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After suspension, Airtel gets interim relief from UIDAI for biometric e-KYC


After a temporary ban and penalty, UIDAI has restored Bharti Airtel’s authorisation to conduct Aadhaar-based e-KYC verification with certain terms and conditions.

According to latest circulation by the biometric regulator, the telecom operator will have to submit quarterly reports on compliance with Aadhaar Act and adhere to directions issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) from time to time, reports Business Standard via PTI.

However, the suspension on Airtel Payments Bank’s eKYC licence has not been lifted.

Earlier this month, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had imposed a penalty of Rs 5 crore on Airtel Payments Bank for violating protocol and know your customer (KYC) norms.

Airtel Payments Bank is a joint venture between Bharti Airtel Ltd and Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd, was started in January, last year. In December 2017 it was reported that Bharti Airtel has been using Aadhaar-based eKYC SIM verification process to open new accounts with its Airtel Payments Bank without the consent of its users.

Also Read: Airtel Payments Bank withdraws interest offer of 7.25%, comes down to 5.5%

The telecom-turned Payments Banking firm was barred by UIDAI to conduct Aadhaar-based SIM verification of cellular customers using e-KYC process, and including payments bank clients.

Furthermore, UIDAI had extended the deadline for Airtel to use the biometric identity for re-verification of its mobile customers till 31 March. Airtel Payments Bank had, however, maintained that no bank account was opened without the consent of the customers.

The case came to light when over 2.3 million customers have reportedly received about Rs 47 crore in their Airtel bank accounts, which they did not know had been opened. The cellular major has allegedly been linking payments bank account to receive LPG subsidy.

UIDAI, then temporarily allowed the telecom to use Aadhaar for re-verification of its mobile customers after it returned Rs 138 crore of LPG subsidy remitted to the unsolicited payments bank accounts.

To find out the lapses behind UIDAI allegations, the firm had also launched an internal probe and terminated relationships with nearly 1,000 retailers for not following the due process while signing up customers.

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