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Aadhaar not mandatory for SIM connection, government clarifies - nairrk - 05-02-2018

Now you can get a mobile SIM connection even without submitting Aadhaar card. Aadhaar, the 12-digit identification number issued by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), is not a must for getting a mobile SIM card in the country. The government has clarified that consumers can get SIM cards by providing alternative identification documents such as driving licence, passport and voter ID card. The announcement must come as a relief after mobile service providers mandated Aadhaar ID for getting new SIM connection based on orders from the government.

Telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan said that all mobile companies have been asked to follow the instructions immediately so that consumers are not inconvenienced. The announcement comes after several instances of consumers not getting SIM cards due to lack to Aadhaar card were reported in the last few months. The clarification from government comes after the Supreme Court said that Aadhaar should not be mandatory for getting SIM cards till the time it takes a final view on the issue.

“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 mandatory requirement of Aadhaar card for SIM cards had not only affected the local residents but also NRIs and foreigners visiting the country. Since these customers lack Aadhaar card they have found it difficult to procure SIM cards during their stay in the country. Telecom operators have not confirmed their compliance to this announcement but reports indicate that government has taken it seriously.

Back in March, the Supreme Court indefinitely extended the deadline for linking Aadhaar number with mobile connection as part of reverification for existing customers. Mobile companies had been insisting on verification through Aadhaar based on previous instructions by the government and telecom ministry. Most customers have also taken to Twitter to report instances of being called by their operators to link Aadhaar number with their existing SIM connection.

Rajan Mathews, director-general of industry body COAI, told TOI that the communication is being sent to cellphone users to re-verify their mobile numbers using Aadhaar. However, there is no mention of last date for completion of linking mobile number with Aadhaar. It remains to be seen whether Aadhaar is removed from being mandatory for other services including bank account and filing taxes next.