Day by day, the nuisances of Aadhaar are becoming more and more bizarre. There was a camp organised by IDFC Bank in Bengaluru for providing plastic cards of Aadhaar. There were banners displaying the name of IDFC Bank. However, IDFC Bank denied organising any such camp. In addition, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) itself had barred the use of plastic or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) Aadhaar cards. But more about it later.
Bengaluru-based Prem Balakrishnan, in a series of tweets has asked IDFC Bank whether it has the necessary permission to print Aadhaar data on a PVC card. He also asked UIDAI if private banks like IDFC Bank are allowed to collect Aadhaar data under pretext of printing an Aadhaar card on plastic or PVC.
Officials from IDFC Bank contacted Prem and told him that the said camp, where Aadhaar cards were being printed on plastic or PVC, was not organised by the Bank. The same was also confirmed by the bank in an email to Prem.
The main question here is, if IDFC Bank has not organised the camp, then who organised it? How did the lender allow someone to use its name and logo on the banners displayed at the camp at Prestige Technology Park at Kadubeesanahalli in Bengaluru?
According to UIDAI collecting Aadhaar information for printing a plastic or PVC card or unauthorised printing of Aadhaar card or aiding such persons in any manner amounts to a criminal offence punishable with imprisonment under the Indian Penal Code and Aadhaar Act 2016.
UIDAI had also advised people to be watchful for the protection of their privacy and recommended not to share their Aadhaar number or personal details to unauthorised agencies for getting it laminated, or printed on plastic card.
Earlier in September 2018, the Supreme Court has barred banks, telecom companies and other private entities from using Aadhaar for identification. With the apex court declaring Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act as unconstitutional, bank account-holders, e-wallet or mobile wallet users and mobile subscribers are no longer required to use their Aadhaar number.
The Supreme Court has given a time limit to all private entities for deletion of all such e-know-your-customer (eKYC) data from their records. In a circular issued on 26 October 2018, the department of telecommunication (DoT) directed all unified license holders to discontinue the use of Aadhaar eKYC for issuing new SIM and re-verification of existing subscribers before 5 November 2018.
“…the use of Aadhaar authentication is not permissible for eKYC for verification of telecom subscribers, nor for issuing new mobile connections. In compliance with o the judgement of the Supreme Court, all licensees are to discontinue the use of Aadhaar eKYC service of UIDAI both for verification as well as for issuing new mobile connections. All TSPs shall ensure its implementation across the country in a time bound manner and compliance in this regard be submitted by 5 November 2018,” the telecom department said in the circular.
However, till today, there is no such action. In fact, TRAI and UIDAI are insisting that subscribers can use physical copy of their Aadhaar number for KYC. UIDAI had said, service providers can use offline verification tools like eAadhaar and QR code that leverage the unique ID without authentication, any access to biometrics, or revealing the 12-digit number. But there is no word on deletion of subscriber data from their servers as mandated by the apex court.
The same IDFC Bank, which has denied having organised any camp for the plastic Aadhaar card, however continues to use the unique ID for opening a bank account through microATM. On its portal, IDFC Bank says
, “Bringing paperless account opening to the under banked and unbanked areas, customers can open an account just by linking their Aadhaar Number and biometric authentication”.
Earlier in February this year, UIDAI had issued a clarification
saying plastic or PVC Aadhaar smart cards are often not usable as the QR code commonly becomes dysfunctional during such unauthorised printing at some vendor or shop. Also, there could be a possibility of sharing Aadhaar details like personal sensitive demographic information without informed consent with some devious elements.
“The so-called Aadhaar Smart card is totally unnecessary and a waste as during such printing its QR code often becomes dysfunctional. The Aadhaar card or the downloaded Aadhaar card printed on ordinary paper or mAadhaar is perfectly valid for all kind of uses,” Ajay Bhushan Pandey, chief executive (CEO) of UIDAI, had said in a statement.