New Delhi: The Centre will start linking of mobile SIM cards with Aadhaar numbers in the next two months which would be an incentive for subscribers as they can avail a host of services, a top government official said.
The linking of Aadhaar number with mobile SIM cards would enable the subscribers to use a host of services including financial transactions.
The government does not intend to make the process mandatory and wants to create a secure eco-system.
The government wants to undertake seeding of mobile SIMs with Aadhaar numbers to deal with misuse of technology for diversion of subsidies, various criminal acts including terrorism and extortion as well as for making financial transactions on mobile more fool proof and robust.
“Whichever telephone gets linked to Aadhaar, the user can actually use it to participate in all transactions. So once we enable this to happen, it is as good as giving a finger print. Then people will be enabled to do transactions. So, we are not mandating it, but at the same time we are creating a system where people are incentivised to do this,” Department of Electronics and IT (DeitY) Secretary R.S. Sharma told PTI on the sidelines of a NASSCOM event in Bangalore.
Earlier, during the UPA regime, the government's plan to make Aadhaar-linked bank account mandatory for getting cooking gas subsidy hit a road block. The project's implementation was suspended after the apex court's interim order.
The Supreme Court had observed that government cannot deny any benefit to citizens simply because somebody does not have Aadhaar.
As per experts, the Court's view was appropriate as coverage under the Aadhaar project was low at that time.
At present, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has issued Aadhaar numbers to over 70 crore residents in the country.
“The issue regarding use of Aadhaar card as proof of address for procuring new SIM cards in its proposed online verification will be in place in next two months,” the IT secretary said.
Asked how many SIM cards would be linked to the Aadhaar, Mr. Sharma said: “I can't predict as how this will grow. That I can't predict, but the system will be in place.”
He added the department is “working on various models and it has produced an architecture document and given for public consultation on various platforms including MyGov.”
“We are calling for ideas of how this can be architected, and once those ideas come and we are able to finalise on architecture, we will go into it,” he added.
MyGov is a website launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and helps citizens to contribute in governance by giving their opinions and views on important issues.
Earlier, the Union Home Ministry had raised concerns over the use of Aadhaar number as a single source of identity verification.
However, recently the Ministry supported the Aadhaar scheme saying it will facilitate “anytime, anywhere, anyhow” authentication to its beneficiaries.
Mr. Sharma said 700 million people are already having Aadhaar as on October 28, 2014 and the Prime Minister has directed the department to ensure everyone has it by the end of next year.