Aadhaar must for mobile connections
After making Aadhaar mandatory for filing income tax returns and applying for a permanent account number (PAN), the Union government has moved to make Aadhaar-based e-KYC (know your customer) mandatory for mobile phone connections.
New Delhi: After making Aadhaar mandatory for filing income tax returns and applying for a permanent account number (PAN), the Union government has moved to make Aadhaar-based e-KYC (know your customer) mandatory for mobile phone connections.
In a notification late on Thursday, the department of telecommunications (DoT) directed all mobile phone service providers to reverify existing customers, prepaid and postpaid, using their unique Aadhaar identity number and biometric details. They were told to complete the exercise by early next year.
Aadhaar-based e-KYC would also be mandatory for customers procuring new SIM cards. It is another step towards making the use of Aadhaar all-pervasive in a country where it is already being used to better target beneficiaries of some government subsidies and welfare programmes.
On Tuesday, the government said Aadhaar would be mandatory for filing income tax returns as well as for obtaining and retaining the permanent account number (PAN) that taxpayers need to quote in their returns. From July 1, every taxpayer will have to quote Aadhaar while applying for a PAN and when filing tax returns.
Existing PAN holders will have to disclose their Aadhaar numbers to the government by a date that will be specified later. In case they fail to intimate their Aadhaar number, taxpayers will have the PAN allotted to them deemed invalid.
The move to link mobile phone connections to Aadhaar, administered by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), comes after the Supreme Court said in February that all phone numbers in India should have verified users. The court said this during a hearing on a case brought by Lokniti Foundation, a non-profit organization.
Although the Supreme Court stopped short of saying that Aadhaar has to be used to verify users, the government seems to have decided that linking the unique identity number to mobile connections will be the best way to go about this.
“A meeting was held on 13.02.2017 in the department with the telecom industry wherein UIDAI, Trai and PMO representatives also participated to discuss the way forward to implement the directions of the Supreme Court,” said the notification issued by DoT.
Any unverified mobile phone number, or any number that is not linked to Aadhaar, will be illegal after February 6, 2018. The government has directed telecom companies to intimate their existing subscribers about the re-verification process through all means possible, including through advertisements in newspapers and text messages.
The licensees have also been directed to send a “verification code” to the mobile numbers of subscribers to ensure that SIM cards are physically available with the subscribers before initiating the e-KYC process.