New Delhi: In what can be termed as a major relief for the telecom major, Bharti Airtel was allowed to use Aadhaar for re-verification of its mobile customers till January 10 with stiff riders on Thursday. The move comes after it returned Rs 138-crore LPG subsidy flown into unsolicited payment bank accounts.
Airtel wrote to National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) promising to return Rs 190 crore (along with interest) to the consumers’ original bank accounts that were linked to the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).
NPCI is an umbrella organisation for all retail payments in India.
These key facts you should know about the new development:
1. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) maintained that Airtel Payments Bank eKYC licence will “remain suspended till final enquiry and audit report”, sources told PTI.
2. The Aadhaar issuing regulator issued its second interim order to this effect Thursday.
3. As per the order, the relief is contingent on Airtel restricting its e-KYC and authentication service only for re-verification and issuance of SIM cards.
4. Airtel would not be allowed to leverage the same for obtaining the consent of the Aadhaar holder for opening bank accounts, wallet, Direct to Home (DTH) or any other goods or services.
5. Airtel will now have to inform its customers over next 24 hours that the direct benefit transfers received in their Airtel payment bank accounts have been duly reversed to original bank accounts.
6. The UIDAI has asked both the Reserve Bank of India and the telecom department to conduct an audit of systems, processes, applications, documentation followed by Bharti Airtel to ensure that the company is in compliance with their license conditions.
7. The RBI and the telecom department is expected to submit the report by January 10.
8. After receiving the report, the nodal body for Aadhaar will take a view on the entire issue.
9. While taking the decision, the UIDAI kept in mind the convenience of customers and also the looming March 31 deadline given by the Supreme Court for mobile SIM re-verification.
Both Airtel and Airtel Payments bank came under fire after Airtel allegedly opened accounts of its mobile phone subscribers without seeking their “informed consent”, and LPG subsidy worth crores was being deposited to these accounts.
The government acted swiftly in the matter and the Unique Identification Authority of India, late last week, temporarily barred the company from conducting Aadhaar-based SIM verification of mobile customers using eKYC process and e-KYC of payments bank clients.
Moreover, to avoid a repeat of Bharti Airtel-type fiasco, the UIDAI earlier this week directed banks to seek an explicit consent of the beneficiary before changing the account to which the government subsidy is being remitted.
Also, the banks have been asked to intimate the beneficiary about the change within 24-hours through SMS and e-mail as well as provide an option to the person to reverse the change, according to a Gazette notification issued by the UIDAI.