Linking Mobile SIM with Aadhaar Made Mandatory, Feb 2018 Deadline
The Union Government is finally making it mandatory to link mobile SIM with Aadhaar. The unlinked mobile phones will be deactivated after February 2018.
As per the orders of the honourable Supreme Court in the petition of Lokniti Foundation case, all the mobile subscribers are to be verified within a year from the judgement date. This measure will prevent the misuse of mobile SIM cards by terrorists, fraudsters and criminals.
The prepaid mobile phone subscribers who account for more than 90% of the total mobile subscribers have to link their mobile number with Aadhaar before February 2018. Post the date, the unlinked SIMs will be deactivated.
6th February 2018 Deadline?
Based on the Supreme Court order, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has issued mandatory guidelines to verify all the mobile connections through Aadhaar based e-KYC process on or before 6th February 2018.
Thus all the existing telecom companies will advertise this mandatory linking of Aadhar with mobile numbers through print/electronic media and get the job done before February 2018.
As per the reports, the telecom operators will not have any access to the personal data of mobile phone users. The biometrics and other personal data collected will be encrypted by the telecom companies and will be sent to UIDAI directly. Any unauthorised access or storage of biometric information by the telecom companies is a criminal offence and punishable up to three years of imprisonment under the Aadhaar Act 2016.
The verification of prepaid mobile SIM connections will weed out the fake identities thereby preventing the misuse of SIM cards by terrorists and criminals.
Aadhar Link to Mobile SIM - A Big Reform?
As per the existing records available with Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), mere 25% of the subscribers are linked to Aadhaar. Out of an estimated 128 crore, mobile phone users, only 33.8 crore subscribers has been linked with Aadhaar. The new entrant Reliance Jio Infocomm is the leader in Aadhaar eKYC linkage as it started issuing the new connections based on Aadhaar itself.
Out of them, 10.78 crore subscribers are from Reliance Jio, 7.55 crore subscribers from Bharti Airtel, 7.99 crore subscribers from Idea Cellular, 4.55 crore subscribers from Vodafone India, 1.16 crore from Aircel are complying so far.
How Safe is Your Digital Identity?
Stating from bank account to PAN and the latest mobile connection, every aspect of an individual is being linked to Aadhaar. Though it is a good measure, storing the world’s biggest biometric database in fully safe and secured manner is the biggest threat faced by the Government.
It is not clear whether the Apex court has asked for SIM-Aadhaar linkage or verification of the mobile subscribers. However, the Govt is going ahead with its plan of linking the Aadhar with all the stuff. Hope one day it will also make it mandatory to link the voter ID cards with Aadhaar so as to eradicate the bogus or fake voters that can cleanse the largest democracy of the world.