New Delhi: All mobile phone numbers in the country, whether pre-paid or post, will be linked to Aadhaar number in the coming months. This is a mandatory exercise ordered by government. Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has sent a notice to telecom operators that all phone numbers in the country needs to be re-verified using e-KYC processes powered by Aadhaar card. Any unverified number, or any number that is not linked to a Aadhaar number will be illegal in India after February 6, 2018.
The DoT directive comes after the Supreme Court in February said that all phone numbers in India should have verified users. However, although Supreme Court stopped short of saying that Aadhaar has to be used to verify users, the government seems to have decided that linking Aadhaar to a phone number will be the best way to go forward.
The DoT directive, issued on March 23, notes that the Supreme court “while taking into cognizance of Aadhaar based e-KYC process for issuing new telephone connections has inter-alia observed that an effective process has been evolved to ensure identity verification, as well as, the addresses of all mobile phone subscribers for new subscribers. In near future, and more particularly within one year from today, a similar verification will be completed, in case of existing subscribers.” The directive was first noticed by Medianama.
The directive then says that following the court ruling, a meeting was held in which it was decided that Aadhaar number will be mandatory for mobile phone users.
“A meeting was held on 13.02.2017 in the Department with the telecom industry wherein UIDAI, TRAI and PMO representatives also participated to discuss the way forward to implement the directions of Hon’ble Supreme Court,” notes the DoT directive.
It then says that telecom operators will notify mobile users about the re-verification process through all means possible, including by advertisements in newspapers. It also says that telecom operators must come with methods so that there are no long queues when they carry out the re-verification exercise. “The licensee shall follow the above instructions strictly and should complete the re-verification exercise of existing subscribers before 06.02.2018,” notes the DoT directive.
The move comes a day after Lok Sabha passed the Finance Bill, with an amendment that makes Aadhaar mandatory for filing tax returns. This year when you file the tax returns, you will also have to quote your Aadhaar number along with the PAN number. In fact, all PAN cards in the country will have to be linked to Aadhaar or else they will be cancelled. A few days ago, UGC also asked universities in the country to degrees to students only after they have submitted their Aadhaar numbers.