According to the latest reports, Airtel may have to pay a fine. Airtel was reported to violate rules on using Aadhaar for its eKYC process. This report has come in from the UIDAI(Unique Identification Authority of India).
UIDAI just suspended Airtel from using Aadhaar for authenticating connections and new bank accounts.
UIDAI did send a notice to Airtel after they received complaints from customers regarding opening bank accounts with their explicit consent. This even led to payment subsidy in LPG as a result of the payments being linked to their accounts.
Moreover, an Airtel spokesperson confirmed the news saying the company did receive an interim report from UIDAI. The report stated Airtel needs to suspend Aadhaar linked e-KYC services for Airtel’s Payment Bank’s accounts verification processes for new accounts.
Bharti Airtel is indeed trying to come to an agreement with UIDAI and reduce the penalty fine by coming to a conclusion. The company is indeed taking responsibility for their actions and saying sorry to its customers for their inconvenience. They are saying they will check on their process flaws and act accordingly.
Aadhaar linking is now mandatory for phone accounts. The government plans to crack down on their misuse by terrorists and other criminals. Furthermore, according to UIDAI, Bharti Airtel customer’s were utterly unaware of these advancements.
UIDAI stated that many customers were unaware of these changes in their bank accounts. They thought the government had something to do with it. As of now, 4.7 million LPG customer’s payments are made through these accounts. It amounts to a total of Rs 167 crore Indian rupees.
Bharti Airtel UIDAI together is working in union to take the matter into notice and will seek to make amends. They are concerned about giving explicit consent of their customers for new bank accounts. Also, they even changed the app’s express check to opt-in mode.
UIDAI stated that the Airtel mobile app had a pre-checked box saying the customer wants to open a new Aadhaar linked bank account. The users were not aware of that.
This penalty will probably not effect Airtel’s finances much though as they are the leading telecom operator in India. Also, Airtel will soon face competition from Reliance Jio as they are too planning on starting a Banking franchise.