Aadhaar will stand test of constitutionality, assures FM Jaitley

New Delhi Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during the conclave on Financial Inclusion in New Delhi on Wednesday

Jaitley said biometric identification number Aadhaar was an evolving idea under the previous UPA regime and it did not have legislative backing.

"Aadhar has been an important leap forward for India and now we have begun to understand its potential", Jaitley said.

Jaitley further hit out at the criticism from the Opposition who said 77 per cent of the PMJDY accounts were zero balance and hence "ornamental".

The finance minister said that over the period of three years, the number of zero-balance accounts had reduced from 77 per cent to 20 per cent and he said that when the direct benefit transfer is expanded, these accounts would become operational. "In 2014 when we launched the PMJDY, in a mission mode throughout the country with the help of banks, 44 per cent of Indian households were outside the banking system", he said.

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Citing some of the conditions on privacy, he said, "they have to be by the law, they have to obviously reasonable and some of illustrative restraints not exhaustive are in the larger interest of national security or for the purposes of detection of crime or for the goal of dissemination of social benefits". He said that post demonetization, there is emphasis to reduce overall quantum of cash in the economy.

Speaking at the financial inclusion conclave on Wednesday in New Delhi, the Finance Minister said that it's only after 2014 after the launch of PMJDY that the condition of financial inclusion improved. He said that 92% of our people have Aadhar cards. Jaitley claimed that 99.99% of households now have at least one bank account, reported PTI.

Concluding his Key Note Address, the Finance Minister Shri Jaitley said that the present Government has succeeded in the last three years in bringing financial inclusion on the centre stage of its political and economic agenda and in times to come, the policy makers will have to follow this direction only and will not be able to reverse this trend. "So you have more accounts than families, adding to the pre-existing ones", he said.

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