After the Supreme Court rap on the issue of linking people mobile number with Aadhaar, the Government has asked telecom companies to start accepting alternative documents such as driving licence, passport and voter ID card to issue mobile SIM card.
“This directive should be followed immediately by telecom operators to ensure consumers are not inconvenienced,” said Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan.
The ministry confirmed that it has issued instructions to all telecom companies, asking them not to deny a SIM card to any individual who does not have an Aadhaar number. It has asked them to accept other forms of KYC (know your customer) documents, and continue to issue SIM cards, outlines TOI report.
This development will serve as relief for foreign visitors and NRIs, who generally do not possess Aadhaar.
The Apex court had rapped the centre for using its earlier order on mandatory authentication of users as a tool by asking telecom companies to link their mobile numbers with Aadhaar.
The SC is yet to come out with the final ruling on the issue.
According to people close to the development, the govt is taking the issue more seriously and may take strict action in case of violation of the order.
Telecom operators have been pestering customers with calls, messages and other such unsolicited communication, requesting them to link their phone number with Aadhaar. Though, Mobile operators have so far refused to comment on the matter.
Earlier in March, the SC had ruled that Aadhaar cannot be made compulsory for submitting forms for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) and other national entrance exams.
There are more than 1.3 billion Aadhaar holders in the country.
In the last couple of months, there have been multiple data breaches from several government portals relating to Aadhaar card details. The Centre also had admitted that Aadhaar card details of individuals had indeed been leaked.
Despite rising cases, they maintain that Aadhaar is hundred per cent secure.
Meanwhile, in April, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has amended its ‘know your customer’ (KYC) guidelines, and made Aadhaar and PAN mandatory to maintain a bank account.