Aadhaar linkage: SIM card of 50 crore users may get disconnected

SIM cards issued through Aadhaar will not be disconnected re-verification of mobile subscribers' KYC details to be optional Government

Earlier, Amit More, founder and CEO of Bengaluru-based peer-to-peer lending solution startup Finzy, had told Inc42 that this decision may have an impact on fintech companies (including P2P lending platforms) such as digital banks, NBFCs, mobile companies and others who rely heavily on Aadhaar-based eKYC verification and eSign for digital signature of documents.

The joint statement said, the Supreme Court has prohibited issue of new SIM cards through Aadhaar eKYC authentication process and there is no direction to deactivate the old mobile phones.

The clarification comes amid reports that 50 crore mobile numbers, nearly half of the total number in circulation, are at the risk of disconnection because the SIM cards have been procured on the basis of Aadhaar verification.

The central government will give customers adequate time to complete the fresh KYC (know your customer).

On Wednesday, telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan met mobile companies on the matter where a way out, and an alternative was discussed.

Nearly half of India's phone population belongs to the newest entrant Reliance Jio and they would be more affected since it has been giving SIM cards only through the biometric route. "We want to ensure that it is a smooth transition with little problems for subscribers", she said.

Apart from Jio, there would be similar subscribers (who have been given SIM cards only on the basis of Aadhaar authentication) in the fold of nearly all the other phone companies - Bharti Airtel, Vodafone-Idea, and state-owned BSNL and MTNL. "This process will be completely hassle-free and digital", it said.

Although Aadhaar-based KYC was voluntary, over 90% of new subscriptions were done through this route due to factors such as convenience, though some customers avoided it on fears around privacy and data leakage.

Therefore, there is no need for telecom companies or AUAs to delete authentication logs at their end. "We are still not clear on the way forward". It asked the companies for a confirmation of closure and a plan to exit the Aadhaar system. On the way forward, sources said that customers may now have to submit a fresh identification document as part of the KYC process.

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