The Reserve Bank of India on Saturday said that it was mandatory to link biometric identity number Aadhaar with bank accounts. The central bank issued a statement dismissing media reports that quoted a reply to a Right to Information query to the RBI. The reply had suggested that the RBI had not issued any notification making it compulsory to link Aadhaar 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 statement said. “These rules have statutory force and, as such, banks have to implement them without awaiting further instructions.”

The RTI response had indicated that the instruction to link Aadhaar with bank accounts came from the government, not the central bank. The Reserve Bank of India’s response to the RTI query said, “The government has issued a Gazette Notification...regarding Prevention of Money Laundering (Maintenance of Records) Second Amendment Rules, 2017, inter-alia, making furnishing of Aadhaar...and permanent number mandatory for opening a bank account.” It added: “It may be noted that Reserve Bank has not yet issued instruction in this regard.”

So far, more than 50 central schemes have been linked with Aadhaar. It was also made mandatory to file Income Tax returns. This was despite the Supreme Court restricting the usage of Aadhaar to six schemes.