In what has been a pretty confusing few years on just how and where your Aadhaar card is required, a new government directive now says that your 12-digit unique identity number will not be mandatory to get a mobile SIM. So far, telecom companies have been messaging and insisting new and old customers on providing their Aadhaar for verification as per an earlier instruction by the telecom department.
The Center has directed telecom companies to accept alternative documents like driving license, passport and voter ID card for identity verification. TOI reports that telecom secretary Aruna Sundarajan has asked operators to follow the new directive so that consumers are no longer pestered. But whether this actually stops telecos from calling and messaging on linking Aadhaar is something that we will have to wait and see.
“The ministry has issued instructions to all telecom companies, asking them not to deny a SIM card to any individual who does not have an Aadhaar number. We have asked them to accept other forms of KYC (know your customer) documents, and continue to issue SIM cards,” Sundararajan told TOI.
The move will especially be helpful for a majority of NRIs and foreigners visiting the country who have been denied getting a local SIM as they do not have an Aadhaar card. Mobile companies have been denying them SIM cards without providing a valid Aadhaar card. “This kind of a denial by retailers is completely uncalled for when there is no legal basis to enforce it. Such practices will not be tolerated,” a senior official told TOI.
The government has also reportedly asked mobile companies to “take it easy” regarding re-verification of mobile numbers with Aadhaar. The Supreme Court has already extended the deadline for this indefinitely, so the government sees no need for companies to push their subscribers on submitting their Aadhaar details.