Soon, ID May be Must to Recharge Phones

Govt to draw up an Aad­haar-based ver­i­fi­ca­tion plan for users of pre-paid mo­bile ser­vices

The Economic Times - - Brands & Companies - Sa­man­waya.Rau­tray @times­

New Delhi: A year from now, you may be asked to prove your iden­tity again when you recharge your pre­paid con­nec­tion, as the Supreme Court has asked the gov­ern­ment to en­sure up-to­date ver­i­fi­ca­tion of all mo­bile phone users. On Mon­day, the gov­ern­ment told the court that it was draw­ing up an Aad­haar-based ver­i­fi­ca­tion plan, after a bench headed by Chief Jus­tice JS Khe­har sug­gested that pre­paid users may be asked to give iden­tity de­tails when they recharge their con­nec­tions.

The court was hear­ing a pub­lic in­ter­est lit­i­ga­tion seek­ing to make Aad­haar manda­tory for the ver­i­fi­ca­tion. It di­rected the gov­ern­ment to put in place a pro­gramme within a year to en­sure that all the cus­tomers are ver­i­fied. At­tor­ney gen­eral Mukul Ro­hatgi ear­lier told the bench that the gov­ern­ment can­not rush such a pro­ject as it af­fects many. Also, it will hurt banking and


mon­e­tary trans­ac­tions that are in­creas­ingly get­ting phone-based, the gov­ern­ment’s top law of­fi­cer said.

At present, a user needs to pro­vide iden­tity proof at the time of tak­ing a con­nec­tion, be it pre- paid or post­paid. Nine out of ev­ery 10 mo­bile con­nec­tions in In­dia are pre­paid, ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try data. The ad­dress and iden­tity proofs given to take such con­nec­tions are of­ten found to be fake, cre­at­ing ma­jor se­cu­rity risk.

Aad­haar-based cus­tomer ver­i­fi­ca­tion would help en­sure se­cu­rity in fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions and the gov­ern­ment is work­ing on it, Ro­hatgi told the court.

Though the CJI tried to hus­tle the gov­ern­ment to make Aad­haar-based ver­i­fi­ca­tion manda­tory, the AG re­sisted it. Aad­haar is vol­un­tary now, but a Bill has since been in­tro­duced to make it manda­tory, he told the court.

He claimed that so far 110 crore peo­ple had en­rolled for Aad­haar cards. Other such iden­tity proofs can be cloned, but the bio­met­ric in­for­ma­tion captu- red in Aad­haar can­not be copied as of now, he said. “The gov­ern­ment is plan­ning Aad­haar-based KYC for all cell phone sub­scribers... But this will take time. It can­not be done overnight,” he said. “In a year we will put in place a sys­tem for Aad­haar-based KYC.”

The CJI was ini­tially per­sis­tent on its im­me­di­ate im­ple­men­ta­tion, say­ing that the gov­ern­ment just needs to put a form in the hand of ev­ery sub­scriber when he walks in to recharge his ac­count. It can then say that you sub­mit the iden­tity proof within a fixed time or don’t get to recharge it.


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