Post SC Order on Aadhaar Use, Telcos Suggest New e-KYC Process

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The ACT proposed an app-based method for customer enrolment in which the customer’s photograph will be embedded in the CAF

The Supreme Court order, earlier this month, has restricted the use of Aadhaar by private companies such as telecommunication and banks, making the Aadhaar number no longer compulsory for linking mobile numbers and bank accounts. Following this, the telecommunication operators come out with a new e-KYC process to replace Aadhaar-based verification and have approached the Department of Telecom (DoT) to seek its approval.

Post the apex court order, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has also asked the telecom operators submit a plan to end the usage of 12-digit Aadhaar number for customer verification.

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Telcos suggest a paperless process

Apex Advisory Council for Telecom in India (ACT) an advocacy group that represents Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and other telecom service providers, has written in a letter to the DoT proposing minor amendments in the DoT guidelines. The ACT suggested that the companies be allowed to embed the consumer application form (CAF) with scanned images and photograph, thus digitising the end-to-end process for subscribing new customers, making the process completely paperless.

By returning to paper-based process should reverse the measures taken by the industry in supporting the Digital India and in turn leads to wastage of current investments and infrastructure, the industry said in the letter.

Prior to the Supreme Court order, telecom companies had created a structure for instant online authentication of subscribers by using 12-digit Aadhaar number, which resulted in swift activation at nominal cost.

ACT proposes app-based method for quick activation

The ACT proposed an app-based method for customer enrolment in which the customer’s photograph will be taken by the SIM vendor and embedded in the CAF along with self-attested copy of any address and identity proof. After that, the form will be stamped by the company’s watermark, along with name of retailer, circle where the transaction took place, time and date to make sure that no one can re-use the images.

Once the CAF is duly filled digitally on the app, the vendor will make the required declaration, post that the seller will get one-time password (OTP) and customer will also receive an OTP on the alternate number provided by him, suggested the letter, which is signed by Rajan S Mathews, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India.

The OTP shall be entered and authenticated and then after successful validation of OTP, it shall be considered as signature of customer, it said. After authentication, the app will send the CAF for verification to the telecom operator and after successfully verifying all the details provided by the customer, the number assigned to the customer will be forwarded for tele-verification.

This step in the process is crucial to limit any liability on telecom providers as at point of sale inappropriate values may be entered and without proper validation the number can get into activation stage or tele-verification, said the letter.

The system, as an extra safeguard, will also authenticate that the geotag of picture of customer and final request submission by point of sale is not over 50 metre away, suggested the letter.

The telecom provider will then generate a five-digit pin and send it to the alternate number of the customer. The customer’s number will be activated after the completion of tele-verification process by entering either five-digit PIN number send to the customer or the last four digits of identity proof during the verification call.

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