhaar but account holders would have to deposit proof that they had applied for Aadhaar Card. The government had earlier set a deadline of December 31 for linking Aadhaar with several financial services and welfare schemes. The apex court will commence the final hearing on the petitions challenging the Aadhaar scheme itself from January 17, 2018.
"We will continuously work to simplify the Aadhaar linking process. We have asked all the banks to provide Aadhaar fingerprint and iris scanners in stipulated bank branch, so that people do not have difficulty (in enrolling)," Ajay Bhushan Pandey, the CEO of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), said, adding that information on bank branches having Aadhaar enrolment facility was available on the UIDAI website.
"So far, more than 3,000 enrolment centres have already been set up in bank branches all over the country and overall they have to set up (enrolment facility) in 14,000 bank branches," he said, adding that the notifications issued by the government under the Aadhaar Act and the PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) rules were in line with the SC order on Friday.
The government had earlier fixed a December-31 deadline for linking the 12-digit Aadhaar number with bank accounts, PAN card and other welfare schemes for the poor. Recently, a nine-judge constitution bench of the apex court had held that Right to Privacy was a Fundamental Right under the Constitution. Several petitioners challenging the validity of Aadhaar had claimed it violated privacy rights. Arguing for the petitioners, senior advocate Shyam Divan said the government's stand was increasingly ambiguous on the plight of existing Aadhaar holders who didn't want to link their Aadhaar.