Taking strong action against Airtel for alleged misuse of customer information, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has temporarily barred Bharti Airtel and Airtel Payments Bank from conducting Aadhaar-based SIM verification of mobile customers using the e-KYC process. Also Read - Airtel discontinued some prepaid plans with 3GB daily data: Check revised price, validityAlso Read - Cryptocurrency regulation bill: How worried are Indian investors?
The action follows allegations of Bharti Airtel using the Aadhaar-eKYC based SIM verification process to open payments bank accounts of its subscribers without their ‘informed consent’. Also Read - From today, Reliance Jio users will need to pay up to Rs 480 more for prepaid plans
Confirming the interim order from the Unique Identification Authority of India, Bharti Airtel said it was engaging with the authority and are hopeful of an early resolution .
We are also undertaking to complete the said actions on priority and have commenced thorough checks of our process flows, Bharti Airtel s statement said.
Following the instructions from UIDAI, Airtel will not be able to carry out e-verification by linking mobile numbers to Aadhaar. Apart from that, users will not be able to open Airtel Payments Bank accounts using Aadhaar-based e-KYC.
More than 23 lakh customers have reportedly received as many as Rs 47 crores in their Airtel bank accounts, which they did not know had been opened. UIDAI further said that such payments bank accounts are being linked to receive LPG subsidy.
Last month, UIDAI had ordered an investigation against Airtel for alleged violations of the Aadhaar Act. UIDAI had initially served a show cause notice to Airtel as complaints of violations against the company s ground staff were highlighted. The complaints were mostly about people being unaware of Airtel Payments Bank accounts opened without their authorization or knowledge.
However, UIDAI also slipped up last month when more than 200 central and state government websites publicly displayed personal details such as names and addresses of some Aadhaar card holders. The UIDAI said that it took note of the breach and got the data removed from those websites.