New Delhi: There has been a loss of $3 billion in the last one year due to fraud in the banking sector and the linking of bank accounts with Aadhaar can drastically reduce such frauds, A.B. Pandey, chief executive of the Unique Identification Authority of India ( UIDAI), said on Friday.

“There has been $3 billion loss in the last one year due to banking fraud. If every bank account was verified with Aadhaar then this would not have been possible. Every fraudster would try to take the money out from one account to another, but whichever is the beneficiary account if that account is verified with Aadhaar, it will be caught," he said, while speaking at the fifth Global Conference on Cyber Space (GCCS).

Around 558 million bank accounts have already been linked with Aadhaar. The total number of bank accounts in the country as per estimates is around 1.1 billion, he added.

Various banks reported 4,851 cases of fraud involving about 23,902 crore during 2016-17, the finance ministry told Parliament in July.

Even as the Supreme Court is still to give a final decision on a slew of petitions challenging the legal validity of Aadhaar on the grounds that it is an intrusion into a citizen’s fundamental right to privacy, the government is fast-tracking the process of seeding bank accounts with Aadhaar.

The Reserve Bank of India clarified on 21 October that linking of bank accounts with Aadhaar is mandatory under the Prevention of Money Laundering (Maintenance of Records) Second Amendment Rules, 2017. The deadline is 31 December.

Pandey said total savings in the last two-and-a-half years due to linking of Aadhaar in beneficiary databases is more than $10 billion.

“Once we link all government programmes with Aadhaar then we can save to the tune of $10 billion every year," he added.

There are more than 1.18 billion Aadhaar card holders in the country. We are getting 40 million authentication requests every day, he said.

The total number of e-KYC transactions since inception is around 3.64 million and the total authentication transaction since inception is 13.2 billion, he said.

Pandey also said that during the last few months, more than 500 missing children have been identified through Aadhaar.

“When the child is found in any orphanage or some child home and we have a programme to get Aadhaar for every child. Then we find that the Aadhaar of the child has been made a few years ago," he added.

Pandey reiterated that the Aadhaar database is “security proof" and it collects minimal data. He also assured that the database does not collect transaction data of bank accounts or SIM cards, property or income.

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