New Delhi: The Aadhaar-issuing body UIDAI today allowed Bharti Airtel to conduct eKYC verification for its telecom subscribers till January 10 with stiff riders, but maintained its “suspension” order on Airtel Payments Bank.Airtel, India’s largest telecom company with 282 million subscribers, got the temporary reprieve with conditions after Rs 138 crore direct benefit transfer (DBT) was repaid into 55.63 lakh original accounts of its customers, people familiar with the matter said.
The second interim order to this effect has been passed by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) keeping in view convenience of customers and also the looming March 31 deadline given by the Supreme Court for mobile SIM re-verification.
The UIDAI will take a view on the issue after it receives a report from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Telecom Department on January 10. The UIDAI has asked both the RBI and the Telecom Department to conduct an audit of systems, processes, applications and documentations followed by Bharti Airtel “to ensure that the company is in compliance with their licence conditions”.
“UIDAI has not allowed Airtel Payment Bank Limited to use eKYC license key and it shall remain deactivated until further notice,” a person with direct knowledge of the matter said.
As per the conditions imposed on Airtel, the company would have sent messages to its customers within 24 hours that their DBT accounts have been reverted to the originally designated bank account.
Airtel will also inform its customers in the next 24 hours that the direct benefit transfers received in their Airtel payment bank accounts have been reversed to original bank accounts.
As per another rider, Airtel can use the e-KYC and authentication service only for re-verification and issuance of SIM cards. It will not be allowed to leverage the same for obtaining consent of the Aadhaar holder for opening bank accounts, wallet, DTH or any other goods or services, the person added.
Both Airtel and Airtel Payments Bank came under fire after the Sunil Mittal-led firm allegedly opened accounts of its mobile phone subscribers without seeking their “informed consent”, and LPG subsidy worth crores was deposited into these accounts. The government acted swiftly in the matter and the UIDAI, in a strong move 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.