Bharti-Airtel and Airtel Payments Bank are now temporarily barred from conducting Aadhaar-based SIM verification of mobile customers using the eKYC process. As well as opening new Payment Bank accounts by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).
The UIDAI collects the data of the Indian citizens and allocates a unique number called as Aadhaar. One of its purposes is to get the faster verification by matching the previous bio-metric details instead of recollecting the bio-metric data for every single purpose. The UIDAI licenses the e-KYC key for the companies to verify the user using the Aadhaar number.
What Airtel have done wrong ?
The action of UIDAI follows an allegation on Bharti-Airtel of using the Aadhaar-eKYC based SIM verification process to open payments bank accounts of its subscribers without their consent. Based on a report, the company dealers are opening the Payments Bank accounts while the doing the e-KYC. More than 23 lakh customers have received as many as Rs. 47 crore in these payment bank accounts, which they did not know about. They also received Government LPG subsidy on these accounts, without their consent.
UIDAI, in an interim order, “suspended e-KYC license key of Bharti-Airtel Ltd and Airtel Payment Bank Ltd”. This essentially means they would not be able to do Aadhaar-based SIM verification of its mobile customers, in the interim. Also, their Payments Bank will not be able to open a new account with Aadhaar e-KYC. Although, it can open an account through alternate methods, if available.
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