New Delhi: The Centre on Thursday dismissed a news report claiming around 50 crore mobile phone numbers are at risk of disconnection, saying it is “completely untrue and imaginary”.
“The news report tries to create unnecessary panic among mobile users by claiming that ‘they stare at a prospect of disconnection if SIM cards procured on the basis of Aadhaar verification are not backed by a fresh identification’,” the Ministry of Communications said.
In a joint statement, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) clarified that the Supreme Court in its judgement on Aadhaar has nowhere directed to disconnect mobile numbers issued through Aadhaar eKYC.
The proposed number for disconnection doing the rounds in the mentioned reports is almost half of the number of mobile phones in the country.
“What the apex Court has asked is that the UIDAI should not keep authentication log for more than six months. The restriction is on UIDAI and not on the telecom companies. Therefore, there is no need for telecom companies to delete authentication logs.
“They are in fact required to keep authentication logs at their end as per Aadhaar regulations to resolve any consumer grievances,” the statement said.
While people can get their Aadhaar eKYC replaced by fresh KYC if they wish, there will be no disconnection in any case.
What the Supreme Court has done is that it has prohibited issue of new SIM cards through Aadhaar eKYC authentication process due to lack of a law, the joint statement said adding “there is no direction to deactivate the old mobile phones”.
The DoT and UIDAI are in the process of bringing out a completely hassle-free and digital process for issuing new SIM cards through a mobile app which would be fully compliant with the Supreme Court judgement in the Aadhaar Case.
“In the proposed process, live photograph of the person with latitude, longitude and time stamp will be captured. The photo of the person’s ID such as Aadhaar card, voter ID, etc, will be captured. The SIM card agent will be authenticated through OTP and SIM card will be issued,” it said about the proposed hassle-free and digital process.
“There is no need to panic or get confused by the reports that have appeared in the media,” the joint statement said.
According to Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), if any customer wishes to de-link his or her Aadhaar number from the existing mobile connection, information in the possession of the operator, they may do so by contacting their operator and providing other documents prescribed as per DoT guidelines and that at no point of time, the mobile number will be disconnected.
“Telecom operators always comply with instructions and regulations passed by DoT and we will adhere to the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s verdict. We shall await further orders and instructions from DoT,” COAI Director General Rajan S. Mathews said in a separate statement.
“We believe that Aadhaar is a robust and convenient method of subscriber authentication. The industry is prepared to work closely with DoT to find viable and legal solutions of using Aadhaar based identification process which also fits with the Government’s Digital India mission.”
“Currently, we are closely working with DoT to build a completely hassle-free alternate digital verification process. Customers’ convenience tops the priority for our member operators and the industry is committed to ensure that subscribers face no disturbances whatsoever.”