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Oj Corner
Special column
by OJ George

Cheque facility won't be withdrawn, says the govt
It is a matter of relief that the Union Government has clarified that cheque facility won't be withdrawn.

There were stray reports that an overenthusiastic government favaouring total digitalisation may go in for banning the cheque books.


It is gratifying to note that the government won't proceed with the reforms this way.
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RBI says linkage of Aadhaar with bank account is mandatory
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Saturday said biometric identity number Aadhaar linkage with bank accounts is mandatory.

The RBI clarification followed media reports quoting a reply to a Right to Information (RTI) application that suggested the apex bank has not issued any order for mandatory Aadhaar linkage with bank accounts.

“The Reserve Bank clarifies that, in applicable cases, linkage of Aadhaar number to bank account is mandatory under the Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Second Amendment Rules, 2017 published in the Official Gazette on June 1, 2017,” the central bank said in a statement.

These rules have statutory force and, as such, banks have to implement them without awaiting further instructions, it said.

The government in June had made Aadhaar mandatory for opening bank accounts as well as for any financial transaction of Rs 50,000 and above.


Existing bank account holders have been asked to furnish the Aadhaar number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) by December 31, failing which the account will cease to be operational, the government notification had said.

There were reports in media quoting an RTI query in which RBI had said it “has not issued any instruction so far regarding mandatory linking of Aadhaar number with bank accounts”.

The government in Budget 2017 had already mandated seeding of Aadhaar number with Permanent Account Number to avoid individuals using multiple PANs to evade taxes.

The notification issued amending the Prevention of Money- laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules, 2005, mandated quoting of Aadhaar along with PAN or Form 60 by individuals, companies and partnership firms for all financial transactions of Rs 50,000 or above.

The Supreme Court in August had said that privacy is a fundamental right and the verdict was expected to complicate efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to make linking of the ID card numbers with bank accounts, telephone numbers, etc.
   
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