What benefits budget 2019 has for NRIs

NRI Budget 2019

NRIs have a reason to feel happy and relieved with the new Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget for the year 2019.

For a start, their welcome into the country just became warmer! The Union Budget of 2019 has proposed to consider issuing the Aadhaar Cards to NRIs (who have Indian Passports) post their arrival in the country.

  • Fast process for Aadhaar Card
  • Easy NRI investments
  • More Indian Embassies and High Commissions
  • Global Investors Meet in India

Till this budget, NRIs had to wait for a period of 180 days. Earlier under the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, NRIs who have resided in India for a period of 182 days or more in 12 months and with an Indian address could apply for Aadhaar.  The issue of Aadhar card to NRIs on arrival to India will help NRIs to a great extent as aadhar card acts as both identity card as well as proof of address as it consists of both demographic and biometric data.

The Finance Minister declared “I propose to consider issuing Aadhaar card for non-resident Indians (NRIs) with Indian passports after their arrival in India without waiting for the mandatory 180 days.”

NRIs interested in investing in India can also heave a sigh of relief now – our Finance Minister paved the way for them to have easier access to Indian equities. The NRI-Portfolio Investment Scheme Route has now been merged with the Foreign Portfolio Investment Route. 

In addition, with NIIF as an anchor, there will be annual Global Investors’ meet organised in India. This is being done to encourage major global investors to come and invest in India. Moreover, there are steps to open Foreign Direct Investment in aviation, media, animation AVGC and also to open up FDI up to a 100% level for insurance intermediaries. This will bring in a single regime for foreign investors. It also seeks to regulate investments and funds brought in by the non-resident Indians and person of Indian Origin.

The move on the FPI aspect has come about as part of the recommendation of the H R Khan Committee. The economy can be assured of larger pools of NRI capital through pooled and professionally managed structures. Foreign Portfolio Investment refers to the grouping of assets including bonds, equities and cash equivalents. These portfolio investments are held directly by an investor or managed by financial professionals.

In the past the cap on NRI participation through the FPI route had received serious push back from global fund managers. As reported in the media, the Securities and Exchange Board of India said if single and aggregate NRI/OCI holdings in assets under management of FPIs are below 25% and 50%, respectively, then such persons will be allowed to be constituents of the FPI. In case of breach, the FPI will need to comply within 90 days and in case it remains non-compliant even after 90 days, no fresh purchases will be permitted and such FPIs will have to liquidate their existing position in the Indian securities market within 180 days.

This move on FPI will bring in additional benefit since earlier in the year, SEBI came out with the rules for the merger and also exempted both housing finance and non-banking financial companies. From now, none of them will have to disclose the rise and fall in the shareholding due to encumbrance or release of encumbered shares. Currently, only the scheduled commercial banks and public financial institutions are exempted from disclosures.

AADHAAR VERDICT: Balance between the government and the common man

Aadhaar Verdict

The Aadhaar Act, 2016 was enacted with a purpose to provide certain services and benefits by generating a unique identification number.  The aim was to plug the leakage of money spent by Government on various social schemes so that benefits reach the intended beneficiary.

In a recent judgement delivered on 26.09.2018, deciding 31 petitions, Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has upheld the Constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act, 2016, by a majority of 4:1.   The purpose of the Aadhaar is said to be legitimate. It does not violate Right to Privacy.

Hon’ble Court has observed that Aadhaar gives dignity to the marginalised section of the society which outweighs the harm. It is the card of empowerment. The information contained in the card is unique.

Also Read: Aadhaar Not Required for Bank Accounts, Phones for Now: Supreme Court

SC has addressed the apprehensions expressed by the petitioners who feared that the data collected by the Government under the act could be leaked and misused.

  • Hon’ble Court has directed the Government and the UIDAI to put in place a robust data protection regime to prevent any misuse.
  • The State is not allowed to intrude into the private autonomy of the person under the garb of providing economic benefits or retrieving information for any social welfare scheme.
  • The government has no right to possess unrestricted and unguided powers in the pretext of good governance or targeted delivery of benefits.
  • The State cannot be allowed to perform any act which is unjustified and unfair, violating the fundamental rights of the citizens.

As per the recent Aadhaar verdict,

Aadhaar will now not be mandatory for:

  • getting new mobile connections
  • the opening of bank accounts
  • getting admission to schools
  • to appear for University Grants Commission (UGC), Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) exams.
  • Private entities cannot seek Aadhaar data (section 57 of the Act )
  • The benefit of any scheme cannot be denied to a child in the absence of Aadhaar Card

Read: Should we link Aadhaar card with the PAN card?

Aadhaar will also be essential for :

  • linkage with Permanent account number (PAN)
  • for filing Income tax returns (ITR).

Recommendations of the Apex Court :

  • “ Authentication records “ ( Section 2 (d) of the Act) cannot be retained beyond six months (at present it is a five year period)
  • Suitable measures to be taken by Government to ensure that Aadhaar is not issued to illegal immigrants. (section 2 (b) of the Act)
  • The information about an individual cannot be released without hearing him
  • Disclosure of any information in the interest of national security has to be adequately guarded. (section 33(2) of the Act )
  • Any individual or a victim (section 47 of the Act) can also file a complaint against any offence under the Act (at present only authorised officer can do it)

Observations of the Apex Court :

  • Collection of data and its storage does not violate any fundamental right.
  • Benefits and services should be some welfare schemes.
  • Aadhaar does not tend to create a Surveillance State.
  • Aadhaar Act rightly passed as Money Bill.
  • Sufficient safeguards are there to protect the data collected.

Read: Aadhar Card for Benami Transactions Prohibition

This recent verdict has vindicated the stand of the Government to the extent that the Aadhaar Card scheme is constitutionally valid and is required to ensure that any expenditure by Government on welfare schemes is used for the intended purposes only.  It has also allayed the worries of the common man by giving suitable directions to the government to ensure the protection of the unique information contained in the Aadhaar card and to prevent any possible misuse of the data.

Aadhaar Not Required for Bank Accounts, Phones for Now: Supreme Court


The Supreme Court has ordered that citizens do not need to link their Aadhaar numbers with a range of services, including bank accounts, mobile phones and passports, for the time being. The top court said that a biometric ID is obligatory for accessing social welfare schemes and subsidies, but until it decides whether the government’s demand for Aadhaar is associated with private and public services, it is a violation of the right to privacy; the 12-digit unique number given to each citizen does not need to be linked to other services.

India launched Aadhaar, now the world’s largest biometric database, in 2009 to streamline welfare payments and decrease wastage in public spending.

Since then, the government has been keen mandate the to use Aadhaar for everything from filing income taxes to registering mobile phone numbers and booking train tickets. Aadhaar is now mandatory for welfare, pension and employment programs. In January, Aadhaar was made compulsory not only for the renewal of the passport but also for new passports issued within three days in the “Tatkaal” category – an order contested by Attorney Vrinda Grover.

Deadline of March 31, previously declared for linking bank accounts and cell phones with Aadhaar, has been extended until it decides whether the Aadhaar Act is illegal.

On 7 March, a five-judge constitution bench headed by India’s Chief Justice Dipak Misra said it might not be possible to take a call on the petitions by 31 March. It is unlikely that an order will be issued before the top court goes on vacation in May, lawyers say.

Activists and technology experts have expressed concerns about data confidentiality and security of date, biometrics vulnerability to failure, and misuse of data for profiling or increased surveillance.

A group of petitioners have asked the Supreme Court to declare the government’s insistence on disclosing Aadhaar as a violation of the right to privacy. In August 2017, Supreme Court ruled that privacy is a fundamental right, but made it clear that the decision on Aadhaar’s constitutional validity would be taken separately.

The government says that the Supreme Court has accepted in this ruling that privacy is a fundamental right, but subject to reasonable restrictions.

Experts are concerned about repeated information breaches and say that the ID card links enough data to create a complete profile of a person’s spending habits, their friends, their property and a wealth of other information.

How NRIs, PIOs and OCIs can re-verify their Indian mobile numbers without an Aadhaar Number

How NRIs, PIOs and OCIs can re-verify their Indian mobile numbers without an Aadhaar Number

If you are an NRI (non-resident Indian) looking to link your Aadhaar card, you need not worry. As per the government criteria, NRIs do not have to link their Aadhaar for banking, mobile and other services.

  • Aadhaar is only for residents of India. NRIs are not eligible to get Aadhaar.
  • The service providers like banks and mobile companies have themselves laid down NRI-specific exemptions.
  • NRIs should simply tell the banks and other service providers such as credit card companies etc. that they are not needed to provide Aadhaar numbers by virtue of being non-resident Indians.

NRI’s prohibited from linking mobile connection to Aadhaar

Since NRIs are not eligible to apply for Aadhaar because of its least residential necessities, a large number of overseas Indians have been making representations about facing difficulty in operating their mobile connections procured in India as the telecom operators are insisting on linking Aadhaar number with the mobile number.

All mobile phone service licensees to use an alternative method to re-verify existing customers belonging to certain categories including foreigners (covering PIOs and OCI cardholders) and NRIs.

How NRIs, PIOs and OCIs can re-verify their Indian mobile numbers without an Aadhaar Number

NRI subscribers not having Aadhaar or their mobile number is not registered in their Aadhaar details with UIDAI.

This process is quite related to the alternative option that will be made accessible to senior citizens above 70 years of age or a citizen whose fingerprints are worn out or those who are physically challenged.

  • Enter the mobile number on the service provider’s website.
  • Fill out the declaration saying:
  • I am an Indian National, however currently an NRI.
  • I do not have an Aadhaar or my mobile number is not registered with UIDAI.
  • The documents uploaded by me are authentic and if found forged, actions as per the law of the land should be applicable to me.
  • As per the information, TSPs have been directed to assure that you are not able to continue if the information is not entered.
  • You will receive a 4-digit code on your mobile. Next, you enter the code on the service provider’s website, an online Customer Application Form (e-CAF) will be displayed.
  • You require to fill out your personal details, scanned copy of passport and visa, upload a scanned photograph.
  • After submitting the e-CAF, an 8-digit alphanumeric transaction ID will be revealed on the screen which will be valid for 48 hours. The subscriber requires sharing this transaction ID with a trusted person whose mobile number is registered with Aadhaar. The trusted person can be an NRI or an Indian citizen.
  • This trusted person will have to submit the transaction ID and the NRI subscriber’s phone number on TSP’s portal.
  • After authenticating the mobile number and the transaction ID, the assigned person needs to enter his Aadhaar number. You can give approval as a trusted person for a maximum of five subscribers.
  • TSP is needed to send an Aadhaar OTP request to UIDAI.
  • On receipt of e-KYC details from UIDAI, the telecom service providers are required to store the details in the same e-CAF and a send authorization SMS to the subscriber as well as the trusted person declaring “the process has been completed, and we will take 96 hours to verify if the mobile number has been re-verified after checking the all the details and uploaded documents.” In case of discrepancies, the subscriber will be informed accordingly via SMS. If the verification is rejected, the entire process has to be repeated.

Subscriber of foreign national not holding Aadhaar

The subscriber will need to visit the TSPs terminal, or a TSP representative will visit the subscriber.

The TSP representative will authenticate himself through an Aadhaar based e-KYC process as per the current protocol for starting the re-verification process.

The subscriber will receive a TSP initiated 4-digit authentication code on his/her mobile to confirm that the mobile is physically being with the subscriber.

After that, the TSP agent will proceed as follows:

  • Validate the authentication code.
  • Post authentication, he will fill out the appropriate information in the e-CAF.
  • Live photo of the subscriber will be captured, and he will be needed to submit a scanned copy of his passport as well as a visa.

After the successful submission of the e-CAF with details, another confirmation code is sent to the subscriber from the TSP, and the subscriber will share this verification code to the TSP representative along with the declaration that:

  • The information provided by me is correct.
  • This OTP authentication can be treated as my signature.
  • I am the existing user of this mobile number, and its SIM card is under my possession.

After the validation of verification code, the TSP agent once again authenticates himself along with the declaration that “I hereby confirm having seen the subscriber and the details provided by subscriber have been entered in the CAF by me. I have captured the photograph of the subscriber.”

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