Government simplifies Aadhaar re-verification of SIMs to help elderly, disabled

In a move to make Aadhaar-based verification of existing SIMs simple, the government has asked carriers to enable re-verification by going to consumers’ doorstep and using process of One Time Password (OTP) for authentication of existing users – a move that will benefit senior citizens, those with disabilities, among others.

The telecom department in a notice on Wednesday, said that the carriers will also have to enable IRIS based authentication, as some citizens were unable to do fingerprint verification wing to poor fingerprint quality, disability or old age.

“It has come to our notice that some of the residents, especially senior citizens, face difficulty in verifying their identity using fingerprint based Aadhar authentication. Further there are cases where residents due to being bed ridden, physically challenged and are not able to visit service points of telecom service providers. Such instances may result in denial of service to them,” the DoT said in the notice on Wednesday, while issuing measures that telcos can now use.

Operators have been asked to put in place an online mechanism through website, and other means, for people to request for such service. Telecom service providers have been instructed to initiate a scheme to use OTP based re—verification of mobile subscribers using SMS or IVRS or on their mobile app.

Nearly 50 crore mobile numbers are already registered in Aadhaar database, and the OTP can be leveraged for re— verification in all of these cases. In case of agent—assisted biometric authentication for SIM re—verification or issuance, telcos have been asked to ensure that full e—KYC details of subscribers are not made visible to the agent. Nor should data be stored on the agent’s device, the source added.

In the current dispensation, e—KYC data of the subscriber including photograph is visible to the agent of the telecom operator. Further, the government has asked mobile operators to re—verify existing prepaid and postpaid customers, with the help of the 12—digit unique identity number. The re—verification exercise is scheduled to be completed by early 2018.