Good news for those people who are struggling to get a new mobile SIM, as the government has issued instructions to operators to accept other identification documents other than Aadhaar card. The operators have been asked to follow the instructions on an immediate base.
According to a report by TOI, Telecom secretary Aruna Sundarajan has clarified that Aadhaar card is not mandatory for buying a new SIM. Users can submit other identifications proofs like driving licence, passport and voter ID card to buy a new SIM. “The ministry has issued instructions to all telecom companies, asking them not to deny a SIM card to any individual who does not have an Aadhaar number. We have asked them to accept other forms of KYC (know your customer) documents, and continue to issue SIM cards,” Sundararajan told the publication.
The decision comes right after the news when the Supreme Court clarified that it had never asked mobile phones to be linked to Aadhaar numbers. There was no such direction from the Supreme Court, but the fault is from the government end as well. The telecom ministry wrongly interpreted the order as Aadhaar linkage was the ‘only’ means of verification.
People were bombarded with messages and calls to link their Aadhaar card with SIM cards. Further, many retailers have started refusing to issue new SIM cards to people who do not have Aadhaar card. Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) says that the telecom companies are simply following the government’s previous directive to link Aadhaar card with mobile numbers.