A number of media outlets today reported (here, here and here) that the Government of India is considering linking Aadhaar with digitised land records from 1950, based on a letter that has been doing the rounds on social media. The Government has now clarified that this letter is fake and that a police complaint has been filed in this regard.
The letter attributed to Cabinet Secretariat on Digitalisation of Land Records & subsequent linking of the same to AADHAR, being widely circulated in the sections of social media is completely fake and mischievous. It is clarified that Govt. of India has issued no such letter. A police complaint has been filed in this regard and the matter is being investigated.
The letter claimed that states and union territories, including the National Capital Region of Delhi need to complete digitisation of land records, mutation records, and sale and purchase records from 1950 by August 14, 2017. It went on to claim that the Government was considering linking Aadhaar with these properties, and in case of failure to link Aadhaar appropriate action would be taken against owners under Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amended Act, 2016.
— Frank Noronha (@DG_PIB) June 19, 2017
As per this Act, a person found guilty is “punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than one year but which may extend to 7 years and shall also be liable to fine which may extend to 25% of the fair market value of the property.”
The fake letter was signed by Under Secretary to the Government of India, Sheo Nath Singh.
Aadhaar mandatory for opening new bank accounts
— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) June 16, 2017
Last week, the Government made it mandatory to furnish Aadhaar number at the time of opening a new bank account. Those who do not have an Aadhaar card yet will have six months from the time of opening the account to submit their Aadhaar numbers. In the case of existing bank account holders, they will have to submit their Aadhaar numbers by December 31, 2017 at the latest or risk having their accounts invalidated till Aadhaar numbers are submitted. That’s not all, Aadhaar will also be mandatory for all financial transactions above Rs 50,000.
This has been mandated by amending the Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules, 2005.
Partial stay on Aadhaar-PAN linkage
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of India ruled that the Indian government cannot cancel PAN cards if citizens don’t link an Aadhaar number to their PAN card. The PAN card is a necessary document for filing taxes. In what is a partial stay, the Court said that those who do not have an Aadhaar card should not be forced to get one. However, those who have a PAN card, will need to connect it to Aadhaar. What is unclear is what the Government will do if you have an Aadhaar number, but choose not to link it to the PAN card.
The court also highlighted the issue of leakages of personal data and Aadhaar numbers online, creating security concerns for citizens, and said that “this is a concern that needs to be addressed by the government”, adding that severe penalties need to be applicable in case of data leakages, calling preventive measures “essential”.