Over 50 crore mobiles numbers may face KYC proof issue

Joanna Estrada
October 18, 2018

Rejecting a report by an English daily that said 500 million mobile numbers, nearly half of the total mobiles in circulation, are at the risk of disconnection, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) issued a joint statement. ET has reported earlier that Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have also submitted their exit plans on Aadhaar based verification to UIDAI. Sources say the government considering the issue and will give adequate time to complete fresh KYC. The restriction of not keeping authentication log beyond six months is on the UIDAI and not on the telecom companies,"the UIDAI tweeted today dismissing rumours of discontinuation of mobile connections as "baseless".

The Telecom Ministry, in a joint statement with Aadhaar authority UIDAI, said that the Supreme Court has prohibited issue of new SIM cards through Aadhaar eKYC authentication process, however, there is no direction by the top court to deactivate the old mobile phones (which have Aadhaar eKYC). The telecom department is also in discussions with the Unique Identification Authority of India over the issue. She insisted that the government wants to make sure that "customers are not inconvenienced" during the transition.

Nearly half of India's phone population belongs to the newest entrant Reliance Jio and they would be more affected since it has been giving SIM cards only through the biometric route.

Apart from Jio, there would be similar subscribers (who have been given SIM cards only on the basis of Aadhaar authentication) in the fold of nearly all the other phone companies - Bharti Airtel, Vodafone-Idea, and state-owned BSNL and MTNL. On Wednesday, a DoT official told news agency PTI the government would ensure that telecom customers do not face any disruption in services due to change in KyC regime following the court order.

Ketan Doshi, managing director of remittance firm PayPoint, said the Aadhaar authority's directive would be a "huge blow" for the digital payments industry. It asked the companies for a confirmation of closure and a plan to exit the Aadhaar system.

Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio) said it continues to do digital verification via Aadhaar till further instructions from telecom department.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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