The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed the Aadhaar & Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019. Union Minister of Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad introduced the Bill that will replace an ordinance issued in March. The Bill was passed by a voice vote.

The Bill makes the use of Aadhaar for opening bank accounts and procuring mobile phone connections voluntary. Prasad said that the amendments to the Aadhaar Act will give children an option to cancel their Aadhaar number after they turn 18.

“The amendments address the privacy and security concerns,” said Prasad. “It provides that no service or benefit of any scheme will be denied for lack of Aadhaar.”

The Bill also provides for a Rs 1-crore penalty and a jail term for private entities for storing Aadhaar data. “Even if I, as an, Information Technology Minister, seek Aadhaar data, I will be subject to 3 years of punishment,” Prasad said.

The Bill also amended the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, and the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, and the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002.

The minister told Lok Sabha that 123 crore people were currently using Aadhaar. “All safeguards are in place to prohibit misuse of Aadhaar biometrics. Iris and finger print data is stored in Indian machinery and it is safe and secure.” Prasad said.

While introducing the Bill, Prasad said the government saved Rs 7.48 lakh crore in the last five years using direct benefit transfer. “We have saved money siphoned off by middleman. Aadhaar has proved its usefulness,” he said, according to ANI.