Home / Politics / Policy /  Govt unveils steps to simplify Aadhaar-mobile number linking process

New Delhi: The process of re-verification of existing mobile phone users using Aadhaar is set to become simpler and more convenient, according to an official familiar with the matter.

The government has initiated a series of measures, including allowing re-verification at subscribers’ doorstep and one time password (OTP) based authentication of existing users, to make the entire exercise easier for telecom subscribers.

Telecom operators have been directed to offer facility for re-verification at the subscribers’ doorstep for convenience of those with disability, illness or old age, the official told PTI. Operators have been asked to put in place an online mechanism (through website, and other means) for people to request for such service.

Telecom service providers have been instructed to initiate a scheme to use OTP based re-verification of mobile subscribers using SMS or IVRS or on their mobile app. “This means that if one mobile number is registered in Aadhaar database, then the OTP method can be used for reverification of that number as well as other mobile numbers owned by the subscriber," the official pointed out.

Nearly 50 crore mobile numbers are already registered in Aadhaar database, and the OTP can be leveraged for re-verification in all of these cases, the person in the know added. In case of agent-assisted biometric authentication for SIM re-verification or issuance, telcos have been asked to ensure that full e-KYC details of subscribers are not made visible to the agent. Nor should data be stored on the agent’s device, the official said.

In the current dispensation, e-KYC data of the subscriber including photograph is visible to the agent of the telecom operator. The slew of measures being undertaken are aimed at improving ease of re-verification and its success rate, the official added. The official pointed out that some residents, especially senior citizens, found it difficult to verify their identity using fingerprint-based Aadhaar authentication.

Also, there were cases where residents — those bed ridden, ill or physically challenged — were unable to visit the service points of telecom service providers. Telecom operators have also been directed to deploy iris devices at “appropriate number of service points" so subscribers have access to iris authentication “within a reasonable geographical distance".

This will be useful for people who face problem with fingerprint authentication, owing to poor fingerprint quality, disability or old age, the official explained. Aadhaar-based e-KYC is essential for subscribers going for new SIMs. Further, the government has asked mobile operators to re-verify existing prepaid and postpaid customers, with the help of the 12-digit unique identity number.

The re-verification exercise is scheduled to be completed by early 2018. The Indian telecom market with subscriber base of over a billion is second-largest in the world after China.

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