The telecom regulator has strongly defended the mandatory linkage of Aadhaar with mobile numbers.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, in January 2016, recommended Aadhaar as one of the documents that could be used to issue a new SIM card because it was a “robust way of authentication” as well as “environment friendly”, Chairman RS Sharma told BloombergQuint in an interview.
In January 2017, the TRAI recommended to the government that there are huge godowns filled with all kinds of papers. For example, if you get a mobile connection, then you have to provide a photocopy of proof of identity, address, paper agreement of customer acquisition form and a host of other papers. Approximately, we are told that there are six papers which are in the custody of the mobile telecom service provider. There are 100 crores customers in this country. So, we have 600 crores papers and these papers are supposed to be maintained by the telecom service providers.RS Sharma, Chairman, TRAI
Sharma argued that not only does Aadhaar cut down paperwork, it also helps avoid fake identities. The TRAI chief said that hundreds of complaints have been received on SIM cards backed by fake identities, especially during criminal investigations. Aadhaar effectively cuts this out, Sharma said.
A clutch of petitions in the Supreme Court have challenged the mandatory linkage of Aadhaar to essential services including mobile numbers. “There are people who are opposed to it and people who are not opposed,” reiterated the TRAI chief.
Watch the full interview here.