From January 2018, mobile subscribers will be able to link their Aadhaar details to their mobile numbers from their home using a voice-guided system that would complete the process through a one-time password (OTP).
This facility, however, will come nearly a month and a half behind the original target date to roll out a convenient OTP system for customers. The delay follows confusion and tussle between Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and telecos.
Subscribers will have time until 6 February to complete the process, failing which their numbers will be deactivated.
While the government is going ahead with Aadhaar linking of mobile phone numbers citing security concerns, the Supreme Court has asked the government to explain the need to do so amidst complaints by sections over alleged infringement of individual's privacy.
Subscribers have till the first week of February to get their numbers verified, failing which their connection may be disconnected.
An OTP-based system is seen as the most convenient route for mobile subscribers to get their numbers linked with Aadhaar, especially as they get rid of hardships in the existing system where biometric machines have not functioned properly at outlets of mobile companies, or centres are located at a distance.
In the OTP system, a subscriber needs to call the Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) from his mobile number, and can complete the process in English, Hindi and several regional languages. The subscriber will then need to give the consent for verification with the Aadhaar number, following which he / she receives an OTP that will be used for completing the process. Once the OTP so keyed in is verified to be correct, the number is verified within a certain period of time.
Customers will be able to avail the benefits of this UIDAI system only if their mobile number is already in the Aadhaar database. "And this will help people verify their mobile number with Aadhaar without going to a telecom outlet, provided their mobile number is already added to Aadhaar database," The Economic Times quoted UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey as saying.
Even though the procedure has now been put in place, telecom companies and their lobby group Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) are still at odds with UIDAI for not consulting them about the procedure.