The government has spared property transactions from the ambit of linking Aadhaar, at least for now.
In response to a question in the Lok Sabha on December 19, union minister of state (independent charge) for housing and urban affairs Hardeep Singh Puri said there was no proposal to make Aadhaar linkage mandatory for property transactions.
This is interesting since Aadhaar linkage has been made mandatory for not just all financial transactions but also for obtaining services like death certificates, insurance claims and even school children have been asked to submit Aadhaar copies.
In a written reply in the lower house of the Parliament, the minister said, “At present, there is no proposal to make Aadhaar linkage mandatory in property transactions.”
Not applying Aadhar linkage to property transactions seems to be a rethink on part of the government.
The government’s statement in the Lok Sabha also said that “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”.
Even Puri had also reportedly said last month that seeding Aadhaar to property transactions was “a great idea” and that they might consider the same for the property market too.
In fact, finance minister Arun Jaitley had indicated as early as 2014 that the government would consider linking Aadhaar to property transactions.
There were also reports of the government contemplating amendment of sections 32 and 32A of the Registration Act, 1908, to provide legal backing to Aadhaar-enabled authentication of property documents.
To a question, among others, whether the government had set any time-frame for linking Aadhaar for property dealings, the minister said, “(The questions) do not arise”, according to the report.
This clarification comes as a huge relief to the real estate sector which had been reeling under a slowdown owing to demonetisation, Goods and Services Tax (GST) and The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA), which had come into being this year.
The government had earlier extended the date for linking Aadhaar with bank accounts and other financial services till March 31, 2018. The Supreme Court also subsequently issued a verdict in an interim judgement on the Aadhaar linkage case extending the deadline for Aadhar linkage to various schemes and welfare measures including mobile services to March 31st.