UIDAI to soon fine banks without Aadhaar enrollment centers

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has given banks until the end of the month to open Aadhaar enrollment centers in 10 percent of branches and will fine Rs 20,000 (US$312) for every uncovered branch after September 30, according to a report by Hindustan Times.

The UIDAI, the governing agency in charge of Aadhaar, ordered private and public banks in July to open Aadhaar enrolment and updation facility in one out of 10 branches by the end of August.

The one-month extension has been granted as many banks requested extra time from the authority for establishing such facility.

“Banks approached us saying they need more time, so we have given them till September 30 to set up the facility,” UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey, said. “Non-compliance after the deadline will attract a fine of Rs 20,000 per uncovered branch every month.”

Banks that fail to open the required facility after the September 30 deadline would be subjected to a Rs 20,000 (US$312) fine per uncovered branch, with the penalty imposed in subsequent months.

Aadhaar, the 12-digit biometrics-based identity number, is required for opening of bank accounts and financial transaction of Rs 50,000 (US$780) and above.

Existing bank account holders are also required to provide the Aadhaar number by December 31, 2017.

“This (enrollment facility in bank premises) was done for convenience of people,” Pandey said. “Given the requirement of linking Aadhaar with existing bank account and for new bank accounts, having the enrollment and update facilities within the branches (10 percent) will ensure that people do not face any difficulty. “

We wanted to give banks a reasonable time to set up the required infrastructure, and one month is a reasonable time,” Pandey said, adding that he did not expect the deadline to be further extended.

There are currently 120,000 bank branches across India. This latest mandate will require banks to establish 12,000 Aadhaar enrollment and update centers in those branches.

Although many of these banks are already registrars, many of them do not have enrollment centers established inside their branches.

Last month, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) told India’s Supreme Court that it is nearly impossible to use Aadhaar to track citizens.

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