Wait till the Supreme Court comes out ‘with a clear directive,’ says AIBOC
Dimapur, October 21 (MExN): The All India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC) has vehemently opposed “the move of the Govt. for making Aadhaar Card mandatory to citizens rather than being voluntary.”
“When the matter is subjudice in the Supreme Court, the urgency of the Government in its implementation is uncalled for and against the true spirit of democracy,” AIBOC stated in a press release issued by its General Secretary, DT Franco.
The AIBOC is one of the largest officers’ organisations in India with a membership of 3,25,000.
Stating that Banks are already reeling under acute shortage of staff, with employees and officers heavily overburdened, the AIBOC also voiced out strong opposition to the proposal to designate certain bank branches as special cells to complete Aadhaar seeding as well as open Aadhaar enrolment Centres.
“It is understood that Government has instructed the Banks to ask its staff and Officers to work on holidays to complete the task,” it said adding that “The responsibility for any mistake will be on the officer who authorizes and he/she is not trained for the same.”
The Confederation further highlighted that the banks are already burdened with implementation of other schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), Mudra etc for which banks are “have not been paid any reimbursement.”
At a time when the resources of the Public Sector Banks(PSBs) are under severe strain and under closer public scrutiny, employing their resources on Aadhaar seeding will further constrain the PSBs in their efforts of recovery of NPAs, further deteriorating the health of the Bank besides attracting negative opinion among the public, the AIBOC maintained.
It also pointed out the Supreme Court has given an interim order saying that “Aadhaar should not be made mandatory and the banks should not be taken to task when final judgement comes in the light of the Right to Privacy judgement.”
In this connection, the Bank Officers’ Confederation demanded that the Aadhaar seeding is put on hold till such time Supreme Court comes out “with a clear directive and the Government should make it clear before the common citizens of the country that the seeding of Aadhaar is purely voluntary and not mandatory.”
“The advisory to this effect should also be passed to all the stakeholders. We also demand before the Govt. to look for alternatives or add more workforces into Banks to implement Aadhaar related works in PSBs,” it added.
When the apex court is yet to decide on the concerns of the common citizens on data breach, the AIBOC questioned the urgency of the Government in its implementation.
“It could compromise the security of their biometric data and the potential havoc such a calamity could cause in their lives,” it said adding that already “frauds have taken place” in Airtel Payment Bank.
Customers in ‘panic mode’
Meanwhile, the AIBOC also informed that the customers of the banks are in “panic mode as they are being bombarded by ominous messages, emails and calls from banks about the dire consequences they could face if they fail to link their Aadhaar number to their bank accounts before the December 31 deadline.”
The Banks are in overdrive to get their account holders to furnish Aadhaar details due to a Government’s notification amending the Prevention of Money laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules, 2005, under which bank accounts that was not seeded with the Aadhaar number by December 31 would cease to be operational, it noted.
It may lead to a situation where their branches might end up being swamped by queues and frantic customers as the deadline nears, AIBOC said.
It further maintained that Aadhaar scheme was launched without any statutory backing in 2009 by the Planning Commission and continued to operate in exercise of the executive power of the government until 2016, when the government enacted the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 (Aadhaar Act).
While the Centre has made it mandatory to quote the Aadhaar number for opening bank accounts and also made it compulsory for 135 schemes (of 35 ministries), the Supreme Court has restricted usage of Aadhaar to six schemes where the government provides benefits or subsidy to individuals, it added.