Use of Aadhaar cards and seeding of bank accounts with those numbers are purely voluntary and not mandatory, Reserve Bank of India said in a clarification on the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) Scheme.
"… in view of the Supreme Court’s interim orders dated August 11, 2015 and October 15, 2015… on usage of Aadhaar, it is hereby clarified that use of Aadhaar card and seeding of bank accounts with Aadhaar numbers is purely voluntary and it is not mandatory," RBI said in a communication to banks.
In July 2013, RBI had asked banks to take steps to complete account opening and seeding Aadhaar numbers in all DBT districts.
Earlier, with a view to facilitating DBT for delivery of social welfare benefits through direct credit to bank accounts of beneficiaries, RBI had advised lenders to open accounts in camp mode with support from local authorities.
On October 15 last year, the Supreme Court had lifted its earlier restriction and permitted voluntary use of Aadhaar cards in welfare schemes, which included MGNREGA, all pension schemes and the provident fund, besides ambitious flagship programmes like ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna’.
The social welfare programmes, aimed at reaching out to the "poorest of the poor", are in addition to LPG and PDS schemes, in which the apex court had allowed the voluntary use of Aadhaar cards.
Under the DBT scheme, the beneficiaries of government schemes get the amount directly in their bank accounts. The benefits include subsidies, scholarships and certain types of stipend for SC/ST.