In the wake of the banking scams unearthed in the recent past, the ASSOCHAM (Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India) opined that public sector banks, in particular, may find it challenging to complete the task of linking Aadhaar with the accounts of all customers by March 31, and therefore called for an extension in the deadline.
“Following unearthing of alleged frauds in the Punjab National Bank and a few other banks , the PSU lenders are anyway firefighting to protect their core business and are hard pressed for human and other resources, to take up the job of Aadhaar linkage. Besides, the customers are also facing deadline pressure not only from the banks but also from payment gateways companies, which may also see a lot of disruption in the run-up to the deadline,” the ASSOCHAM said while urging the government to seriously consider relaxation of the Unique Identity Number (UID) timeline.
The industry body stated that the economy has just about come out of the impact of vastly structural jerks of demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and is not ready for another challenge by way of any bank account becoming inoperative after March 31.
“As of now, even those having submitted Aadhaar details are getting KYC reminders. There is a lot of confusion which may lead to further problems as we approach the deadline. Banking and online operations, including the trading by retail stock investors, are the lifeline of the economy which is set to march ahead in the next fiscal. Thus we need to tread very cautiously,” said ASSOCHAM Secretary General D S Rawat.
The chamber further said the PSBs are smarting under the alleged frauds running into thousands of crores of rupees even as the pressure of non-performing assets (NPAs) is increasing by the day. Therefore, the ASSOCHAM opined that it would best advised that the banks be allowed to come out of the crisis-like situation before they are given the additional task of Aadhaar seeding to customer accounts.
A number of banking scams have surfaced in the recent past, the most prominent one being the 1.77 billion dollar Nirav Modi Scam involving top jewelry designer Nirav Modi, his uncle Mehul Choksi and others.