The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has proposed that the Department of Telecom (DoT) allow e-KYC (know your customer) of Aadhaar as one of the valid documents to get a new mobile connection, reports TOI. This recommendation was made earlier this month after consulting with the Solicitor General and the Attorney General, the report adds.

This facility has not been finalised yet and the government has also sought comments (pdf) from the public (pdf). On the MyGov platform, it has received 345 submissions, out of which it approved 267 as of now. From the submissions, readers would note that people have suggested both for and against Aadhaar as a means of identity, and some comments from as long as 1.5 years ago. As of now, Idea, Vodafone, Tata Docomo and Airtel do not accept Aadhaar as either an ID or address proof to get a new connection.

Speed up the process of getting a new connection
The TOI report adds that the government will enable instant ID verification using Aadhaar card biometrics data to get a new SIM card and connection, as a measure to speed up the process of getting one and eliminating the use of paper. This would also help in eliminating multiple SIMs owned under one person’s documents as may be the case now.

A DNA report from March 2015 states that the prime minister’s office had approved a partial roll out of using Aadhaar as an ID proof via eKYC in the circles of Bhopal, Kolkata, Delhi, Lucknow and Bangalore, which would run for 6 weeks. The telecom operators would need to share the generated data with the Intelligence Bureau. A Business Standard report from December states that Aadhaar was then being used as a proof for address and ID for getting SIM cards, but the IB and home ministry were re-considering allowing eKYC for this with respect to security concerns.

Related read: Why Vodafone’s Aadhar-based verification pilot is important for payments in India

The UIDAI states that as of December 2014, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has issued 70 crore Aadhaar Cards (while the TOI report states that 97.93 have been issued to date). The highest number of cards have been issued in Uttar Pradesh, followed by Maharashtra, West Bengal and Bihar (we had reported previously that 2 crore Aadhaar numbers had been assigned to Bihar’s citizens, out of a total population of 10.41 crores). The least number of cards have been issued in Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa and Uttarakhand among others.

Other Aadhaar developments:

– Last week, Microsoft said that it is working on a pilot to integrate its VoIP solution Skype with the Aadhaar database, to see if Aadhaar can be used as an identification system for video calls with government organisations and institutions among others.

– In September 2015, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which is responsible for issuing Aadhar cards in the country, was shifted to ministry of IT and communications from the country’s top policy commission, NITI Aayog.

– As of March 2015, the NPCI linked 15 crore bank accounts opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana with Aadhar numbers. The linking of an Aadhar number with a bank account makes the job of identification easier for the government in order to make welfare payments and subsidies directly into the bank accounts.

Also read:

Aadhaar and the Waiver of the Right to Privacy

How to Get Married Without an Aadhaar Number – Caravan Magazine

Our Aadhaar coverage.

Image Credit: Ravishyam Bangalore under CC BY SA 4.0