Futurism News

Aadhaar cards now mandatory to purchase SIM cards, transition to cost about ₹1,000 crores

The government of India is seeking to penetrate ‘Aadhaar Verification’ within every domain to safeguard its citizens from any default. It just recently made KYC mandatory for digital wallet startups and is presently involved in improving its Aadhaar payment platform. Since the 12-digit registered Aadhaar number provides all the essential information about a person, it will help the authorities to keep a check and solve customer grievances.

In a similar attempt, the Supreme Court of India has now issued an order which mandates telecom companies to employ the Aadhaar identification for their existing and new customers. This means an approximate population of 1.1 billion telecom subscribers in India will have to go through a fresh verification exercise based on their Aadhaar.

Announcing the requisite, a recently issued notice by the Department of Telecommunications read,

All licensees shall intimate their existing subscribers through advertisement in print/electronic media as well as SMS about the orders of the Supreme Court for re-verification activity and shall upload the complete details of this activity on their website.

The present scenario of Telecom industry in India illustrates a war between telecos fighting for their share of this competitive market. While a few of them are merging together in benefit of their survival, other majors like Jio are introducing alluring offers to lock in the existing customers. However, the latter will be least one affected as the company issued SIMs only via the Aadhaar-based e-KYC since its inception in September.

These companies are under the waters of massive debt and the identification process adds up to their expenses. According to industry experts, this exercise will result in an estimated expenditure of about Rs 1,000 crore. The latest notice follows pursuit to the one which asked the subscribers to be re-verified via Aadhaar cards. The rise in fraudulent connections and surge in free offers and schemes have called upon the top court to pass such an order.

It is indeed a big challenge for the industry as this will entail massive capital expenditures. Companies will be required to train people, spend on recognition devices and would require setting up other process chains. However, in the long run, the move will be beneficial to all, including the industry, consumers, and the government.

This would also assist the government to address the security concerns by creating a barrier for terrorist infiltration. Hence, from now onwards, citizens having an Aadhaar card will only be able to acquire a telecom connection, which further widens the need of the said identification proof in the country.