The linking of Aadhaar number with your SIM card has been made mandatory by the government for all the citizens of India. The government has plans to link all mobile numbers with the unique identification number by February 2018. If an individual fails to link it by February 2018, the SIM card will be deactivated. As per recent reports, over 25 percent of SIM cards have been linked to Aadhaar. Currently, there are about 128 million mobile phone connections in the country.
Linking a SIM to Aadhaar is not easy like linking of PAN to Aadhaar that could happen online. The SIM-Aadhaar linking will require a visit to the mobile operator’s service centre. As per data by Economic Times, as of July 2017, about 128 crore mobile phone connections are available in the country and 33.8 crore SIM cards have either been issued or linked by telecom operators using Aadhaar e-KYC. This accounts for about 25 percent of SIM cards have been linked to Aadhaar.
Major telecom operators in India had already started the process of linking the SIM cards of their customers with Aadhaar cards. Data from UIDAI further informed that 7.55 crore of the 35.01 crore subscribers of Bharti Airtel got their Aadhaar linked to their SIMs, 7.99 crore Idea Cellular out of 26.08 crore linked SIMs with Aadhaar while 4.5 crore out of 25.9 crore subscribers of Vodafone India had linked the two. Meanwhile, new entrant Reliance Jio linked 10.78 crore of 12.32 crore connections.
Aadhaar mobile linkage is being done as per orders of the Supreme Court passed in February this year in the Lokniti Foundation case, sources said. All SIM cards have to be verified with Aadhaar within a year from the date of judgement so criminals, fraudsters and terrorists cannot use the issued SIMs. Earlier, the government has made it mandatory for financial institutions, including banks, to verify and link Aadhaar of their customers with their accounts.To comply with this directive, banks are now asking customers to submit their Aadhaar to link the same with their accounts.
In August, the government extended the deadline for linking PAN with biometric identifier Aadhaar by four months till December 31. The deadline for linking PAN with Aadhaar for taxpayers was to end on August 31, 2017. “To facilitate ease of compliance by the taxpayers, CBDT has extended the date (for) … linking Aadhaar with PAN till December 31, 2017,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement.
In February, the government had told the Supreme Court that it would put in place, within a year, an effective mechanism for the verification of prepaid mobile users who constitute 90 percent of the total subscribers. Once SIMs are linked to Aadhaar, biometrics collected should be encrypted by the telecom company and sent to UIDAI at that moment itself and any storage of biometric by a service provider is a criminal offence punishable with up to three years of imprisonment under the Aadhaar Act 2016. – India