Aadhaar as authentication tool
TRAI has proposed Aadhaar as electronic KYC to get new mobile connections. In Picture: India has provided unique identification to nearly one billion people in five years. Pictured: Village women stand in a queue to get themselves enrolled for the Unique Identification (UID) database system at Merta district in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan.Reuters

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R S Sharma said April 8 that using Aadhaar card as authentication tool could result in zero cost for new mobile connections. It could also lead to the process being paperless as everything could be done digitally. 

The implementation of Aadhaar as electronic Know Your Customer (KYC) would bring down transaction costs and also speed up verification process for operators and consumers, he said.

"If you are taking a mobile connection, currently the cost of activation of a mobile customer is Rs 150 because you have to fill a customer acquisition form (CAF), you have to give paper documents... if you use digital identity authentication, you can fill the customer form, digitally sign it and get your electronic KYC. So, essentially the cost is equal to zero," Sharma said at the annual growth net summit, the Press Trust of India reported.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) seems to be on board for such a move, with Sharma revealing that he has made the necessary recommendations in this regard and the government has "apparently" accepted it.

Rules are purportedly being finalised that might allow using the Aadhaar card data to get a new mobile connection. However, he admitted that there is a gap between the technology development and its implementation.

The prospect of such a move however raises security concerns, since it is possible that people might use fake Aadhaar cards to acquire new mobile connections, which in turn might be used for criminal and terror-related activities. The government will have to address all these issues if it wants to use Aadhaar for digital authentication for getting new mobile connections.

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