Govt to Aadhaar-link all savings bank accounts in digital push

The government proposes to link all savings bank accounts with the Aadhar numbers of account holders to enable digital transactions in move that would also benefit those who do not have a mobile phone connection at present.

Aadhaar linking of primary bank accounts, which will give an impetus to cashless transactions at the grassroots level, especially at retail points, has been approved by PM Narendra Modi, sources said.

There are an estimated 300 million people who do not have a mobile phone connection and the Aadhaar connection will help them to be connected to the digital economy, official sources pointed out.

The finance ministry and the information technology ministry have been tasked with implementation of the scheme, sources added.

Speaking at the WebRatna awards function ICT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "The higher the linkages with the Aadhaar number, the more we have in terms of seamless digital transactions."

Sources said that of the 1.12 billion estimated bank accounts across the country, only around 400 million are linked with Aadhaar. "This needs to be ramped up pretty fast."

For those who do not possess a mobile phone digital transactions can be carried out with the help of Aadhaar-enabled debit cards like RuPay cards.

"All that is required will be devices that support Aadhaar and biometric at the retail points. If anybody needs to make a transaction even without a phone, he or she just needs to log into his account through the Aadhaar biometric link and make the payment," a source said. "This will make digital transactions easy as no connectivity will be required at the consumer's end."

The RBI has also been pushing for deployment of Aadhaar-enabled point-of-sale machines across the retail set-up. While all new PoS machines will have to be Aadhar-compliant, RBI has has given time for migration of existing machines that may be non-complaint with the Aadhaar set-up.

Aadhaar linkages are crucial for th4e government's move to accelerate digital transactions at the rural level.

Prasad also emphasised this at a meeting of bank officials at the IT ministry this week where officials were told to have helpline numbers to provide easier and trouble-free access to digital information.