Identity Project

Aadhaar has been made mandatory for bank accounts – but more than half of them are yet to be linked

The banks that had decided to start the process of re-verifying their customers through Aadhaar now stand at an advantage as compared to their peers.

On June 1, the government made it mandatory for bank account holders to link their accounts to Aadhaar numbers through a notification amending the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. This amendment also specifies that any transaction above Rs 50,000 will now require furnishing of both Aadhaar and permanent account number.

“Provided that the clients already having an account based relationship with reporting entities prior to date of this notification, the client shall submit the Aadhaar number and PAN by December 31, 2017,” the notification states adding that those who do not have an Aadhaar number must produce the proof of their application for the same.

However, much before this amendment, banks were already pushing Aadhaar linkage using dubious claims.

For instance, IDBI bank sent emails in March to its savings account customers saying that Aadhaar linkage was “mandatory” for transactions.

“Aadhaar Linkage with saving account is compulsory for receiving/making payments through many banking channels,” the email read.

Other banks, meanwhile, insisted on it using various means such as offering rewards and discounts (HDFC Bank), blocking net banking interface (SBI) for some people and at other times, “encouraging” customers to link Aadhaar numbers “as soon as possible”.

A senior banker on condition of anonymity told this reporter in April that banks were anticipating that the government would make Aadhaar mandatory for bank account holders and were linking Aadhaar merely to pre-empt a surprise circular.

With the amendment, they have been proved right and the banks which decided to start the process of re-verifying their customers through Aadhaar now stand at an advantage as compared to their peers.

More than 52 crore individual saving accounts have already been linked with Aadhaar, according to an answer provided by Minister of State for Finance Santosh Kumar Gangwar in March, 2017. This is almost half the number of total active accounts in the country, as estimated by the government, Gangwar said in his answer.

Since March, however, many more accounts would have been seeded with Aadhaar as banks went on an overdrive to do E-KYCs through Aadhaar number for existing as well as new clients. Axis Bank, for instance, organised campaigns to link Aadhaar numbers of its account holders while HDFC Bank sent repeated reminders to people through SMS.

Banks have time upto December 31 to link all accounts with Aadhaar. Otherwise, the accounts will be deactivated, the notification states.

The government, on its part, however, has always insisted that Aadhaar linkage will be based on customers’ consent even as it accepted that it was encouraging banks to do so.

“Banks are committed to seed savings bank accounts, inclduing Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana accounts with the account holder’s Aadhaar number based on the account holder’s consent,” Gangwar stated in his March response.

While this seems in contravention to the Aadhaar Act 2016 which provides that in absences of Aadhaar number, the government is required to provide the welfare, scheme or service to the person on producing other valid proofs of identity.

Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India which is the regulator for the banking sector specifies on its website that no one kind of identity proof can be made mandatory for opening bank accounts.

  “The Government of India has notified six documents as ‘Officially Valid Documents’ (OVDs) for the purpose of producing proof of identity. These six documents are Passport, Driving Licence, Voters’ Identity Card, PAN Card, Aadhaar Card issued by UIDAI and NREGA Job Card. You need to submit any one of these documents as proof of identity.”  

— RBI Know Your Customer Guidelines
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Following a mountaineer as he reaches the summit of Mount Everest

Accounts from Vikas Dimri’s second attempt reveal the immense fortitude and strength needed to summit the Everest.

Vikas Dimri made a huge attempt last year to climb the Mount Everest. Fate had other plans. Thwarted by unfavourable weather at the last minute, he came so close and yet not close enough to say he was at the top. But that did not deter him. Vikas is back on the Everest trail now, and this time he’s sharing his experiences at every leg of the journey.

The Everest journey began from the Lukla airport, known for its dicey landing conditions. It reminded him of the failed expedition, but he still moved on to Namche Bazaar - the staging point for Everest expeditions - with a positive mind. Vikas let the wisdom of the mountains guide him as he battled doubt and memories of the previous expedition. In his words, the Everest taught him that, “To conquer our personal Everest, we need to drop all our unnecessary baggage, be it physical or mental or even emotional”.

Vikas used a ‘descent for ascent’ approach to acclimatise. In this approach, mountaineers gain altitude during the day, but descend to catch some sleep. Acclimatising to such high altitudes is crucial as the lack of adequate oxygen can cause dizziness, nausea, headache and even muscle death. As Vikas prepared to scale the riskiest part of the climb - the unstable and continuously melting Khumbhu ice fall - he pondered over his journey so far.

His brother’s diagnosis of a heart condition in his youth was a wakeup call for the rather sedentary Vikas, and that is when he started focusing on his health more. For the first time in his life, he began to appreciate the power of nutrition and experimented with different diets and supplements for their health benefits. His quest for better health also motivated him to take up hiking, marathon running, squash and, eventually, a summit of the Everest.

Back in the Himalayas, after a string of sleepless nights, Vikas and his team ascended to Camp 2 (6,500m) as planned, and then descended to Base Camp for the basic luxuries - hot shower, hot lunch and essential supplements. Back up at Camp 2, the weather played spoiler again as a jet stream - a fast-flowing, narrow air current - moved right over the mountain. Wisdom from the mountains helped Vikas maintain perspective as they were required to descend 15km to Pheriche Valley. He accepted that “strength lies not merely in chasing the big dream, but also in...accepting that things could go wrong.”

At Camp 4 (8,000m), famously known as the death zone, Vikas caught a clear glimpse of the summit – his dream standing rather tall in front of him.

It was the 18th of May 2018 and Vikas finally reached the top. The top of his Everest…the top of Mount Everest!

Watch the video below to see actual moments from Vikas’ climb.


Vikas credits his strength to dedication, exercise and a healthy diet. He credits dietary supplements for helping him sustain himself in the inhuman conditions on Mount Everest. On heights like these where the oxygen supply drops to 1/3rd the levels on the ground, the body requires 3 times the regular blood volume to pump the requisite amount of oxygen. He, thus, doesn’t embark on an expedition without double checking his supplements and uses Livogen as an aid to maintain adequate amounts of iron in his blood.

Livogen is proud to have supported Vikas Dimri on his ambitious quest and salutes his spirit. To read more about the benefits of iron, see here. To read Vikas Dimri’s account of his expedition, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Livogen and not by the Scroll editorial team.