Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) estimated a budget of Rs 2,500 crore for the process of re-verification of mobile subscribers using Aadhaar eKYC, which is paperless Know Your Customer process. After this the demographic information will be stored in the government database.
The mobile operators’ body wrote it in a letter to Telecomm Department when they asked COAI to re-verify its existing users. The same orders came from Supreme Court after Lokniti, an NGO filed a petition to verify identities and address every mobile phone subscriber so that no one misuses the number.
The Aadhaar card based verification is chosen of all verification options because 80 percent of Indians have this identification proof. And those who don’t have it will be asked to get one, then only will their connection be verified and if a new customer has to take a connection then he also will have to produce this proof to activate the service.
Rajan Mathews, Director General of Cellular Operators Association of India said “The re-verification activity entails a huge cost which is borne by the telecom service providers. In this case, the activity needs to be carried out for about 1,000 million subscribers which are a huge in number and involve humongous resources and efforts”.
Citizens’ convenience will be kept in mind, therefore the Aadhaar based eKYC will be done during the time of recharge and states such and Jammu and Kashmir and Assam will not be included in it as they have lower access to the Aadhaar card.
To get this done effectively, COAI is coming up with different measures so that it can be carried out across the country. Telecomm operators will be given ample of time for the same. COAI suggests ‘Corporate bulk connections, post-paid accounts, as well as SIMs used for non-voice devices like iPads, POS machines, and data cards, be exempt from the Aadhaar-based re-verification’.