Imagine going inside a mobile operator’s showroom with your Aadhaar Card for getting a new SIM Card. All you need to do is verify the Aadhaar card details, provide your biometric data (fingerprints or iris data) to verify and voila! You come out of the showroom with an activated SIM Card, ready to use within 5 minutes.
This is not a fiction anymore, as Govt. has approved Aadhaar card based e-KYC (Electronic Know Your Customer) procedure, which has been hailed as revolutionary for the telecom sector. And soon, this can change every service which needs to authenticate customers’ identity.
Department of Telecommunications, under Ministry of Communications, Govt. of India has issued a circular for all licensed telecom operators to use e-KYC method for authenticating new customers; and this has been rolled out for entire India – right from Jammu and Kashmir to North East India.
Test run of e-KYC had started since 2013, and the results are fascinating to say the least.
The circular said, “After successful completion of proof-of-concept to use ‘Aadhaar’ e-KYC service for issuing mobile connections to subscribers, it has been decided to launch the ‘Aadhaar’ e-KYC service across all Licensed Service Areas (LSAs), including J&K, North East and Assam,”
Besides saving time and energy, Aadhaar card based e-KYC will also save our environment and tons of money for the telecom operators. Right now, for every paper based KYC procedure, telcos spend around Rs 145 to Rs 175 besides using numerous sheets of papers. And around 7-8 crore new subscribers are added every year.
As per estimation, once every telecom firm start using Aadhaar card based e-KYC, around Rs 10,000 crore can be saved per year.
Besides 24 crore of paper sheets and 50,000 trees would be saved per year, as no paper record would be saved and the authentication would be done completely using digital medium, and records would be extracted from the UIDAI servers under strict surveillance.
In the circular, DoT has laid special emphasis on the security of the Aadhaar Card data, as only authenticated and verified personals would be allowed to verify customer’s’ data. In fact, telecom operators have been assigned the responsibility to test and evaluate their agents, dealers and/or employees who would access Aadhaar Card details of new customers via PoS outlets, and check their biometric details for verifications.
Before every such request to the UIDAI server, the details of the agent/employees would be cross-examined using the same metrics that is their own biometric details and passwords provided by the telecom firms.
The circular said, “Until and unless the agent of the PoS is authenticated by a licensee (telecom operator) using his/ her biometric details through UIDAI, no customer application form shall get displayed by the Licensee on the screen of the concerned PoS,”
Hence, we are witnessing a fool-proof, double layered security mechanism for avoiding misuse of Aadhaar card details.
UIDAI has already stated that their information is machine-readable, which will pose no problem for verifying biometric details of the customers.
Top three telecom operators in India: Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea have already assured that they will start processing Aadhaar based e-KYC procedure within a week, there by fully supporting Govt.’s initiatives.
Gopal Vittal, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (India and South Asia), Bharti Airtel, said, “It will contribute to the government’s ‘Digital India’ vision. Airtel plans to start rolling out Aadhaar-based e-KYC solutions this week itself,”
Sunil Sood, MD & CEO, Vodafone India, said, “For Vodafone, it will improve quality of sales as well as regulatory compliance. For the regulator, it not only means a green initiative but also hassle-free governance and accurate audit results,”
A big thumbs up to Govt. of India for enabling a revolutionary Aadhaar based mechanism for easing customer verification for mobile subscribers, which will unleash further revolutions in the service sector."Aadhaar Based Instant e-KYC Verification For SIM Cards Approved; 24 Cr Sheets of Paper, 50,000 Trees & Rs 10,000 Cr Can Now Be Saved / Year",