The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed a bill to allow voluntary use of Aadhaar as proof of identity for opening bank accounts and procuring mobile phone.

The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019, was passed by a voice vote after information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad assured the House that Aadhaar is voluntary and informed consent of the biometric identity holder has to be obtained before it is used.

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

The amended bill also provides for a stiff 1 crore penalty and a jail term for private entities for storing Aadhaar data.

“As many as 1.23 billion people are 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.

Displaying his personal Aadhaar card in the House, he said Aadhaar data can only be shared when there is a threat to national security or if there is a court order.

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