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Airtel allowed to use Aadhaar for verifying customers till Jan 10, with riders

The Unique Identification Authority of India’s suspension” order on Airtel Payments Bank will remain.

india Updated: Dec 21, 2017 21:50 IST
PTI, New Delhi
Airtel,Aadhaar,Unique Identification Authority of India
Employees mark their attendance through Aadhaar based System at a government office.(File photo)

Telecom giant Bharti Airtel was on Thursday allowed to conduct Aadhaar-based verification of its customers till January 10, but on strict conditions.

The Unique Identification Authority of India’s (UIDAI) “suspension” order on Airtel Payments Bank will remain. Airtel, India’s largest telecom company, got the reprieve after it repaid Rs 138 crore as direct benefit transfer (DBT) into the accounts of 55.63 lakh customers, sources told PTI.

The UIDAI has asked the Reserve Bank of India and the telecom department to audit Airtel’s systems, processes, applications, and documentation “to ensure that the company is in compliance with their license conditions”.

“UIDAI has not allowed Airtel Payment Bank Limited to use eKYC [electronic Know-Your-Customer] license key and it shall remain deactivated until further notice,” sources said.

According to UIDAI’s conditions, Airtel will have to sent messages to customers within 24 hours that their DBT accounts have been reverted to the originally designated bank account.

Airtel will also inform its customers in the next 24 hours that the direct benefit transfers received in their Airtel Payment Bank accounts have been reversed to original bank accounts.

Airtel can use the e-KYC and authentication service only for re-verification and issuing SIM cards. It isn’t allowed to leverage e-KYC for obtaining consent of Aadhaar holders for opening bank accounts, wallet, DTH or any other goods or services, sources said.

UIDAI passed the interim order keeping in view customers’ convenience and the the Supreme Court’s March 31 deadline to verify cellphone number, said sources. It will consider the issue again after it receives a report from the Reserve Bank and the telecom department on January 10.

Airtel was criticised after it allegedly opened accounts for its mobile phone subscribers without their “informed consent”. LPG subsidy worth crores was deposited into these accounts.

UIDAI had temporarily suspended Airtel and its payments bank from conducting Aadhaar-based verification of its mobile customers as well those of the bank, using the e-KYC process, reported Mint on December 19.

First Published: Dec 21, 2017 20:17 IST