UIDAI lets Airtel to continue Aadhaar-based e-KYC verification till March 31
“We can confirm that the UIDAI had permitted Bharti Airtel to continue Aadhaar based e-KYC till March 31, 2018, subject to compliance to guidelines laid down by the authority,” a Bharti Airtel spokesman said in a written response to ET’s queries Thursday.
The company, further, said it “continues to engage with the authorities and has addressed all concerns that they have raised,” adding that “compliance to all guidelines is of paramount importance to us and we remain committed to this”.Read more ↓
Bharti Airtel did not comment on UIDAI’s order pertaining to its payments banking arm, but one of the persons cited above said “status quo had been maintained” in so far as Airtel Payment Bank goes.
At press time, a certified copy of the UIDAI order was not available with ET.
Back in December, the UIDAI had suspended Bharti Airtel and its banking arm, Airtel Payments Bank from conducting Aadhaar-based verification of customers, following complaints of the telco using Aadhar-eKYC based SIM verification process to open payment bank accounts of its subscribers without their informed consent. Such accounts were also linked to get subsidy from the government.
The UIDAI, while suspending the e-KYC licence, had reportedly imposed a fine of Rs 2.5 crore on Airtel Payments Bank. But it later allowed Bharti Airtel to resume Aadhaar-based e-KYC verification of telecom subscribers till January 10 to facilitate linking of Aadhaar with mobile SIMs as per a Supreme Court directive.
Following its suspension, Airtel Payments Bank had launched a probe, wherein it was observed that some retailers, who were also acting as designated banking points, had not informed customers about savings account opening and direct benefit transfer (DBT) receipts in an upfront manner.
Consequently, Airtel Payments Bank terminated relationships with as many as 1,000 retailers for not following the due process while signing up customers, after the banking arm of Sunil Mittal-founded telecom carrier, conducted internal investigations to zero in on errors and lapses that led to its Aadhaar-based e-KYC licence getting suspended.
People aware of the matter said Airtel Payments Bank imposed a penalty of nearly 50 times the commission paid on several retailers who flouted the norms for the first time, and removed repeat offenders from the network besides imposing a fine on them.
The subsidy-transfer issue came into the limelight after state-run oil companies and the oil ministry had claimed that Rs 167 crore of LPG subsidies had been deposited in accounts in Airtel Payments Bank without the knowledge of customers.