The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Monday suggested use of Aadhaar-based e-KYC (know your customer) process, albiet optionaly, for both existing as well as outstation mobile subscribers, a move that will help in cracking down on dubious elements acquiring mobile SIMs using forged IDs and documents.
It also recommended that the existing customers should be provided incentives such as free voice or data to encourage them to use the e-KYC process.
Stating that the paper-based KYC process is “not robust enough”, Trai said there are possibilities for scrupulous elements acquiring a working SIMs, using fake or forged documents. “The owner of such fake identity would not even be aware that SIM(s) are working in his/her name. The Authority has received several cases from State Police (crime branch) wherein it has been found that hundreds of SIM cards have been obtained on fake documents. The existence of such SIM cards poses a real security challenge,” it said.
Aadhaar card provides a robust mechanism to verify the identity of the subscriber electronically as well as instantaneously and is more foolproof as it is based on the biometrics of the person concerned.
It suggested that not only new subscribers, but the existing ones too should be verified using Aadhaar-based e-KYC process.
“DoT may work with the TSPs, to evolve a framework to verify the existing mobile subscribers through Aadhaar-based e-KYC services in a phased manner and within a defined timeframe. However, this process should be optional to the service providers as well as mobile subscribers. The subscribers may have to be given some sops in terms of free talk-time or data to encourage them to undergo the e-KYC process,” Trai said.
Aadhaar-based e-KYC should be permitted for outstation customers also at any place within the service area, it added.
Trai had first in January last year recommended use of Aadhaar-based e-KYC services, which was subsquently allowed by the telecom ministry in August 2016 for issuing mobile connections to new customers.