Government assures that ‘Aadhaar not mandatory for mobile SIM’

If you haven’t linked your Aadhaar to your mobile number this might come as a relief. The government has issued instructions to operators to accept alternative identification documents such as driving license, passport and voter ID card.

Mobile companies have been asked to follow the instructions “immediately” so that consumers are not inconvenienced, said telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan.

“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,” the telecom secretary was reported as saying.

It is also understood that the government has asked mobile companies to “take it easy” on the issue of re-verification of mobile numbers with Aadhaar.

The Aadhaar issue had not only impacted local residents, but even NRIs and foreigners visiting the country. Since the majority of such individuals did not have an Aadhaar card, retailers of mobile companies had started denying them SIM cards. Mobile operators have so far refused to comment on the matter. However, official sources said the government has taken it very seriously.

The move comes after the apex Court had criticized the Centre for using its earlier order on ‘mandatory authentication of users’ as a ‘tool’ by asking telecom companies to link their mobile numbers with Aadhaar.

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