Government of India entities, as well as major telecom operators, have agreed to test Aadhaar-card based e-KYC for issuing SIM cards in five circles as a pilot project.
With this, Aadhar number will be mandatory for one to buy a new Sim card. However, all telecom companies to slowly ask customers to submit their Aadhar number with their new connection request.
Two months ago, Department of Telecom (DoT) had asked all mobile operators to collect ‘Aadhaar’ number along with customer application form for issuing new connections and store the unique identification number in their database. DoT had also asked the operators to amend their database in two months by adding the ‘Aadhaar’ number.
This pilot will be conducted in Bhopal, Kolkata, Delhi, Lucknow and Bengaluru by telecom operators. These include Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited along with Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Reliance Communications and Idea Cellular.
Under the proposal, a person would be able to avail of a new SIM card instantaneously by entering the Aadhaar number and biometrics, without needing to present a physical documentary proof. The Unique Identification Authority (UID) servers from the back-end will verify the antecedents.
The Home Ministry had raised multiple concerns over using UIDAI number as an address proof in the DoT's proposed online verification system, citing possible issues with the supporting Aadhaar data. It said that unlike 'Aadhaar', other acceptable proof of address documents such as passport, driving licence do not have the status of universality and therefore "even higher levels of error in these documents may not translate into comparable volume of security concerns.
The Home Ministry had also raised concern over the involvement of foreign vendors by UIDAI for storing data and has suggested audit of data security.
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has issued Aadhaar numbers to over 70 crore residents in the country.