Source - Devansh Sharma, Economic Times, Jan 11, 2018
NEW DELHI: Senior citizens, NRIs and handicapped people are still awaiting a solution to their long pending mobile-Aadhaar verification problem despite the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) deadline for providing relief having expired on January 1.
The main problem faced by this category of people was their inability to physically visit stores of telecom service providers to verify their Aadhaar biometrics or their fingerprints were worn out. Consequently, DoT had directed all telecom service providers including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular etc to provide an alternative online Aadhaar verification process which would allow this category of people to verify their Aadhaar without visiting the store and without physical biometric verification. DoT had also asked them to provide an IVR based alternative which, however, would have required that the user's mobile number be pre-linked to their Aadhaar in UIDAI's data base.
However, TSPs like Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea are yet to fully comply with this government directive. So far, these telecom giants have only made the IVR option functional while the online verification facility is still not available. ET Online checked websites of Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and BSNL, and only the public sector provider BSNL, has made the online alternative available to its subscribers.
When contacted, Idea officials said that they are still working on rolling out the online re-verification process, however, they did not specify a timeline by when it will be available. Sources at Vodafone said that the online alternative will be made available in a week's time.
Responding to ET Online's query Airtel officials said that the company plans to start the online verification facility in the next few days. It may be recalled that Airtel used the e-KYC Aadhaar verification process to open payments bank accounts without consent of users. Due to this, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), while suspending the Airtel's e-KYC licence, had imposed a fine of Rs 2.5 crore on the payments bank. It later allowed Airtel to resume Aadhaar-based e-KYC verification of its telecom subscribers till March 31 to facilitate linking of Aadhaar with mobile SIMs as per a Supreme Court directive.
The new verification process
Considering the problems specifically faced by NRIs, senior citizens, handicapped people or even those whose fingerprints have worn out, DoT's December notification explained in detail the strict protocol that has to be followed while doing the verification for NRIs, senior citizens and resident Indians who do not have Aadhaar or if their mobile number is not registered in the UIDAI database. And DoT had directed the mobile companies to provide subscribers two options where they did not have to visit the store.
So, with the online option yet to be launched, senior citizens, handicapped people, and NRIs can use the IVR option. However, this facility is not for everyone. To use the IVR verification option, your mobile number has to be registered with the UIDAI database and your Aadhaar card and mobile number should be from the same state. For mobile users who haven't registered their mobile numbers with the UIDAI database, can only complete the process by visiting the service provider's store.
Telecom companies have been given time till March 31, 2018 to complete the re-verification process of all their subscribers. Mobile subscribers, who do not re-verify their KYC by verifying their Aadhaar card with their TSP will have their mobile services disconnected.