In a bid to expedite compliance of telecom service providers with the Supreme Court’s order regarding linking of Aadhaar card with mobile number and re-verification process of mobile users, the Department of Tele-communications on Wednesday introduced three new methods – OTP based, App based and the IVRS facility- to link the registered mobile number with Aadhaar. These new methods will help subscribers to get their mobile number linked to Aadhaar without visiting the stores.
To make the re-verification process easier for senior citizens and the people with disability and chronic illness, the DoT has recommended the telecom companies to complete the verification process at subscribers’ doorstep. It has asked the telecom companies to provide an online mechanism for people to request such service and based on availability schedule the visit and complete the process.
Speaking on the development, Communication Minister for State Manoj Sinha said: “The Aadhaar number system was designed to allow all residents of the country access to critical government services and important information that they may need from time to time. Mobile penetration is increasing rapidly in the country and the subscribers need to be provided with the ease of linking of the Aadhaar number with the mobile number.”
This year in August, the DoT had given instructions to the telecom service providers to provide iris or fingerprint based authentication of Aadhaar. “The new regulations have specified that the telecom service providers must deploy iris readers for this purpose within a reasonable geographical area,” the department said.
Addressing the privacy concerns, the DoT has mandated that telecom service providers’ agent should not have access to the subscribers’ e-KYC data and only the name and address of the subscribers should be visible. “Subscribers can verify or re-verify their mobile numbers from anywhere in the country irrespective of which service area their mobile connection belongs to,” the DoT said.
Last year in February, the Supreme Court had directed the Central government to re-verify the phone numbers of all mobile phone users in the country within a year. Following the apex court order, the Department of Telecommunication had asked the telecom operators to verify all phone numbers through the Aadhar eKYC process.
Linking mobile number with Aadhaar has raised some security concerns among people. Earlier, a petition was filed against the mandatory linking of Aadhaar with mobile numbers. The petition asked the apex court to provide “a direction to the Telecom Service Providers’ to stop advertisements as well as SMS and misinforming the citizens of India about the actual import of the said order.” The petition referred to DoT’s notification, directing the linking of numbers with biometric-based identity card.
Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday refused to link her mobile number with Aadhaar. She said: “We will not link mobile with Aadhaar. If we do not have a mobile connection for that, so be it. I challenge that I will not provide my Aadhaar number even if my connection is stopped. I don’t care.” The Chief Minister said linking of Aadhaar with mobile number was a breach of right of privacy and the government was trying to intrude into people’s personal life and curb their freedom. “This means even a private conversation between a husband and a wife is going to be tapped,” she said.