Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Aadhaar might soon be the only number needed to open bank account

In the coming days Adhaar, or a unique identification number will be enough for a person to get a new mobile connection or to open a bank account.

According to Chairman Nandan Nilekani the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the apex agency managing the UID project, and aims to give every resident of the country a unique identity, has already started the process to make this happen.

To develop realization about the importance of having a UID, the authority is having talks with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and Trai to make Aadhaar numbers sufficient for getting new mobile connections.

Nilekani, while addressing income tax officers on ‘Revitalization of Public Service’ said, “We are negotiating with DoT and Trai on making the Aadhaar number sufficient for getting a mobile phone connection. Presently, a person who wants a new SIM card goes to a retail outlet and he has to do some paper works, other than submitting all necessary proofs. If he has an Aadhaar number, that entire process can be done electronically.”

He informed that the authority is also having discussions with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the finance ministry and Indian Bankers’ Association (IBA) to allow Aadhaar numbers as sufficient proof for their know-your-customer (KYC) procedure to open no-frills bank accounts.

He said, “If Aadhaar is sufficient to open a bank account, there is one more reason why a person should get his number.” “We think the reason why it (Aadhaar) will work is that people themselves will start seeing the benefits, and they themselves will drive the adoption.”

However the first set of UIDs was to be issued on September 1, but this has been postponed indefinitely, due to unavailability of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The prime minister was supposed to roll out the numbers in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. Nilekani told the new date is yet to be finalized. He said, “We will be launching it in the next few weeks. We will be launching in multiple locations, and hopefully in the next few months, we will ramp up to millions of enrollments.”

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