Business house Trident group is soft-launching salary disbursal of its employees through Aadhaar Payment Bridge System, reports The Economic Times (Hat tip – Sachin Kalbag). The company claims this is the first corporate initiative on Aadhaar payment bridge.
Aadhaar payment bridge is a payment gateway platform setup by National Payments Corporation of India which allows transfer of payments to Aadhaar Enabled Bank Accounts (AEBA). It is primarily used for Aadhaar schemes and was first used for Aadhaar-based Direct Cash Transfer initiative last year. The report says that around 156 banks are currently participating on the platform.
What’s worth noting here is the continuous effort to make Aadhaar mandatory by linking essential services with it and allowing departments to make it mandatory for particular schemes. For instance, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had reportedly not provided salaries to around 20,800 employees without an Aadhaar card in December 2012, but later paid their salaries and directed employees to sign up for Aadhaar card within two months.
Its not currently clear if Trident also plans to make it mandatory for employees to sign up for Aadhaar cards to receive their salary, although we hope that’s not the case since Aadhaar is still voluntary. Also note that while Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was a government organization, Trident is a private firm.
In September 2013, the Supreme Court of India had passed an interim order that Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory for government services, after various state governments had linked social benefits to Aadhaar. The Centre, UIDAI and three oil PSUs — IOCL, BPCL and HPCL — had later on moved to the Supreme Court seeking modification of its order, which is expected to be heard later this month. Last month, the West Bengal Assembly had also passed a resolution asking for the Central government to delink Aadhaar from the Direct Benefits Transfer scheme.
A move by the Reserve Bank of India to enforce the inclusion of biometric sensors in all new credit card swiping machines to enable use of Aadhaar-based biometric authentication while making card-based payments had received opposition from Indian banks and had been questioned by MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar.
Other Aadhaar developments
In October 2013, UIDAI had partnered with National Payments Corporation of India to launch Aadhaar based remittance service, which enables money transfer from one Aadhaar number to another number or to bank accounts and vice versa and was expected to be be rolled out in the next few months.
NASSCOM Product Council had also collaborated with Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to launch a new initiative called ‘Aadhaar Diffusion Project’, which aims to step up the development of apps and services that use Aadhaar’s identity infrastructure for eKYC.