UIDAI allows Bharti Airtel to resume Aadhaar-based eKYC

UIDAI allows Bharti Airtel to resume Aadhaar-based eKYC

ET had reported on Monday that apart from overhauling its process for mapping Aadhaar-linked bank accounts to subsidy payments, government is also temporarily halted the existing provision of overwriting existing subsidy linked bank accounts with freshly mapped Aadhaar accounts.

UIDAI, in an interim order, "suspended e-KYC license key of Bharati Airtel Ltd and Airtel Payment Bank Ltd with immediate effect", sources with direct knowledge of the development said, according to an Economic Times report.

Bharti Airtel got into big trouble after the UIDAI declared the suspension of Airtel Payments Bank and its Aadhar based SIM verification of mobile customers using e-KYC as well as e-KYC of payments bank clients. "So if a person was getting his cooking gas subsidy in one bank account and went to update a different bank account, he would get the subsidy in the account linked with Aadhaar last", a government official explained.

The whole fiasco came to light after the airtel incident where the telecom company opened several million payment bank accounts without the consent of the customers. "In the meantime, we regret the inconvenience caused to our customers". It can accept demand deposits (up to Rs 1 lakh), offer remittance services, mobile payments/transfers/purchases and other banking services like ATM/debit cards, net banking and third party fund transfers.

With the temporary ban on Airtel ruled by UIDAI, the company will not be able to conduct the electronic verification or link mobile SIMs of its customers with their 12-digit aadhaar ID.

Airtel, yesterday, wrote to the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) promising to return Rs 190 crore (along with interest) to the consumers' original bank accounts that were linked to the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).

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Security and privacy of Aadhaar data is a highly sensitive matter and the Supreme Court is looking into its various aspects.

UIDAI has further asked Pricewatercoopers to conduct an audit of Bharti Airtel and Airtel Payments Bank to see if there are any malpractices with regard to Aadhaar within the company.

Both Bharti Airtel and Airtel Payments Bank were appointed as Authentication User Agencies (AUA) by UIDAI and had entered into an agreement with UIDAI in February 2015 and September 2016 respectively for the purposes of availing authentication services provided by the authority. As a result, the Airtel Payments Bank will not be able to open a fresh account through paperless e-KYC.

The UIDAI has allowed Airtel to use Aadhaar for eKYC of telecom subscribers to facilitate Aadhaar-mobile SIM linking, the new deadline for which is 31 March. HPCL said that the company has written to Airtel bank and requested that the subsidy amounts of these consumers be immediately either transferred back to the customer's earlier bank account or to the respective OMC's.

After UIDAI's notice, Airtel said, "We have fixed a process".

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