The Unique Identification Authority of India on Thursday said the identity cards issued by it — known as Aadhaar — are a valid residence proof for opening a bank account.

Commenting on media reports that Aadhaar is not a valid residence proof, UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani said, “That is not true. That is some report which is misleading. Aadhaar is a valid ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC) document for opening a bank account.”

“Aadhaar letter has two parts — identity and address. If the address which a person shows to the bank, is the same address as on the (Aadhaar) letter, then it is also a proof of residence.”

A section of media had reported that as per the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) notification issued on Wednesday, Aadhaar is not a valid residence proof. However, the central bank reportedly accepted its validity as identity of a person.

Mr. Nilekani said, “In a few days, we will be starting online authentication of address and identity. If the address matches through online authentication, then it will be treated as current address (of the person applied for a bank account or a service).”

Clearing the air on the issue, he said: “The government is a set of institutions and all of them take their own decisions. As of now, the banking system has declared Aadhaar as a valid KYC norm for all bank accounts as per the RBI notification issued yesterday.”

He also said that the Department of Telecom and the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas also consider Aadhaar as valid KYC for issue of SIM cards and cooking gas connections.

Besides, there are some States like Tripura and Sikkim which already accept Aadhaar as valid identity and residence proof.

“After further consultations with government, it has now been decided to accept the letter issued by the UIDAI as an officially valid document for opening bank accounts without the limitations applicable to ‘Small’ accounts ,” the RBI said in a communication to the banks on Wednesday.

But RBI has also said, “While opening accounts based on Aadhaar also, banks must satisfy themselves about the current address of the customer by obtaining required proof of the same as per extant instructions”.

Till now, the authority has issued Aadhaar cards to 3.7 crore people all over the country and enrolled about 10 crore people for issuing the national identity card.

The authority has been mandated to issue Aadhaar cards to 20 crore people next year.

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