Lok Sabha passes Aadhaar, Companies Amendment Bill

The Lok Sabha on January 4, 2019, passed Aadhaar and other laws (Amendment Bill) 2018 and Companies Amendment Bill 2018. The lower house of the parliament passed the Aadhaar bill to amend the Aadhaar Act and two related laws, which will allow individuals to offer voluntarily biometric ID as a means of identity verification for obtaining services such as opening the bank account and procuring mobile phone connection.

Key Highlights:-

1. The bill seeks to amend the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002.
2. The bill proposes changes in the laws to comply with a Supreme Court judgment pronounced on September 26. 2018, in which it upheld the constitutional validity of the unique identification project with certain restrictions and changes. The court had then prohibited the compulsory use of Aadhaar-based KYC for mobile connections and bank accounts.
3. The bill also gives a minor the option to opt out of the 12-digit identity scheme on attaining the age of 18 years. It also provides for stiff penalties for violation of norms set for the use of Aadhaar.
4. Further, it bans storing of core biometric information as well as Aadhaar number by service providers in cases of individuals who have voluntarily offered the national ID as a means of authentication.
5. It also makes it clear that anyone not offering Aadhaar cannot be denied any service, be it a bank account or a SIM card.
6. The legislation proposes telecom service providers, apart from using Aadhaar for authentication, can also leverage off-line verification, use of a passport, or any other officially valid document or modes of identification as notified by the central Government.

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