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UIDAI Asks Telcos to Submit Plan to Discontinue Aadhaar-Based eKYC

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Days after the Supreme Court imposed curbs on the use of Aadhaar, biometric-issuing authority UIDAI Monday asked telecom companies to submit, within the next 15 days, a plan to stop using the 12-digit unique ID number for customer authentication.

A circular to this effect has already been issued to the telecom service providers (TSPs), including Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea and others. The communication, seen by PTI, says: “…all TSPs are called upon to immediately take actions in order to comply with the judgement dated 26.09.2018. In this regard, TSPs are hereby directed to submit by 15th October, 2018 an action plan/exit plan to the authority for closure of use of Aadhaar based authentication systems…”

The Supreme Court, last week, struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act, which allowed private companies to use the 12-digit biometric ID-based eKYC. Following this, private companies like telecom operators will not be able to use this instantaneous and inexpensive Aadhaar eKYC route. This would mean that the industry will have to revert to alternates like legacy paper-based technique (collect physical paper forms with signature, photographs, ship to verification centre and call up the customer to cross-verify submitted details).

The turn around times in this route is between 24-36 hours. When contacted, UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey said: “In order to ensure smooth discontinuation…there are certain requirements which are there under the Aadhaar regulations…so the companies are in the best position to know what exactly is needed and they can submit their plan by October 15. If any additional requirements are to be done from the UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India ) side, we will tell them after receipt of their plan.”