President Ram Nath Kovind has given his assent to an Ordinance that allows voluntary use of Aadhaar as ID proof for obtaining mobile SIM cards and opening bank accounts.
The Ordinance — necessitated because the Rajya Sabha could not approve a Bill after its passage by the Lok Sabha — was promulgated recently.
It should be noted that the Cabinet approved the promulgation of an Ordinance to give effect to changes proposed in Aadhaar and two others legislations. The amendments provide for stiff penalties for violation of norms set for the use of Aadhaar and violation of privacy.
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. The ordinance gives effect to the changes in the Aadhaar Act such as giving a child an option to exit from the biometric ID programme on attaining 18 years of age. The amendments make it clear that anyone not offering Aadhaar cannot be denied any service, be it opening of a bank account or obtaining a mobile phone SIM card.