To provide legal backing for voluntary seeding of biometric Aadhaar ID with mobile numbers and bank accounts after the Supreme Court barred mandatory use of the 12-digit unique identifier by private firms. The government on Wednesday introduced an amendment bill in Lok Sabha.
“Let me clarify at the outset that the proposed amendment is done in compliance with the Supreme Court judgement. It (linking) is not mandatory at all,” Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said while clarifying amendments.
Regarding privacy issue, he said privacy is “not being invaded at all” from these amendments.
The parallel authentication norms are there to safeguard privacy issues, he added.
“We should not forget that Aadhaar has led to saving of Rs 90,000 crore” through Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT), the minister said, adding multilateral organisations such as World Bank and IMF have hailed Aadhaar as a unique innovation of India.
The Minister said these objections are “misplaced” and “we are not violating the Supreme Court” judgement.
He was answering the questions raised by opposition regarding Supreme Court’s judgement.
Under the amendments, an Aadhaar holder can opt for offline verification through QR code and will not require sharing his or her actual Aadhaar number.
The Supreme Court had struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act that made seeding of the biometric ID with SIMs and bank accounts mandatory, saying it had no legal backing.