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UIDAI allows Airtel Aadhaar-based verification till Mar 31

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The Unique Identification Authority of (UIDAI) has granted a temporary extension to India's largest telecom operator, Bharti Airtel, to conduct based re-verification of its mobile subscribers, till March 31. The Aadhaar-issuing body has, however, not lifted the ongoing suspension on Airtel Payments Bank's eKYC licence, sources privy to the development told here. The extension is "subject to compliance of activation conditions laid down by the UIDAI", said a source. A further view would be taken on the matter on February 10 after taking into account the final report of the auditor, Department of Telecom, and Reserve of (RBI) as well as the compliance status report. An Airtel spokesperson, in an email response, said: "We can confirm that the has permitted to continue based e-KYC till March 31, 2018, subject to compliance to guidelines laid down by the authority." Both Airtel and Airtel Payments drew flak after the Sunil Mittal-led firm allegedly opened payments accounts of its mobile phone subscribers without seeking their "informed consent", and LPG subsidy worth crores was deposited into these accounts. In a strong action on December 16, the government and the temporarily barred the company from conducting Aadhaar- based SIM verification of mobile customers using eKYC process, and e-KYC of payments clients. On December 21, it allowed Airtel to use for re- verification of its mobile customers till January 10 with stiff riders.

The reprieve was given keeping in mind the convenience of customers and also the impending March 31 deadline given by the for mobile SIM re- verification. The breather in December came only after the company returned Rs 138 crore LPG subsidy that had flowed into unsolicited payment accounts. had then asserted that the relief was contingent on Airtel restricting its e-KYC and authentication service only for re-verification and issuance of SIM cards. The telecom major -- with over 282 million mobile subscribers -- was also not allowed to leverage that for obtaining consent of the holder for opening accounts, wallet, Direct to Home (DTH) or any other goods or services. "We continue to engage with the authorities and have addressed all concerns that they have raised. Compliance to all guidelines is of paramount importance to us and we remain committed to this," the said. The had also asked both RBI and DoT to conduct an audit of systems, processes, applications, documentations followed by "to ensure that the company is in compliance with their licence conditions". Moreover, to avoid a repeat of Bharti Airtel-type fiasco, the last month also directed banks to seek an explicit consent of the beneficiary before changing the account to which the government subsidy is being remitted.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, January 11 2018. 20:25 IST
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