Aadhaar not required for new mobile connection: Here's what you must know

Aadhaar
You no longer need an Aadhaar to get a mobile connection; telecom companies would now also accept other documents like passport, driving licence and voter ID, with the Centre reportedly directing them immediately implement a new rule to this effect. The development comes after the Supreme Count on March 14 issued an interim order indefinitely extending the deadline for linking Aadhaar to bank accounts, mobile phone numbers, passports and other services, beyond the previous deadline of March 31. A five-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had said there was no need to link Aadhaar to these services until a judgment was pronounced on the constitutionality of the unique identification programme.

"As per rule, fresh connections can be given using any authentic ID and address proof. There is no change in that rule. Telecom operators cannot deny fresh SIM to people having valid ID and address proof document. For re-verification, we have to wait for Supreme Court order as the matter is sub-judice," Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said.

Here are the top updates on new rules clarifying whether or not Aadhaar is mandatory for procuring mobile SIMs: 

1) Aadhaar no longer mandatory: You no longer need an Aadhaar card to buy a mobile SIM. The government had directed telecom companies to accept alternative documents like driving licence, passport and voter ID, the report said. Further, Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said that telecom operators had been asked to follow the new rule with immediate effect.  

2) Aadhaar linking required at later stage: While telecom operators can issue new SIM cards on the basis of any identity document like election voter ID or driving licence, the requirement to link mobile number with Aadhaar at a later date has not been done away with.

Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said there is no change in the prevalent rules that mobile phone companies cannot deny anyone a new SIM card for want of Aadhaar, and can use alternative identification documents for the purpose. She, however, said the government will await a verdict of the Supreme Court on the requirement to verify the SIM by linking it with biometric 12-digit Aadhaar number.

4) No re-verification required for Aadhaar-linked SIM users: Sources with direct knowledge of the matter told a news agency that the SIM-Aadhaar linking policy still stands as on date and so new SIMs issued without Aadhaar would need to be re-verified through Aadhaar-based eKYC at a later date. Similarly, subscribers who give Aadhaar right at the time of new SIM issuance, would not need to undergo for Aadhaar-based re-verification again.

5) SC earlier extended the deadline indefinitely: The Supreme Court on March 14 had extended the March 31 deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to avail of various services and welfare schemes run by the government until its Constitution Bench delivered its verdict on the validity of the 12-digit biometric number and its enabling law. 

6) Deadline extension applies to Aadhaar-mobile number linking: The extension of deadline also applies to the mandatory linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile phone numbers. The Constitution Bench is hearing a batch of petitions that have challenged the constitutional validity of Aadhaar and its enabling Act.

7) Can govt mandate Aadhaar-mobile linking without SC’s order?: The Supreme Court on April 25 questioned the Centre's decision on ordering mandatory linking of mobile numbers with Aadhaar and said its earlier order on mandatory authentication of the users was used as a "tool". A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, hearing a clutch of petitions challenging Aadhaar and its enabling 2016 law, said its order on a PIL filed by 'Lokniti Foundation' had said that mobile users needed to be verified in the interest of national security. "In fact, there was no such direction from the Supreme Court, but you took it and used it as a toll to make Aadhaar mandatory for mobile users," the SC bench said.

8) How can DoT mandate Aadhaar linking with mobile phones: Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for UIDAI, on Wednesday said the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) notification talked about re-verification of mobile numbers by using e-KYC process and the Telegraph Act gave "exclusive power to the central government to decide license conditions" of service providers.

"How can you (DoT) impose a condition on service recipients for seeding Aadhaar with mobile phones," the bench said, adding that license agreements were between the government and the service providers.

Dwivedi said the direction to seed mobile with Aadhaar was taken in pursuance of TRAI's recommendation. Besides, the government was entitled and had legitimate state interest to ensure that a sim card is given to only those who applied, he said, seeking to allay apprehensions that the State would will surveil the people 24x7.

"My submission is that the government had a legal basis to link Aadhaar with SIM by virtue of section 4 of the Telegraph Act and also, the measure is reasonable in the interest of national security," the lawyer stressed.

9) Banks, telecom companies have much bigger database: The banks and telecom companies have much "bigger database" about the citizens, senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi said, adding, "For example, Vodafone has a much bigger data base of information even without Aadhaar. The Aadhaar data is immaterial for them."

"Appreciate the fact as to how much information a bank possesses about its customers. Every transaction as to what I purchase by using cards, where and when, all this information is with banks. Aadhaar does not tell all this. This information are already there and is being used for commercial purposes," he said, adding that a person starts getting numerous calls before their car insurance expire.

He said people are being "scared" about Aadhaar but "nobody questions the telecom companies, banks.... Their single target is Aadhaar". Dwivedi informed the bench about an app, available on Google Playstore and said it has so many personal information about a person. He gave details, procured by using the app, about him, his family members to the bench.

10) EPFO temporarily shuts Aadhaar seeding portal: Confidential data of formal sector employees enrolled under the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) have been stolen by hackers, forcing it to temporarily shut the Aadhaar-seeding portal. The Intelligence Bureau (IB) informed the Labour and Employment Ministry in March about the data theft from the EPFO’s web portal that links Aadhaar number of employees with their provident fund accounts. The possible data leak from the website includes employees' Aadhaar number, name, date of birth, father’s name, PAN, employment details, among others. However, the EPFO said it is still unaware of the nature of the data theft.

“It has been intimated that the data has been stolen by hackers by exploiting the vulnerabilities prevailing in the website (aadhaar.epfoservices.com) of EPFO,” central provident fund commissioner V P Joy wrote in a letter dated March 23 to Dinesh Tyagi, chief executive officer (CEO) at Common Service Centre (CSC) which is managing the website’s server.

TO CHECK IF MOBILE NUMBER IS LINKED TO AADHAAR

Step 1: Enter Aadhaar number, mobile number and security code; then click on ‘Get one-time password (OTP)’ 

Step 2: If your mobile is linked, you will receive an OTP. Enter it and verify your mobile number 

Step 3: If it is not linked, you will get a message: “Your mobile is not enrolled in our records”

To link mobile number with Aadhaar

Step 1: Download Aadhaar update/ correction form from the UIDAI website or get it at the nearest Aadhaar centre  

Step 2: Along with filled form, submit a copy of your Aadhaar card and a photo identification document (PAN card, passport, voter ID, etc)

Step 3: Your biometrics (thumb impression) will be verified

Step 4:You will be given an acknowledgement slip. Linking happens within 10 days  

Step 5: At the telecom service provider’s store, give your Aadhaar card and mobile number 

Step 6: After biometric verification, you will receive an OTP on your phone. Submit it to complete the verification process

From December 1, you will be able to go to the telecom service provider’s website and generate an OTP  

This will be received on a mobile number registered with UIDAI (at the time of enrollment) 
Enter it and your Aadhaar number and authentication will get done 
An interactive voice response system (IVRS) from a registered mobile will also allow you to do the same



Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel