The government will soon put in place a mechanism for authentication of cellphone subscribers who do not have Aadhaar numbers.
It may also explore another method for people unwilling to share their Aadhaar numbers with telecom companies. Such a method will conform with the Supreme Court’s mandate on re-verification of mobile subscribers.
People who did not have Aadhaar numbers might be provided the option of furnishing their passport, driving licence or ration card as proof of address and identity, sources said.
The department of telecommunications (DoT) has announced a series of measures for simplifying the re-verification process using Aadhaar numbers by offering the facility at the subscriber’s doorstep and using one-time passwords (OTPs).
Telecom companies have been directed to offer the doorstep facility for the convenience of the old or those with disability and illness. They have also been asked to initiate OTP-based verification using SMS or IVRS on mobile apps.
“It is the government’s endeavour to improve convenience and reduce time and energy spent by consumers in accessing government information,” Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha said.
Nearly 500 million mobile numbers are registered in the Aadhaar database and the OTP can be used for verification in all these cases.
For agent-assisted biometric authentication, telecom companies have been asked to ensure all the details of subscribers are not visible to the agent. This facility is meant for people who face problems with poor fingerprint quality, disability or old age. The re-verification exercise is scheduled to be completed by early 2018.
Asked why the government was using Aadhaar for mobile subscriber re-verification when the matter was pending with the Supreme Court, Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said the government was merely implementing the court’s mandate. The government has informed the court that it will use Aadhaar for re-verification of mobile subscribers.
The Supreme Court will on October 30 hear all pleas challenging the compulsory use of Aadhaar for receiving benefits from the government. The Centre has told the Supreme Court it is ready to extend the deadline till March 31, 2018, for people who do not have Aadhaar numbers.