The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is considering a proposal by the Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI) to bring about 700 million telecom users under an unique identification programme. The UIDAI plans to issue a 12-digit unique identity number — Aadhaar — to all residents, based on information such as fingerprint and iris.

To verify a single customer, operators incur between Rs 50 and Rs 70. A large number of customers are still not verified.

In the case of new customers, it will be very easy for operators to activate SIM cards if customers have Aadhaar. “The whole process of verification and activating SIM will not take more than five minutes if the customer has Aadhaar,” said Ashok Pal Singh, DDG, UIDAI. At present, it takes about two to three days for verification and activation of SIM cards.

“It is too early to say what kind of relationship will be there between operators and the UIDAI. The DoT has not discussed anything with telecom operators on this issue,” said an industry representative.

Meanwhile, the DoT issued a notification on Tuesday saying that Aadhaar should be treated as a valid proof of identification for the purpose of getting new telephone connections.

“…it has been decided that the ‘Aadhaar’ issued by the UIDAI shall be treated as valid proof of identity and proof of address for purpose of obtaining new connection,” it said.

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