Verifying SIM using Aadhaar made easy: Here's how in just 4 steps

A man talks on his mobile phone while walking on a road in Kolkata. Photo: Reuters
Aadhaar-based e-KYC is essential for subscribers going for new SIMs. The government has also asked mobile operators to re-verify existing prepaid and postpaid customers, with the help of the 12-digit unique identity number. The process of re-verification of existing mobile subscribers using Aadhaar is set to become simpler and more convenient, according to an official source. 

Nearly 500 million mobile numbers are already registered on the Aadhaar database, and an OTP can be leveraged for re-verification in all of these cases, a source told PTI.

The Indian telecom market with a subscriber base of over 1 billion is second-largest in the world, next only to China.

The re-verification exercise is scheduled to be completed by early 2018.

Here's how you can link your SIM with Aadhaar according to the new changes introduced by the government:   

1. Now, you can re-verify existing SIMs with OTP-based authentication. 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. "This means that if one mobile number is registered in Aadhaar database, then the OTP method can be used for re-verification of that number as well as other mobile numbers owned by the subscriber," the source pointed out.

For example, if you are an Idea Cellular customer, you can complete the process in this manner:

Step 1 - Visit your nearest Idea centre and provide your mobile number and Aadhaar number.

Step 2 - The Idea store executive will provide you with a four-digit verification code on your mobile from the re-verification application.

Step 3 - You will have to provide the verification code to the Idea store executive and provide your biometrics.

Step 4 - After 24 hours, you will receive a confirmation SMS, reply 'Y' to complete the EKYC process.

2. Those with disability, illness or old age, can complete e-verification process at their doorstep only. Operators have been asked to put in place an online mechanism (through website and other means) for people to request for such service. 

3. At "an appropriate number of service points" your telecom operator will deploy iris devices so that subscribers have access to iris authentication "within a reasonable geographical distance" as per the government directive. 

What are the other changes?

In the current dispensation, e-KYC data of the subscriber including photograph is visible to the agent of the telecom operator. However, now the government said that in case of agent-assisted biometric authentication for SIM re-verification or issuance, telcos have to ensure that full e-KYC details of subscribers are not made visible to the agent. Nor should data be stored on the agents' device, the source added.

Why are the changes introduced?

The slew of measures being undertaken are aimed at improving ease of re-verification and its success rate, the official added.

The source pointed out that some residents, especially senior citizens, found it difficult to verify their identity using fingerprint-based Aadhaar authentication. Also, there were cases where residents - those bedridden, ill or physically challenged - were unable to visit the service points of telecom service providers.

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