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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Aadhaar Verified SIMs may Fetch Hefty Premiums!

The very topic "Aadhaar Verified SIMs may Fetch Hefty Premiums!" seems illogical - but it is true. It is a timely alert for Department of Telecommunications, Government of India who has advised the Telecom Operators in India to verify all the Mobile Numbers using Aadhar Based Biometric authentication. Any unverified number or any Mobile Number that is not linked to an Aadhar number will be illegal in India after February 6, 2018.

I wonder as to why the "KYC Process" is not being undertaken in its true later and spirits and all the Government, Private and Public sector organizations are just taking it as a mere formality as there is no Single ID Proof in India which can be relied upon for exact Name, Date of Birth, Address, Mobile Number and Email ID. The main reasons for improper implementation of the creation of single reliable ID, DOB and Address Proof in India is the casual attitude and the vested political and business interests like:
  •  Banks want business and they are not concerned about the reliability of the record available on Aadhar, Voter ID, PAN Card as I have seen that there is different DOB in all the main three ID and Address Proofs. Banks just ask the customer - which DOB do you want to register with the Bank and it is the sweet will of the customer to use Aadhar for Name, Voter-ID for Address and Aadhar or PAN Card for DOB. It is a bare fact that you can get your date of birth changed in Aadhar - without even producing the Birth Certificate or Matriculation Certificate, Passport - so far considered as best proof of Date of Birth. I had mentioned in one of my earlier articles that the Bank Managers just suggest the public to get the date of birth changed in Aadhar in such a way that he or she can earn additional interest @1% per annum extra. The Banks, even on finding different dates of birth in PAN, Voter-ID, Aadhar or any other ID Proof will never ask their customer to get the data synchronized in all of his/her ID Proofs but will just lure the customer to choose any date of birth to suit the customer. In my opinion, the Government of India must get all the ID Proofs in India to be issued digitally and synchronize the data - by providing OTO (One Time Option) to residents to choose any ID Proof of their Choice - which may contain valid data of Name, Address, DOB, Mobile etc.
  • Telecom Operators want their business to increase and this is possible only in case they issue the SIM Cards to the customers without any limit. Presently there is no limit on the issue of any number of SIM Cards to any individual and you can get as many SIMS as you want - thanks to loopholes in the Indian system allowing Mobile Operators to expand their business even if may cause a security risk to National Security. Now the GOI on the directions of Supreme Court has asked the Telecom Operators in India to verify all SIMs through Aadhar Based Biometric Authentication but the GOI has made a blunder by not putting a limitation of issuing not more than one SIM card to any Individual with age restrictions in such a way that the SIMs are never issued to any Minor - with age less than 15 years. I have seen students, who are minor, using high-end devices, smartphones, tablets, iPods - which are sold without any User Verification. I am of the confirmed opinion that the all high-end devices with IP Addresses must be registered with some authority and in case the high-end devices are resold, gifted - the purchaser must transfer the high-end device to the purchaser, gift taker. In case such devices are stolen are not useable then the owner should file and FIR as in the case of stolen vehicle - so that such device can be frozen and blocked permanently.
  • Business organizations, small or big, have to sell their products - and at times I have found that the retailer will ask the purchaser - "In whose name do you want the Bill?" and you can get the Bill issued even in the name of stranger for all type of products including Smart TVs and expensive electronic goods below the price of Rs.200000 as you can now tender cash up to Rs.200000 for any goods and services. I think the Government must track the Cash Purchases by any Individual - as there is no limit of cash payments of less than Rs.2 lac to different vendors and sellers. Let the GOI make it mandatory to ask the business houses to sell the products only by entering the Aadhar Number of the purchaser - and the Aadhar Holder is given the option to accept or reject the transaction through OTP.
Now, in nutshell, what is my concern is that criminals and superfluous elements - will be offering Hefty Premiums for Purchasing Aadhar Verified SIMs from unsuspecting illiterate Aadhar Card Holders and this can be checked only if the Government of India puts a limit of one and only one Aadhar Verified SIM to any individual and that too with age restrictions up to 15 years - though it is million dollar question if a minor can be prosecuted or not as to deal with Minors is not a Minor Issue

Government of India is already aware of the Pre-Activated SIM Rackets but it lacks guts and will power to ask the big lobbly of Mobile Network Operators to limit the number of SIMS to one and only one to any Aadhaar ID. I have issued the warning beforehand and let us see if the GOI can bring in suitable legislations to check the misuse of Pre-Activated SIMs to unathorised persons either by the Network Operators or the SIM Card Purchasers. Currently any individual can easily obtain and procure seven SIMs per mobile network operator and this is the root cause of the all the evils.

Beware - Your Smart Phone may Stop Working!

Beware - Your Smart Phone may Stop Working!

Are You Using Recycle Mobile Numbers
We had already alerted the public in general that with effect from 1st July 2017, their PAN Card may become redundant and cancelled if they fail to Link their PAN with Aadhar on or before the midnight of 30th June 2017.

Now it is the turn of Mobile Numbers to go blank anytime as all mobile phone numbers in the country, whether pre-paid or post, will be linked to Aadhaar number in the coming months. This is a mandatory exercise ordered by the Government. Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has sent a notice to all the telecom operators that all phone numbers in the country need to be re-verified using e-KYC processes powered by Aadhaar card. Any unverified number or any number that is not linked to an Aadhaar number will be illegal in India after February 6, 2018. The Government notification comes after Supreme Court ruling in February this year that all the mobile numbers should have verified users but it never suggested that verification should be through biometric authentication via Aadhar of the Mobile User. In my opinion, the Government must ban issue of not more than one SIM to any Aadhar Cardholder as I fear that the public can misuse the facility and illiterate India, without knowing the legal and criminal complications, may get issued dozens of SIMs through Aadhar Biometric Authentication to sell the SIMs to other persons and individuals at premium who do not want to get themselves verified just to be caught by the Economic Offences or other wings of Investigating agencies. It is a forewarning to the Government of India well in advance (today is 1st June 2017) as I am sure that powerful Lobby of Telecom Operators India will never like limits to be put on the issuance of one and only one SIM per Aadhar Card Holder in India. 

I remember the conversation between 2 passengers onboard super fast train No.4682 from Rajpura in Punjab to Saharanpur in West UP in the year 2004 when the mobile numbers were the privilege of the privileged few. The Exact Conversation is as under:

Passenger A:  Yaar, I keep 4 mobile SIMs in my wallet.
Passenger B:  Why So?
Passenger A:  I use SIM No.1 in Punjab, SIM No.2 in Haryana, SIM No.3 in UP and 4th SIM in New Delhi as the train commences in Punjab and terminates in New Delhi after passing through Haryana and UP West.
Passenger A:  That's fine to save roaming charges - thanks to no limits on issuing of any number of SIMs.
Passenger A: Really the mobile has changed the way of life. Now it is very easy to operate. Only recently we were smuggling goods without Sales Tax in a Van and the Police were chasing the vehicle. One of our people was also behind the Sales Tax/Police Jeep and informing the Van Driver about the location of the Police Jeep. He also guided escape routes to the driver.

Now, imagine such people will never try to get verified SIMs and will try to purchase Aadhaar Verified SIMs at Hefty Premiums to escape the clutches of the Investigating agencies and the poor illiterate people mainly from rural India and  will face the music for selling their Aadhar verified SIMs to unscrupulous elements at premium without knowing the consequences - thanks to the DOT, Government of India, who can not dare to ask the powerful Lobby of Telecom Operators in India to limit the issuance of one and only one SIM to any Aadhar Card Holders and that too with age restrictions for issuance of SIM Cards to Minors. But the question is whether the Date of Birth inserted on Aadhars is duly verified or not. Let the Government of India - announce with full authority that Aadhar, the Unique Identity Number is a valid proof of Identity, Name, Date of Birth, and Address. I am of the confirmed opinion that the Registrar of Deaths and Births come under the purview of the State Governments whereas State Governments in India are not at all co-operating with the Central Government as States are governed by regional political parties and they have their vested interest to not to digitalise their population registers, voters data, and registration of birth and deaths. If one and only one SIM to every Aadhar Cardholder with age of more than say 15 years is implemented I am sure that Crime Rate in India will drop drastically. There is no fun issuing Mobile Numbers to minors below 15 years - as in my opinion to Deal with Minors is not a Minor Issue.

The DoT (GOI) has already sent notices to all the telecom operators in India to verify the details of mobile subscribers through KYC biometric authentication using Aadhar. It has been made mandatory to verify and link all mobile numbers with Aadhar. If it is not done then the operator is empowered to cut the mobile connection without any further notice after February 2018. The subscriber of two big operators - Idea and Airtel have already started receiving messages from their respective operators in this regard.

What to do on receiving a message from your Telecom Operator:

  • Visit the nearest Retail Store of your Operator.
  • You need to carry your Aadhar Card and Phone Number - and provide these details to the representative of the Telecom Operator.
  • The representative will send a verification code on your Mobile Number.
  • You will have to confirm the verification code to the representative of the retail store.
  • Then you will be asked to be got verified through fingerprint biometric authentication process.
  • Finally, you will get Final Verification Message within 24 hours and you have to reply the Final Message with "Y".
It is better for you to get the process completed as soon as possible - because during January 2018 and February 2018, when the deadline expires, there will be huge rush in the retail stores of all telecom operators and you might have to wait in serpentine queues for hours as was the case in case of demonetization of 500 and 1000 notes in November 2016. I can easily project that similar situation will arise in November 2017 to February 2018 as you can not even send your representative to give your fingerprints. But I think that the process may get easier in case the GOI allows the Common Services Centres in India and other shopkeepers and retailers, who possess the fingerprint scanners, to complete the process in their nukkad, mohalla, society, village to avoid crowds at Retail Stores of Telecom Operators. Do not delay in Linking Aadhar with Mobile Numbers

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