Telecom companies have been given 15 days by the Unique Identification Authority of India to give a plan to stop using Aadhaar number for customer authentication. This comes days after the Supreme Court, in a landmark verdict, struck down attempts to make it mandatory for mobile phone connections and several other services.
Service providers like Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea and others were sent the circular that said, "...all TSPs (telecom service providers) 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..."
Private companies cannot demand Aadhaar data linked to an individual's face, fingerprints and iris scans for access to their services, the Supreme Court had said in a 1,448-page verdict last week. The top court upheld the validity of the 12-digit unique ID number but with certain conditions. The court struck down attempts to make Aadhaar mandatory for bank accounts, mobile phone connections and school admissions.
This would mean that mobile phone companies will have to revert to alternates like paper-based technique, by collect physical paper forms with signature, photographs, ship to verification centre and call up the customer to cross-verify submitted details).
The CEO of UIDAI said telecom firms said telecom firms have to give a detailed plan for 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 side, we will tell them after receipt of their plan," UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey said.
(With inputs from PTI)