The government on Thursday rubbished claims that 50 crore mobile numbers could face disconnection if the SIM cards procured on the basis of Aadhaar verification are not backed up by a fresh identification. Instead, it announced a new digital authentication mechanism for issuance of SIM cards, while asking people not to "panic".
The department of telecommunications (DoT) and Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) said so in a joint statement on Thursday.
The DoT also clarified that the Apex court had not asked telecommunications companies to destroy all eKYC data within six months but that the onus was on UIDAI. "What the apex Court has asked is that UIDAI should not keep authentication log for more than 6 months. The restriction is on UIDAI and not on the telecom companies. Therefore, there is no need for telecom companies to delete authentication logs.
Thus, the DoT said that there was no need for telecom companies to delete authentication logs.
The statement further added that going forward, if anybody wished to get her/his Aadhaar eKYC replaced by the fresh KYC, that person may request the service provider for delinking of her/his Aadhaar by submitting fresh OVDs as per earlier DOT Circulars on mobile KYC. But in any case, the statement added, the concerned person's number will not be disconnected.
The Joint Statement further clarified that what Supreme Court had done was that it had prohibited issue of new SIM cards through Aadhaar eKYC authentication process due to lack of a law.
The statement also said that in fact the DoT and UIDAI were in a process to bring out a completely hassle-free and digital process for issuing new SIM cards through a mobile App which would be fully compliant of the Supreme Court judgement in Aadhaar Case. In the proposed process, the statement said, "live photograph of the person with latitude, longitude, and time stamp will be captured". Also, the photo of her ID such as Aadhaar card, voter ID, etc., will be captured. The SIM card agent will be authenticated through OTP and that is how a SIM card will be issued. "This process will be completely hassle-free and digital," the statement added.