Aadhaar now became a mandatory document to furnish in order to open new bank accounts, book flight tickets, apply for a passport, get a PAN card, file IT returns and to receive government subsidies on LPG, fertilizers, etc. Not stopping with this, the government is now making it mandatory to Aadhaar number with Mobile SIM Cards as well.
LINK SIM CARDS TO AADHAAR
Network operators deny providing new SIM cards to customers without Aadhaar numbers. This is not only limited to new SIM cards. The existing mobile SIM cards also need to be linked to Aadhaar, failing which the SIM cards will be deactivated after February 2018.
The Supreme Court passed orders in February this year to link Aadhaar Mobile linkage as a part of the Lokniti Foundation Case. This is to prevent criminals, fraudster, and terrorists from using the SIMs in unethical ways.
However, mobile operators can neither store nor should access any of the other personal data of customers. Storing biometrics by the service providers is a criminal offense punishable with up to three years of imprisonment under the Aadhaar Act 2016. Hence, they will only collect the data and send it to UIDAI servers in encrypted form.
The government had told the Supreme Court in February that within a year it would deploy an effective mechanism for the verification of prepaid mobile users. Notably, these prepaid customers constitute 90% of the total subscribers.
The Supreme Court then asked the government to implement the mechanism at the earliest. This is a step to remove prepaid mobile connections on fake identities.
The announcement to link SIM cards with Aadhaar comes after the government extended the last date to link PAN and Aadhaar to December 31. In the like manner, the deadline to furnish Aaadhar to avail benefits of social welfare schemes also saw an extend until December 31.