The government made it clear today that it has discontinued Aadhaar-based verification of mobile phone users. It also assured those who got SIM cards based on Aadhaar eKYC, that though the Aadhaar verification process has been stopped, their SIM cards are safe and will not be discontinued.
The Telecom Ministry, in a joint statement with Aadhaar authority UIDAI, said that the Supreme Court has prohibited issue of new SIM cards through Aadhaar eKYC authentication process, however, there is no direction by the top court to deactivate the old mobile phones (which have Aadhaar eKYC).
For customers who want to change or replace their Aadhaar records with telecom firms must voluntarily submit any alternate government-recognised identity or address proof, they said.
The government will not push for a re-verification process of those who have already given their Aadhaar details, it stated.
"Hon'ble Supreme Court in its judgement in Aadhaar case has nowhere directed that the mobile number which has been issued through Aadhaar eKYC has to be disconnected. Therefore, there is absolutely no reason for panic or fear at all," the joint statement by the two government bodies said.
There has been speculation that subscribers who enrolled through Aadhaar-based authentication process may have to provide fresh documents to complete their Know Your Customer (KYC) process again, since the Supreme Court judgement restricted the use of Aadhaar-based verification by private entities.
Putting rumours to rest, the statement pointed out that "In light of the verdict, if anybody wishes to get her or his Aadhaar eKYC replaced by the fresh KYC, she or he may request the service provider for de-linking of their Aadhaar by submitting fresh OVDs (official valid documents) as per earlier DOT circulars on mobile KYC. But in any case his mobile number will not be disconnected."
The Unique Identification Authority of India or UIDAI had given time till October 15, to telecom operators for complying with the top court order and asked them to close Aadhaar-based verification for their services.
It further noted that the Supreme Court has not asked operators to delete existing eKYC data of their customers. Instead, all it said was that UIDAI should not keep authentication log for more than six months. "The restriction is on UIDAI and not on the telecom companies. Therefore there is no need for telecom companies to delete authentication logs," the statement said.
(With inputs from PTI)