The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), on Monday issued its recommendations on Verification of existing mobile subscribers through Aadhaar based e-KYC services and Permitting outstation Aadhaar card holders for e-KYC of mobile subscribers.
TRAI said that ‘Aadhaar linked e-KYC service provides a robust mechanism to verify the identity of the person electronically and instantaneously from the source itself, based on the biometrics of the person. Thus, it takes care of the issues relating to fake/forged identity proof, manual entry into the system etc.
In this regard, TRAI on 6th January 2016 recommended acceptance and adoption of Aadhaar based e-KYC service along with Aadhaar based e-Sign as a valid alternative process. Subsequently, on 16th August 2016, DoT permitted the use of Aadhaar based e-KYC service of Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI) for issuing mobile connections to customers. These instructions are applicable only for issue of new SIM cards but excludes the huge existing mobile subscriber base from the ambit of e-KYC. Further, use of e-KYC process was not permitted for outstation customers by DoT.
The existing paper-based KYC process is not robust enough and the possibility of significant number of working SIMs, which may have been acquired on fake/forged identity, cannot be fully ruled out. The owner of such fake identity would not even be aware that SIM(s) are working in his/her name. The Authority has received several cases from State Police (crime branch) wherein it has been found that hundreds of SIM cards have been obtained on fake documents. The existence of such SIM cards poses a real security challenge. It is essential that not only the new subscribers are enrolled through e-KYC process, but the existing subscriber base should also be verified through e-KYC process in a phased manner within a defined timeframe. Further, barring the e-KYC process for outstation customers results in artificial restriction and avoidable inconvenience.
To overcome these challenges, the Authority has submitted its recommendations to DoT and the same have also been placed on TRAI's website www.trai.gov.in. The main recommendations are:
(a) DoT may work with the TSPs, to evolve a framework to verify the existing mobile subscribers through Aadhaar based e-KYCservices in a phased manner and within a defined timeframe. However, this process should be optional to the service providers as well as mobile subscribers. The subscribers may have to be given some sops in terms of free talk-time or data to encourage them to undergo the e-KYCprocess.
(b) Aadhaar based e-KYCshould be permitted for outstation customers also at any place within the service area.