DoT scripts ‘thumb’ rule for issue of new SIM cards

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on January 17, 2018 Published on August 16, 2016

JS Deepak, Secretary, DoT

Industry welcomes e-KYC norm

Life could become a lot easier if SIM cards are given based on electronic-know your customer (e-KYC) checks using ‘Aadhaar’.

While other government departments are still working on the use of e-KYC for essential services, the Department of Telecom has issued a circular notifying “use of ‘Aadhaar’ e-KYC service of Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI) for issuing mobile connections to subscribers”.

Eco-friendly move

If calculated on the basis of eight-crore subscribers every year, such a move can save up to 50,000 trees and 24 crore sheets of paper every year, JS Deepak, Secretary, DoT, told BusinessLine, adding that such move can bring about a revolutionary change not only in the Indian telecom industry, but also to the country.

“After successful completion of proof-of-concept to use ‘Aadhaar’ e-KYC service for issuing mobile connections to subscribers, it has been decided to launch the ‘Aadhaar’ e-KYC service across all Licensed Service Areas (LSAs), including J&K, North East and Assam,” the Department said.

This will be an “alternative” to existing proof of identity / proof of address document-based processes, it said. “It will result in absolute authentication based on Aadhaar and no storing of files since it is an end-to-end automated service. This will lead to ease of doing business, save a huge amount of money and create a ‘green telecom’ industry,” the Secretary said.

In the e-KYC service, a customer authenticates his identity online using his/her Aadhaar number and biometrics to provide his/ her demographic data (name of the customer, address, date of birth and gender) along with his/ her photograph (digitally signed and encrypted format) to licensees, the DoT circular said.

Machine readable

As per UIDAI, digitally signed electronic-KYC data provided by UIDAI is machine readable, making it possible for licensees to directly store it as the customer record in their database for the purpose of issuing a mobile connection, it said.

“The point-of-sale (PoS) used in these instructions shall be the franchisee, agent or distributor of the operator in addition to its employee,” it said.

Some of the procedures to be followed while issuing a mobile connection using e-KYC include – the telecom service provider (TSP) maintaining details, including the complete address and code of its all points of sale along with the names and Aadhaar numbers of corresponding agents.

Customers desirous of purchasing mobile connections shall visit an authorised PoS of the TSP.

“Until and unless the agent of the PoS is authenticated by a licensee using his/ her biometric details through UIDAI, no customer application form shall get displayed by the Licensee on the screen of the concerned PoS,” DoT said.

From the subscriber’s side he/ she will be required to declare that the information provided and data received from UIDAI is correct; that the biometric authentication can be treated as his/ her signature and then he/ she has receives the SIM card. The telecom industry has welcomed the announcement.

‘Digital India’ vision

“It will contribute to the government’s ‘Digital India’ vision. Airtel plans to start rolling out Aadhaar-based e-KYC solutions this week itself,” Gopal Vittal, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (India and South Asia), Bharti Airtel, said.

“For Vodafone, it will improve quality of sales as well as regulatory compliance. For the regulator, it not only means a green initiative but also hassle-free governance and accurate audit results,” said Sunil Sood, MD & CEO, Vodafone India.

Hemant Joshi, Partner, Deloitte Haskins & Sells, LLP, said that such subscriber verification would be beneficial to all stakeholders — telecom companies, customers and the government.

Published on August 16, 2016
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