The cost of activation of a new mobile connection can virtually come down to zero if electronic KYC of Aadhaar is implemented, since all authentications would get done digitally, Trai chairman R S Sharma said.
He said transaction costs are reduced substantially when Aadhaar is used as an authentication tool.
"If you are taking a mobile connection, currently the cost of activation of a mobile customer is Rs150 because you have to fill a customer acquisition form (CAF), you have to give paper documents... if you use digital identity authentication, you can fill the customer form, digitally sign it and get your electronic KYC. So, essentially the cost is equal to zero," Sharma said at the annual growth Net summit in New Delhi on Friday.
Sharma has recommended this to the Department of Telecom (DoT), which has "apparently" accepted it.
After the government finalises the new norms, it will enable instant identity verification using Aadhaar card bio-metric data for a new mobile connection.
When operators issue new connections using the Aadhaar card, it would speed up the verification process as everything will be done online, Sharma hoped.
He, however, pointed to the large gap between technology development and its implementation.
Sharma as the UIDAI director general and then as secretary in the department of electronics and IT (Deity) had earlier recommended to DoT on making the whole process paperless.
This, however, met with scepticism in some quarters on security issues.
"Now, what is happening is one person who takes your PAN card is able to give 20 SIMs to different people and if they commit a crime, you will be caught. You are not aware who is using or misusing your PAN card to get the SIMs," Sharma explained.
Citing the example of Peshawar attack in Pakistan, which killed many children, the Trai chairman said there were six terrorists who had SIMs that were issued to a woman.
"Pakistan decided to authenticate all the SIMs with biometrics and they completed the programme last year," he added.
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), meanwhile, has cautioned people not to fall for ploys of some unscrupulous entities who are charging anywhere between Rs50 and Rs200 for printing Aadhaar on a plastic card in the name of smart card, as the Aadhaar letter or its cutaway portion or downloaded version of Aadhaar on ordinary paper is perfectly valid.
Some entities have also been charging far more for simply laminating the downloaded version of Aadhaar.
''The Aadhaar card or the downloaded Aadhaar card printed on ordinary paper is perfectly valid for all uses. If a person has a paper Aadhaar card, there is absolutely no need to get his/her Aadhaar card laminated or obtain a plastic Aadhaar card or so called SMART Aadhaar card by paying money. There is no concept such as smart Aadhaar card,'' said director general and mission director of UIDAI, Ajay Bhushan Pandey.
In case a person loses his Aadhaar card, he can download his Aadhaar card free of cost from https://eaadhaar.uidai.gov.in/. The print out of the downloaded Aadhaar, even in black and white form, is as valid as the original Aadhaar letter sent by UIDAI. There is absolutely no need to print it on plastic card or get it laminated, he said.
In case a person still wants to get his Aadhaar card laminated or printed on plastic card, he may do so only at authorised Common Service Centres or Aadhaar Permanent Enrolment Centres by paying no more than the prescribed rate, which is not more than Rs30.
The public for protection of their privacy are advised not to share their Aadhaar number or personal details to unauthorized agencies for getting it laminated, or printed on plastic card, he added.
The UIDAI chief also warned e-commerce companies such E-bay, Flipkart, Amazon etc, against allowing their merchants to collect Aadhaar information from general public for printing Aadhaar card as collecting such information or unauthorized printing of Aadhaar card or aiding such persons in any manner may amount to a criminal offence punishable with imprisonment under Indian Penal Code.