The government on Thursday said there is no threat of discontinuation of mobile numbers issued using Aadhaar, following the Supreme Court ruling that barred use of the national biometric ID by private companies.
Debunking reports that over 50 crore, or half of the mobile SIMs in the country, faced deactivation, the Department of Telecommunication and the 12-digit unique identity number-issuing authority UIDAI in a joint statement said, mobile phone users at their choice can seek a change of their Aadhaar-based authentication done in the past with alternate proof of identity without any disconnection of the number.
An alternate form for buying new SIMs through a mobile app that will time capture photograph of the persons along with ID proof such as Aadhaar card, voter ID or passport is in the works.
“The Supreme Court in its judgement in Aadhaar case has nowhere directed that the mobile number which has been issued through Aadhaar e-KYC has to be disconnected,” it said.
Terming the report as “completely untrue and imaginary”, the government said there is no reason for panic or fear at all.
“People should not believe in such rumours,” it said.
The Supreme Court has also not asked for deletion of the electronic-Know Your Customer (a means of establishing the identity of the person) data of telecom customers after six months, the statement said.
“What the apex court has asked that UIDAI should not keep authentication log for more than six months. The restriction of not keeping authentication log beyond six months is on the UIDAI and not on the telecom companies. Therefore, there is no need for telecom companies or AUAs/JUAs to delete authentication logs at their end,” it added.
AUA is Authentication User Agency (AUA) and KUA is KYC User Agency (KUA).
DoT-UIDAI said telecom companies are required to keep authentication logs at their end as per Aadhaar regulations to resolve any consumer grievances.
“In the light of the SC verdict if anybody wishes to get his/her Aadhaar eKYC replaced by the fresh KYC, he/she may request the service provider for delinking of his/her Aadhaar by submitting fresh” identification documentation, it said.
The Supreme Court, it said, has prohibited the issue of new SIM cards through Aadhaar eKYC authentication process due to lack of a law.
“There is no direction to deactivate the old mobile phones,” the statement added.
The telecom department and Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) are in the process to bring out a completely hassle-free and digital process for issuing new SIM cards through a mobile app, which will be fully compliant of the Supreme Court judgement in Aadhaar case.
“In the proposed process, live photograph of the person with latitude, longitude, and time stamp will be captured. The photo of ID such as Aadhaar card, voter ID, etc., will be captured. The SIM card agent will be authenticated through OTP and SIM card will be issued. This process will be completely hassle-free and digital,” the statement said.