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No move to link Aadhaar with property deals

No move to link Aadhaar with property deals
Highlights

There was no proposal to make Aadhaar linkage mandatory for property transactions, Parliament was informed on Tuesday.

New Delhi: There was no proposal to make Aadhaar linkage mandatory for property transactions, Parliament was informed on Tuesday.

In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, Union Minister of State (Independent charge) for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri, however, said the Rural Development ministry had advised the states and Union Territories to explore the possibilities of using consent-based Aadhaar authentication for registration of properties under the provisions of the Registration Act, 1908.

The comments assume significance in the backdrop of Puri reportedly stating last month that seeding Aadhaar to property transactions was a great idea and as the government was linking Aadhaar with bank accounts, it might take some additional steps for the property market also.

To a query on the issue, the minister said, "At present, there is no proposal to make Aadhaar linkage mandatory in property transactions."To questions, including one on whether the government had set any time-frame for linking the unique identification number for property dealings, he said, "(The questions) do not arise."

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had hinted at a crackdown on "benami" properties and thus, there was a speculation that linking Aadhaar with property transactions could be a step in that direction.

A "benami" property is one which is held by the owner in someone else's name. In July, UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey had said something similar, noting Aadhaar is going to be made mandatory for buying and selling property.

The purpose, he said, was to reduce incidences of property disputes and litigation. Despite the SC opposing mandatory Aadhaar, the government has continuously expanded its reach: from making it mandatory for taxes and subsidies to bank accounts and more.

Still, several state governments including Haryana, UP, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana implemented exercises to link property to Aadhaar. UP even discussed making it mandatory for land-owners to verify properties by furnishing Aadhaar.

Meanwhile, the SC is hearing petitions against mandatory Aadhaar and will conduct the final hearing on January 17, 2018. For now, it has extended the deadline for linking of Aadhaar to all government schemes till March 31, 2018.

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