Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel have begun rolling out an ‘alternative digital KYC process’ reports PTI. This system will replace the Aadhaar-based electronic verification process. According to the same report, Reliance Jio will roll out an alternate digital KYC soon.

Telcos have started doing this based on an order (pdf) from Department of Telecommunication (DoT) which bars telecom companies from now executing Aadhaar-based digital authentication.

The new digital KYC process

  • Bharti Airtel’s select circles like Delhi, UP (East) and UP (West) have started implementing this order, and the company will extend this to other circles in the coming days (without mentioning a timeline).
  •  The new digital KYC process entails scanning address and identity proof, embedding live customer photo and online customer acquisition form. The entire process will be digital.
  • Airtel will be phasing out the eKYC process, as the digital KYC system is rolled out to new locations, and stabilises.
  • Vodafone’s new digital KYC process is live and is being rolled out nationally.

The precedent

  • In the wake of the recent Supreme Court verdict, the Telecom Department issued detailed instructions to telcos on 26 October asking them to stop the use of Aadhaar-based electronic-know your customer (e-KYC). Telcos were also asked to report on this compliance by 5 November.
  • The court struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act which allowed private entities to use the Aadhaar card as an ID authenticating document.
  • Subsequently, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) approached the government requesting that telcos be allowed to continue with Aadhaar-based eKYC process till November 20, to implement the new digital process. This was because telcos had to reach out to millions of retail stores, with many in far flung areas, and therefore needed more time for it.