From 1st June 2018 , citizens can refuse to share their 12-digit Aadhaar number with private as well as government agencies including income tax department.
In an exclusive interview to The Economic Times, CEO of the Unique Identification Authority of India(UIDAI) Ajay Bhushan Pandey told: "Even to the income tax department or other agencies required by law to map Aadhaar, people don't have to give their Aadhaar number and can authenticate using the Virtual ID."
Pandey confirmed that the decision to share the Aadhaar number can be made at the discretion of the user. The newly instituted Virtual ID system can be used instead, he said.
The choice to not generate virtual IDs and continue using their Aadhaar numbers will also be available.
The UIDAI on Wednesday introduced a new concept of 'Virtual ID' which Aadhaar-card holder can generate from its website and give for various purposes, including SIM verification, instead of sharing the actual 12-digit biometric ID.
This will give the users the option of not sharing their Aadhaar number at the time of authentication.
The Virtual ID, which would be a random 16-digit number, together with biometrics of the user would give any authorised agency like a mobile company, limited details like name, address and photograph, which are enough for any verification.
Officials said a user can generate as many Virtual IDs as he or she wants. The older ID gets automatically cancelled once a fresh one is generated.
Pandey added that service providers who may use Aadhaar details for authentication will not be able to save the information users. If they are caught doing so, it will entail legal punishment.
"(But) we have ensured that even service providers who are not supposed to store Aadhaar will be able to authenticate using it but their networks will not be able to save the information in any form," Pandey said.
From 1 June onwards, the implementation of the new system by all authentication services will be a must and those agencies that do not adopt the new system will have their licenses revoked.
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has also introduced the concept of 'limited KYC' under which it will only provide need-based or limited details of a user to an authorised agency that is providing a particular service.
(With Agency inputs)