Govt extends time for Aadhaar linking of bank accounts, phone numbers

The government today announced an extension of the deadline for linking Aadhaar details of citizens to bank accounts and mobile phone numbers from 31 December to 31 March or for another six months in case of fresh accounts.

''After considering various representations received and inputs received from banks, it has been decided to notify 31 March 2018 or six months from the date of commencement of account based relationship by the client, whichever is later, as the date of submission of the Aadhaar number, and Permanent Account Number or Form 60 by the clients to the reporting entity,'' an official release stated.

The move came as the Supreme Court hears a number of cases over a controversial identification project based on biometric details and rolled out by the government nationwide, known as Aadhaar.

Initially created to facilitate citizens access government services, Aadhaar details have subsequently been deemed mandatory for the almost all services including opening of new bank accounts and the provision of telephone numbers.

The approaching deadline has brought numerous reports of banks and telephone companies showering people with reminders, fanning the fears of many that the authorities may freeze their accounts.

On Wednesday, the finance ministry amended its rules on India's prevention of money-laundering act, saying a new deadline would be announced later. It gave no reasons for the change.

It may be recalled that earlier under the provisions of Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Second Amendment Rules, 2017, published in the Extraordinary Gazette of India vide G.S.R. 538 (E) dated 01.06.2017, it was provided that in case the client, eligible to be enrolled for Aadhaar and obtain a Permanent Account Number does not submit the Aadhaar number or the Permanent Account Number at the time of commencement of an account based relationship with a reporting entity, the client shall submit the same within a period of six months from the date of the commencement of the account based relationship.

Provided that the clients, eligible to be enrolled for Aadhaar and obtain the Permanent Account Number, already having an account based relationship with reporting entities prior to date of this notification, the client shall submit the Aadhaar number and Permanent Account Number by 31 December 2017.

In case the client fails to submit the Aadhaar number and Permanent Account Number within the aforesaid six months period, the said account shall cease to be operational till the time the Aadhaar number and Permanent Account Number is submitted by the client.

Provided that in case client already having an account based relationship with reporting entities prior to date of this notification fails to submit the Aadhaar number and Permanent Account Number by 31 December, 2017, the said account shall cease to be operational till the time the Aadhaar number and Permanent Account Number is submitted by the client.