71.24 crore mobile numbers have been linked with Aadhaar: RS Prasad

Ravi Shankar Prasad has said that 71.24 crore mobile numbers and 82 crore bank accounts have been linked with Aadhaar so far.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister for Electronics and IT, has confirmed that close to 71.24 crore mobile numbers have been linked to Aadhaar. He clarified that 71.24 crore mobile numbers linked with Aadhaar includes both new connections and numbers re-verified using the 12-digit Aadhaar number.

Prasad also added that 82 crore bank accounts have been linked with Aadhaarfor the period ending December 8, 2017. Aadhaar linking has been made mandatory for mobile connection and bank account holders. The last date for linking Aadhaar with bank account was initially set to December 31 while that of linking with mobile number was set to February 6. However, a recent Supreme Court extended the deadline for linking Aadhaar with both mobile number and bank account to March 31, 2018.

Prasad also said that linking of Aadhaar with personal bank account is being done based on the amendment introduced in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2005. The linking of Aadhaar with mobile number has been effected in pursuance of Supreme Court order dated February 6, 2007. PTI reports that the government has informed Rajya Sabha about the number of bank accounts and mobile numbers linked with Aadhaar till December 8.

Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique-identity number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and was launched in January 2009 under the leadership of Nandan Nilekani. It was initially conceived as a proof of residence and citizenship but it is now being used for verification and authentication as well.

While the Supreme Court has set March 31 as deadline for linking Aadhaar with both bank account and mobile number, the privacy issue around it continues to be debated. Earlier in the day, Facebook was spotted testing a prompt asking new users in the country to sign up with their names as shown on Aadhaar card. The social media giant confirmed that it is not mandatory but an effort to curb fake users on its platform.