Indian Govt Postpones Linking Bank Accounts to Digital IDs Amidst Public Backlash

Just one day before the case came up in the Supreme Court, the government postponed the linking of the Aadhaar digital identity scheme to bank accounts

Cross-posted from Asia Times

A public outcry has forced the Indian government to delay plans to roll out a digital identity program on every citizen, linking bank accounts and other financial data.

The mandatory linking of the controversial Aadhaar system with bank accounts and mutual funds has been postponed, according to an announcement issued on December 12 by the Department of Revenue under the Ministry of Finance.

The announcement stated that a new date will be announced later. However, adding to the confusion, the Ministry of Finance issued a press release stating that bank accounts have to be linked by March 31, 2018. It is not clear if this rule applies only to new accounts or existing ones as well.

The Aadhaar project has become one of the most controversial issues in India, raising massive concerns about the government’s ability to carry out surveillance of citizens. While it was started as a “welfare” project to ensure better targeted deliveries of government subsidies, it was essentially a surveillance tool, predicated on the ability to track citizens and profile them

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