UIDAI -Aritel

The UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority Of India) has rebuked notices on Bharti Airtel for not abiding by the rules while opening Airtel Payments Bank account. Airtel has been accused of opening payments bank accounts without taking “informed consent” of customers who went for Aadhaar based mobile SIM verification.

The Aadhaar issuing body UIDAI mentioned that acts of not taking consent and informing the reason of authentication were a breach of rules and punishable with financial penalties.

The UIDAI even asked both Bharti Airtel and its payments bank entity to take instant corrective actions and report back to the authority on the same.

An Airtel spokesperson said the payments bank is fully compliant with RBI and UIDAI guidelines and follows a stringent customer onboarding process. “Airtel Payments Bank accounts are opened only after explicit consent from the customer. We will continue to educate retailers and strengthen our process to ensure transparency to customers and compliance with regulation,” the company said.

The UIDAI also stated that it has come to know that “Airtel retailers are allegedly opening Airtel payments Bank account at the time of performing Aadhaar e-KYC verification without informing the purpose of e-KYC and also without taking informed consent of the customer”.

Certain complaints were made to UIDAI alleging that Airtel opened payments to bank account without permission and the said account was then linked for receiving LPG subsidy.

The UIDAI is learnt to have said such acts breach specific sections of Aadhaar Act which require entities to mandatorily obtain the consent of an individual before collecting authentication related information and also inform them about the purpose of the authentication. When contacted, UIDAI spokesperson refused to comment on the matter.