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Update: In addition to Mysore circle, BSNL has implemented Aadhaar-based verification for SIM cards in Maharashtra circle as well. The telco’s twitter handle mentioned this in a tweet.

State owned telco BSNL has rolled out Aadhaar-based eKYC (Know Your Customer) verification facility starting with Mysore circle, reports the Times Of India, although it’s not clear if this will be extended to more circles that BSNL operates in. This month, Telenor India implemented Aadhaar-based verification across 6 circles in 700 stores. In August, Airtel, Reliance Jio, Vodafone, and Idea also initiated Aadhaar-based SIM activation across its branded retails outlets.

The framework for Aadhar-based eKYC verification for mobile connections was supported by Department of Telecommunication (DoT). It issued an announcement in August notifying roll out of the new verification mechanism. Customers can buy prepaid/postpaid connections and get them instantly activated at a telco-owned Point of Sale (PoS) counter by submitting their Aadhaar card or the downloaded version of the card as identity proof. Biometric verification using fingerprint or Iris scanners will be treated as a customer’s signature.

The DoT has also instructed telecom operators to maintain details including complete addresses of registered distributor centers that uses Aadhaar based verification, and codes of all PoS machines. Telcos will also have to store Aadhaar card details of appointed sales agents at all PoS counters. This is required so that a telecom operator can verify whether a request for subscriber enrollment comes from an appointed agent, who in turn will verify his identity and customer’s identity via a biometric device at PoS counters. This is explained in detail here.

Aadhaar card numbers

Overall the UIDAI claims to have issued 1,078,390,083 Aadhaar cards as of November 2016. It also opened over 23,000 Permanent Enrolment Centres (PECs) across the country as of August 2016; these centers allow citizens to acquire an Aadhaar card. A comprehensive list of PECs is available here. In March, the Aadhaar Bill 2016 was passed in the Parliament. The bill was introduced as a money bill which bypassed voting in the Rajya Sabha.

Also read: Privacy concerns in the Aadhaar Act, 2016