The Telecom Department and Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) are planning to evolve SIM verification method for NRIs and foreign tourists as they are not eligible for Aadhaar card. Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said the decision over the issue will be taken in three weeks. Sundararajan said,”Those who have Aadhaar or are entitled to get Aadhaar will have to verify their SIMs with their Aadhaar.” The verification process for SIM card through Aadhaar-based authentification has been simplified with the government allowing OTP and another method to complete the process of linking mobile numbers to Aadhaar, PTI reports. Sundararajan said,”The operators have been asked to draw up a process incorporating new guidelines and come back to UIDAI by November 15. Once the UIDAI gives them clearance, they will have to implement the new system within a period of two weeks.”
The government has launched a series of measures to ease Aadhaar-based re-verification of existing subscribers. The process of re-verification for chronically ill, senior citizens and disabled people can be exercised by the operator coming at the doorsteps.The mobile numbers can also be linked with Aadhaar through OTP (one-time password), app or IVRS facility. Telecom operators have also been directed to deploy iris devices at “appropriate number of service points” so subscribers have access to iris authentication “within a reasonable geographical distance,” Sundararajan said.
She added,”There may be exceptions like foreign tourists etc who are visiting or NRI who are not at all entitled to Aadhaar. For such people, the UIDAI and DoT are examining what alternative mechanism, we can allow.” The Telecom Secretary went on to say,”One such way for NRIs and foreign tourists could be authentication through passport, but no decision has been taken yet on the matter.”
Sundararajan said that Aadhaar-based process for SIM verification was devised in the wake of complaints about mobile connections being issued without proper due diligence by telecom operators (and later such SIMs being used by terrorists and fraudsters) and the Supreme Court’s observations in February this year in a PIL by Lokniti Foundation.