Migrants will now find their lives made a whole lot easier, with the recent notification made by the government on Wednesday, communicating an amendment made to Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules Act of 2002. Under the new law, people will now be able to use their current addresses as proof in any KYC (know-your-customer) requirement. The amendment comes in response to rising demand for existing PMLA laws around KYC procedures to be changed, with a view to improve convenience.
Previously, individuals were required to provide the address on their Aadhaar cards (usually a permanent address) if they sought verification by enterprises that carry out KYC formalities. Under the new rules, people may provide their current address i.e. a more functional address when completing KYC procedures. This is particularly helpful for people looking to open bank accounts, or set up mobile connections at cities or towns that may not necessarily be their native ones. What’s more, the gazette notification also specified that these addresses need only be self-declared.
The amendment will also make the process of changing one’s address on an Aadhaar card simpler. As per the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), 44 different documents serve as proof to validate a change in address request. These include passport, voter ID, bank statements, bank passbook, utilities bills (not older than 3 months), marriage certificate, or vehicle registration certificates among several others.
The PMLA details the mechanisms that banks, intermediaries and financial organisations must employ in their verification protocols, before on-boarding any new client or customer. The PMLA has three primary purposes – to prevent and control money laundering, to provide for the confiscation and seizure of property acquired through laundered money, and to deal with any other issue concerning money laundering.
The relaxation in the PMLA’s provision is in stark contrast to the eight previous amendments (six of which were explanations) made by the Finance Ministry in July, that sought to tighten its anti-money laundering regulations. At the time, Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman had stated that the amendments have been made to remove “confusion, grey area or ambiguity which might exist.” The amendments also included a proviso which stated that if a case is being tried in one court, and hearings have already commenced, it cannot be clubbed with another case at another court, and treated as a single case.