The Reserve Bank of India’s committee on comprehensive financial services for small businesses and low-income households headed by Nachiket Mor on Friday said that the Aadhaar process was adequate to enable every Indian to get a bank account by January 1, 2016.

“Target is dependent on our perception of what is happening to Aadhaar. The bank account target is really an electronic target, as we have articulated it. The big task in really opening a bank account is verifying all the documents and the customer. This is all being done by Aadhaar. The thought was that banks make use of the verification being done by Aadhaar. As soon as an Aadhaar is issued, only an instruction has to be issued to a willing bank to go ahead and open an account. So, opening the account should not be a difficult task unless you argue that Aadhaar accounts will not be done by 2015,” said Mr. Mor, while addressing a press conference here.

“We had discussion with Nandan Nilekani also….. So, we fixed January 1, 2016, as a target,” said Mr. Mor adding, “if you think of it as an independent process, where banks have to go back and open these accounts, it will take a longer time. It also takes Rs.200-300 to open an account otherwise.”

The committee, while laying down its vision statement for financial inclusion and deepening, has suggested providing a universal bank account to all Indians above the age of 18 years by January 1, 2016. He said that the account opening process should be totally automatic and free. “But people will be happy to pay the money if you give them the service.”

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