DoT orders operators to cease Aadhaar verification

29 Oct 2018

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has ordered cellcos to cease using Aadhaar-based identification to verify subscriber lines, in line with a Supreme Court order in September, the Economic Times reports. A notice from the DoT instructed providers to stop using the government-managed ID system for ‘electronic know your customer (eKYC)’ services for verifying new or existing customers. The DoT said that providers should adopt an alternate digital process that would allow verification to remain paperless by using scanned images of proof of address and identity. Mobile operators have been caught in the middle of a policy U-turn from the Supreme Court which on the implementation of the voluntary identification system: in February 2017 the court mandated the re-verification of subscriber lines via Aadhaar, but postponed the deadline indefinitely following legal challenges to the mandatory use of Aadhaar verification for various services, and ultimately reversed its decision altogether in late September. Cellcos have been waiting since then for direction from regulatory authorities to ensure compliance with the new order. Providers now have until 5 November to comply with the DoT’s instructions. In addition to the expense of re-orienting their subscriber identification processes, the apex court’s decision is expected to negatively impact the nation’s cellcos by extending subscriber sign-up times and increasing customer acquisition costs.