India government is trying scrub invalid, fake or unauthorised mobile connections in the country. To achieve that in the most efficient way, the government has now made it mandatory for telecom operators in the country to re-verify all existing mobile connection using Aadhaar e-KYC process. Off course, Aadhaar based e-KYC is now mandatory for taking a new mobile connection.
Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has issued a notice saying that all telecom operators will have to re-verify their entire subscriber base. That’s around 1.1 billion subscribers to be re-verified based on their Aadhaar identification. Telcos need to ensure that their subscribers link mobile number to Aadhaar number within a year.
Hon’ble Supreme Court last month (dated 6th February 2017), passed an order in a Write Petition (C) No 607/2016 filed by Lokiti Foundation vs the Union of India. Here the court had said that “an effective process has been evolved to ensure identity verification, as well as, the addresses of all mobile phone subscribers for new subscribers. In the near future, and more particularly within one year from today, a similar verification will be completed, in the case of existing subscribers”.
So, how re-verification should start? The telecom operators first need to send an SMS to their subscribers with a unique verification code. This is done to make sure the SIM card is physically available with the subscriber. After verification, they can proceed with the Aadhaar based e-KYC process. The telcos also need to seek confirmation from the subscribers about the re-verification of his/her mobile number after 24 hours through SMS.
Aadhaar e-KYC re-verification process
- All telecom operators need to re-verify all existing mobile subscribers (both prepaid and postpaid) through Aadhaar based e-KYC process.
- Telcos need to intimate about the Aadhaar re-verification process to their subscribers through advertisement. This can be done via print or electronic media as well as SMS.
- SMS based SIM verification – telecom operators need to send a unique verification code as SMS to their subscribers. This is to confirm that the SIM card of the mobile connection is physically available with the subscribers. After this verification process only, telecom operator can start the Aadhaar e-KYC process.
- Aadhaar e-KYC verification – You now need to submit the Aadhaar details with the telecom operator. Or more importantly, link your Aadhaar number with your mobile number.
- After completion of Aadhaar e-KYC process, before updating the old subscriber’s details telcos need to seek confirmation from the subscriber. This to be done via sending an SMS after 24 hours to the subscriber about the re-verification of his/her mobile number. If the subscriber does not respond to the SMS within 3 daylight hours, the telecom operator can treat the re-verification positive. They can then overwrite the subscriber database by E-KYC process data.
- Multiple mobile connections – Telecom operators can re-verify more than one mobile connection issued by it in one licensed service area to a subscriber through a single e-KYC process. But re-verification of bulk connections are not allowed. The telcos still need to do the above SIM verification post e-KYC process.
- Verification of data only connection – For mobile connection used for data services like in data cards, dongles where SMS service are not available, the telecom operator needs to send the verification SMS on alternative mobile number submitted by the subscribers (while taking the connection initially).
Back in 2016, DoT allowed Aadhaar to be used as a valid document of proof for getting new mobile connections. Recently government made Aadhaar linking compulsory for Income Tax returns as well as for obtaining and retaining PAN. This has to be done starting 1st July 2017 while filing tax returns.