UIDAI eases norms on enrolment centres after bankers’ opposition

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The clarification comes a month after UIDAI made it mandatory for banks to act as both the Aadhaar registrar and enrolment agency. Photo: Mint

Mumbai: A month after the Indian Banks’ Association questioned the jurisdiction of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) in issuing directions to banks, the UIDAI has relaxed its policy of appointing banks as Aadhaar enrolment agencies.

According to a circular issued on 9 November, the UIDAI has allowed banks to outsource enrolment to third-party agencies provided enrolment happens inside bank premise under the direct supervision of designated bank employees who have to sign off on the enrolment process.

“The bank shall be required to engage one of its employees as supervisor-cum-verifier for every enrolment centre that will biometrically authenticate the enrolment done in the branches as per the UIDAI process laid down by Aadhaar (Enrolment and Update) Regulation 2016,” said the circular, a copy of which has been reviewed by Mint.

The clarification comes a month after UIDAI made it mandatory for banks to act as both the Aadhaar registrar and enrolment agency.

UIDAI had also said banks should not engage with private agencies for Aadhaar enrolment of their customers. However, banks led by the Indian Banks’ Association had objected to this decision as enrolment was not the primary role of a bank.

“Though data entry work for Aadhaar enrolment can now be outsourced, the process has to be tightly controlled by banks. In fact, asking bank employees to supervise the enrolment process will also ensure that fictitious bank accounts or bank accounts with fictitious address or other details are not opened. This will help banks get rid of fictitious and ghost banks accounts which are used for frauds including loan frauds, tax evasion and money laundering, etc,” said Ajay Bhushan Pandey, chief executive officer of UIDAI.

Although enrolment rules have been relaxed, banks will have to complete the task of linking the Aadhaar unique identity number to every bank account by 31 December. In June, the government had amended the Prevention of Money Laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules, 2005, requiring Aadhaar to be linked to every bank account, failing which the accounts will become inoperative.

“Bankers will not be able to verify all the documents. Since it’s a government activity, why are only banks asked to do the enrolment process? Other government departments, which are easily accessible to public, including panchayat offices, should be also asked to do the enrolment,” said a senior banker seeking anonymity.

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