The department of telecom (DoT) is exploring an alternate mechanism for those subscribers who do not want to link their Aadhaar cards with mobile numbers. A source said on Wednesday that DoT is ready to explore “other options” for those who have Aadhaar cards but do not want to link it to their mobile numbers for SIM re-verification. However, the process will be in conformity with the directions given by the Supreme Court in the Lok Niti Foundation case on February 6 this year. The apex court had asked the Centre to put in place within a year an effective mechanism to scrutinise the details of identities of over 1 billion existing as well as future mobile telephone consumers. It had also said that verification is important as mobile phones are being used for banking services too.
The development comes hours after the West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said that she would not link her mobile phone with Aadhaar. Telecom minister Manoj Sinha, when asked to respond on Banerjee’s comments, said that the process is being conducted to ensure that mobile numbers are not misused for fraudulent purposes. Also, DoT has also issued a comprehensive set of instructions for linking of Aadhaar cards with mobile number and re-verification process of mobile users. According to the new rules, three new methods to link mobile numbers with Aadhaar cards have been introduced. Subscribers can now opt for either the OTP (one time password)-based process or do it though the app of the service provider, or through the IVRS facility.
Subscribers can now get their mobile number linked to Aadhaar without visiting the stores of the telecom operators. For the ease of senior citizens and people with disabilities and chronic illness, DoT has also recommended for the re-verification at subscribers’ doorsteps. Telecom operators will have to provide an online mechanism for subscribers to request such a service and, based on the availability schedule of the visit, complete the process. “Further, in keeping with privacy rules, the DoT has mandated that telecom service providers’ agent should not have access to the subscribers’ e-KYC data and only the name and address of the subscribers should be visible,” Sinha told reporters.Telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan said for that those people who do not have Aadhaar cards, like NRIs, the government will soon come out with an alternate mechanism.