Provide alternative docs to telcos for removal of Aadhaar data: COAI


New Delhi: Customers who want removal of Aadhaar details from the records of telecom operators will have to provide alternative verification documents, it has been revealed.

Industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has stated the above and as also directed by the Department of Telecom, said the services will not be disconnected during the change in documentation process.

‘Telecom players had a meeting with the Department of Telecom and they have been clarified that customers willing to get their Aadhaar details deleted from telecom operator data base should be allowed to do so against valid identity and address proof,’ director general, COAI, Rajan S Mathews said.

COAI, whose members include Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea, etc, said Aadhaar remains a valid document for customer verification like other government authorised documents including passport, PAN card, Driving License, Voter ID etc, however, while getting a new connection, no authentication of subscriber details by UIDAI will be done now.

‘Telecom operators always comply with instructions and regulations passed by DoT and we will adhere to the Supreme Court’s verdict. We shall await further orders and instructions from DoT,’ Mathews said.

He said Aadhaar is a robust and convenient method of subscriber authentication. ‘The industry is prepared to work closely with DoT to find viable and legal solutions of using Aadhaar based identification process which also fits with the Government’s Digital India mission. Currently, we are closely working with DoT to build a completely hassle-free alternate digital verification process. Customers’ convenience tops the priority for our member operators and the industry is committed to ensure that subscribers face no disturbances whatsoever,’ Mathews said.

He said customers who want to get their Aadhaar erased from operators database will need to call their operators to check about point of sales or service where they need to go with request for deletion of Aadhaar records.

The government Thursday said there is no threat of discontinuation of mobile numbers issued using Aadhaar, following the Supreme Court ruling that barred use of the national biometric ID by private companies.

Debunking reports that over 50 crore, or half of the mobile SIMs in the country, face deactivation, the Department of Telecommunication and the 12-digit unique identity number-issuing authority UIDAI in a joint statement said, mobile phone users at their choice can seek a change of their Aadhaar-based authentication done in the past with alternate proof of identity without any disconnection of the number.

An alternative form for buying new SIMs through a mobile app that will time capture photograph of persons along with ID proof such as Aadhaar card, voter ID or passport is in the works.

‘The Supreme Court in its judgement in Aadhaar case has nowhere directed that the mobile number which has been issued through Aadhaar e-KYC has to be disconnected,’ it said.

Terming the report as ‘completely untrue and imaginary’, the government said there is no reason for panic or fear at all. ‘People should not believe in such rumours,’ it said.

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