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General News UIDAI suspends Airtel, Airtel Payments Bank's e-KYC licence over Aadhaar misuse
#1
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In its strongest action yet, the UIDAI has temporarily barred Bharti Airtel and Airtel Payments Bank from conducting Aadhaar-based SIM verification of mobile customers using eKYC process as well as e-KYC of payments bank clients.

The action follows allegations of Bharti Airtel using the Aadhaar-eKYC based SIM verification process to open payments bank accounts of its subscribers without their 'informed consent'. UIDAI also took strong objection to allegations that such payments bank accounts are being linked to receive LPG subsidy.

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Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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#2
Airtel deposits 'interim penalty' of Rs 2.5 crore with UIDAI

Airtel has deposited an interim penalty of Rs 2.5 crore with the Aadhaar-issuing body UIDAI after an action against the telecom operator for allegedly opening payments bank accounts of its mobile subscribers without their ‘informed consent’, according to sources.

The company is learnt to have given the assurance that it will return Rs 190 crore that had flown into the ‘unsolicited’ payments bank accounts of 31 lakh mobile subscribers over the next 24 hours and will also inform the customers that their subsidy-linked account is being switched back to the originally-chosen account.

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Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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#3
UIDAI's conditional nod to Airtel for telecom eKYC till Jan 10

NEW DELHI: The government has temporarily allowed Bharti Airtel to use the electronic Know Your Customer feature of Aadhaar after the telecom service provider has repaid Rs. 138 crore of subsidy payments back in the original bank accounts of 55.63 lakh customers. The unique identification authority of India (UIDAI) has "conditionally allowed" Airtel to conduct eKYC upto January 10, 2018 and is awaiting the audit reports from the Reserve Bank of India and the department of telecom which are expected by January 10, 2017. Airtel Payment Bank however has not been allowed to use eKYC license key and it shall remain deactivated until further notice, UIDAI said in a release today.

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Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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#4
UIDAI lets Airtel to continue Aadhaar-based e-KYC verification till March 31, but maintains suspension order on Airtel Payments Bank

KOLKATA: The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has allowed Bharti Airtel to continue Aadhaar-based e-KYC verification of telecom subscribers till March 31, but has not withdrawn the current eKYC licence suspension order on Bharti’s banking arm, two people aware of the matter said.

“We can confirm that the UIDAI had permitted Bharti Airtel to continue Aadhaar based e-KYC till March 31, 2018, subject to compliance to guidelines laid down by the authority,” a Bharti Airtel spokesman said in a written response to ET’s queries Thursday.

The company, further, said it “continues to engage with the authorities and has addressed all concerns that they have raised,” adding that “compliance to all guidelines is of paramount importance to us and we remain committed to this”.

Bharti Airtel did not comment on UIDAI’s order pertaining to its payments banking arm, but one of the persons cited above said “status quo had been maintained” in so far as Airtel Payment Bank goes.

At press time, a certified copy of the UIDAI order was not available with ET.

Back in December, the UIDAI had suspended Bharti Airtel and its banking arm, Airtel Payments Bank from conducting Aadhaar-based verification of customers, following complaints of the telco using Aadhar-eKYC based SIM verification process to open payment bank accounts of its subscribers without their informed consent. Such accounts were also linked to get subsidy from the government.

The UIDAI, while suspending the e-KYC licence, had reportedly imposed a fine of Rs 2.5 crore on Airtel Payments Bank. But it later allowed Bharti Airtel to resume Aadhaar-based e-KYC verification of telecom subscribers till January 10 to facilitate linking of Aadhaar with mobile SIMs as per a Supreme Court directive.

Following its suspension, Airtel Payments Bank had launched a probe, wherein it was observed that some retailers, who were also acting as designated banking points, had not informed customers about savings account opening and direct benefit transfer (DBT) receipts in an upfront manner.

Consequently, Airtel Payments Bank terminated relationships with as many as 1,000 retailers for not following the due process while signing up customers, after the banking arm of Sunil Mittal-founded telecom carrier, conducted internal investigations to zero in on errors and lapses that led to its Aadhaar-based e-KYC licence getting suspended.

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Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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#5
UIDAI restores Airtel's authorization for Aadhaar-based eKYC

The UIDAI has restored telecom operator Bharti Airtel’s authorization to conduct Aadhaar-based verification of its mobile subscribers subject to specific conditions, sources said.

The company will have to submit quarterly reports on compliance with Aadhaar Act and adhere to directions issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) from time to time.

Sources privy to the decision told PTI that the suspension on Airtel Payments Bank’s eKYC licence has not been lifted.

The telecom service provider Airtel – whose eKYC licence has been conditionally restored – will be required to submit quarterly compliance reports “till further orders” and the UIDAI “reserves its rights to verify such reports on its own or through an auditor appointed by the authority”, one of the person familiar with the development said.

Airtel did not offer any immediate comments on the issue.

Both Airtel and Airtel Payments bank came under fire late last year after the Sunil Mittal-led firm allegedly opened payments bank accounts of its mobile subscribers without seeking their “informed consent”, and LPG subsidy worth crores was deposited into these accounts.

In a strong action in December, the government and the UIDAI temporarily barred the company from conducting Aadhaar-based SIM verification of mobile customers and e-KYC of payments bank clients.

It later allowed Bharti Airtel to use Aadhaar for re-verification of its mobile customers for a fixed duration, with stiff riders attached. However, with the latest move, the UIDAI has now conditionally restored the eKYC licence key of Bharti Airtel.

Sources said the UIDAI wanted to ensure that Airtel customers do not face any inconvenience. Additionally, the Aadhaar-issuing body has taken note of regular compliance updates provided by Airtel and Airtel Payments Bank. UIDAI observed that Airtel complied with “critical issues”, the source said.

The order has also takes note of audit report of Department of Telecommunications (DoT) that was received by UIDAI on March 7.

“This report has been duly examined by the UIDAI. As per the DoT audit report, it was noted that, at present, the processes and applications used for mobile customer’s re-verification and new acquisition are in compliance to DoT’s instructions,” the source pointed out.

The development comes at a time when the deadline for linking bank accounts and mobile numbers with Aadhaar has already been extended indefinitely, till the five-judge constitution bench delivers its judgement on a bunch of petitions challenging the validity of the biometric scheme and its enabling law.

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Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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