UIDAI suspends Airtel's Aadhaar-linked e-KYC services

UIDAI suspends Airtel's Aadhaar-linked e-KYC services

UIDAI has suspended e-KYC license of Bharti Airtel Ltd and Airtel Payment Bank with immediate effect.

The move will bar Airtel from carrying out electronic-verification or link mobile SIMs of its customers with their Aadhaar e-KYC processs. It will also bar Airtel Payments Bank from opening new accounts with Aadhaar e-KYC.

The suspension comes for reported violation of Adhaar Act by Airtel.

Airtel confirmed the suspension. In an e-mailed response to DH, the company said, "we can confirm that we have received an interim order from the UIDAI regarding temporary suspension of Aadhaar linked e-KYC services till their satisfaction on certain processes relating to Airtel Payment Bank's on-boarding of customers.

"We are engaging with the authority and are hopeful of an early resolution. We are also undertaking to complete the said actions on priority and have commenced thorough checks of our process flows. Being compliant to all guidelines is paramount to us. In the interim, any inconvenience to our customers in regretted."

A source with the knowledge of UIDAI move confirmed the suspension too.

The issue came to light when a few customers complained about receiving their cooking gas subsidy under the DBT scheme in the Airtel Payments Bank account instead of their designated savings bank accounts with other banks.

Apparently at the time of mobile verification using Aadhaar e-KYC, the Airtel retailers also opened Airtel Payments Bank accounts without their users' consent.  The company apparently transferred the government's LPG subsidy to these accounts.

Such violations according to norms can be punished with Rs 1 lakh per day fine and termination of authentication user agreements, sources said.

The UIDAI has issued two notices to the company, one of which was issued last month but the reply of Airtel is much less satisfactory.

UIDAI has also asked PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct an audit of Bharti Airtel and Airtel Payments Bank to ascertain if their systems and processes are in compliance with the Aadhaar Act.

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