Aadhaar-Based Re-Verification: Telecom Department orders Telcos to clearly specify last date in all communications

India’s telecom department on Monday ordered all Indian telecom service providers to “clearly” convey the last date of linking Aadhaar number with mobile connections for re-verification when they send any such communications, text or voice messages to their respective consumers.

The Supreme Court, in its order dated November 3, had directed that in the messages which are sent by banks or service providers, for linking of Aadhar with Bank accounts or phones should be specifically stated that the last date for linking Aadhaar number for re-verification. The last date for linking bank accounts with Aadhaar is December 31, 2017, while the last date for mobile connections is February 6, 2018.

“Accordingly, the undersigned has been directed to convey that the above directions of Hon’ble Supreme Court are to be compiled to avoid any contempt and, therefore, any communications/voice messages/SMS, which are to be sent by the Licensees to their mobile subscribers regarding re-verification of mobile connections through Aadhaar based. E-KYC process shall contain the last date for re-verification… these directions shall be complied with immediate effect and a compliance,” a notice by the telecom department said on Monday.

The government had previously asked Indian telecom service providers to enable a re-verification scheme using the One Time Password (OTP) for authentication of existing mobile users, in a move aimed at simplifying the Aadhaar-based verification for customers, especially senior citizens with disabilities, among others.

The government had then also asked these telcos to enable IRIS based authentication re-verification, given that some senior citizens would not be able to complete fingerprint verification due to poor fingerprint quality, disability or old age.

According to media reports, over 50 crore mobile numbers are already registered in Aadhaar database, and the OTP can be leveraged for re-verification in all of these cases.

Last week, the Supreme Court had pulled up banks and telecom service providers for creating panic by sending customers messages that their accounts will be deactivated if they are not linked to Aadhaar. A Constitution bench is yet to decide on the validity of the 12-digit identity number, according to reports.

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