Link mobile with Aadhaar through OTP from January 1
Pune: The Department of Telecommunication on Friday gave telecom operators a month’s extension (till January 1) to enable their subscribers to ‘re-verify’ their SIM cards through a one-time password (OTP).In a letter dated November 20, the Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) had written to the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and DoT that the earlier deadline of December 1 was not technically feasible, given the changes that need to be implemented.
From January 1, citizens will be able to link their cellular connections with Aadhaarwith the held of an OTP. Apart from granting the extension, DoT has also spelt out the process of re-verification for non-resident Indians (NRIs), senior citizens, and physically challenged persons, and also the interactive voice response (IVR) system-based procedure.
“We are gratified that DoT has for granted (us) time until January 1 to implement the alternative means of verifying mobile connections with customers’ Aadharnumbers,” COAI director general Rajan S Mathews, said on Friday. “We believe the alternative methods make it easier for customers to complete the re-verification by (the current deadline of) Feb. 6, 2018,” he added.
On November 2, telcos were given till December 1 to implement an SMS-based mechanism for users to link their mobile numbers with Aadhaar, prompting the COAI letter — citing logistical difficulties — seeking to extend the deadline till the second week of January. They had demanded at least 4-6 weeks to put the mechanism in place and begin implementing DoT’s orders.
At the moment, the only way for a subscriber to re-verify his or her mobile number is to go to the store. The central government had announced earlier this month that it would simplify the process by enabling one-time password-based authentication. Telcos were told to implement the system through mobile application or interactive voice response (IVR) system.
The COAI, in its letter, had also raised a point, that they would need time for to suitably the customer acquisition forms under the new system. At the time, UIDAI authorities were unavailable for comment.Meanwhile, DoT, in Friday’s notification, has explained the procedure for foreign nationals, NRIs, citizens above 70 years of age that do not have a mobile number registered with UIDAI, or have Aadhaar but are unable to finish biometric authentication, and physically-challenged persons.
The DoT also said the telecom operator must use “14546” as the non-metered short code for OTP-based authentication process on the IVR system.
The letter had also touched upon a potential problem — that of users changing cellphone numbers, but not updating them in the UIDAI database. During the linking process, the telco sends UIDAI a request for an OTP to the number registered in the Aadhaar database. But if a user has changed his or her mobile number, and if that number were to have gone back into circulation and assigned to another user, then it is “technically not feasible” for the telco to ascertain if the OTP is being sent to the intended recipient.