UIDAI asks Airtel to explain alleged payments bank account opening without approval
Airtel Bharti has been slammed with a notice by UIDAI (the Unique Identification Authority of India) and asked to respond within the stipulated timeframe. Airtel has been claimed to supposedly open payments bank accounts without customers’ “informed consent” those who went for Aadhaar-based SIM authentication.
On its part, Airtel has declined the accusations, mentioning all “Airtel Payments Bank accounts are created only after clear approval from the consumer”. A company official stated that Airtel is functioning to submit a thorough reply to the UIDAI within the fixed time limit.
Notices were slapped by the Aadhaar-issuing organization, the UIDAI, on Airtel Payments Bank and Bharti Airtel pertaining to this in September. A source from UIDAI said the primary response of the company was not satisfactory demanding the need for asking further clarification.
Ajay Bhushan Pandey, CEO of UIDAI, said, “We have sent intimation to a telecom operator and are waiting for their reply. After giving a full chance of hearing to the concerned firm, we will take thoughtful scrutiny of the subject.” However, Pandey did not name the operator mentioning the matter is under inspection.
A spokesperson for Airtel stated that the mobile phone re-verification and the creating of Airtel payments bank account were distinct and not connected. He said, “Airtel Payments Bank is completely acquiescent with all rules and pursues a strict consumer on-boarding method.”
He asserted that the approval for creating Airtel payments bank account as well as Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) is taken discretely from each consumer. The spokesperson further mentioned that DBT sum is reimbursed automatically to the latest Aadhaar-connected bank account of a consumer as indicated by the pertinent standards.
Airtel said, “If the account of Airtel payments bank is the newest Aadhaar-connected account created by a consumer, the DBT gets directed to it automatically.” It also mentioned that such subsidy credit is also conveyed to the consumers via an automated call or a message. The UIDAI in the notifications mentioned that it has recognized that Airtel retailers are supposedly creating Airtel payments Bank account while doing the Aadhaar e-KYC authentication without telling the reason of e-KYC as well as without taking approval of the consumer.
Also, few nags were made to UIDAI claiming that Airtel created payments bank account without the consent and the stated account was then connected for obtaining LPG subsidy. The regulatory body is said to have stated that such acts breached Aadhaar Act’s specific sections. The act requires the entities to requisitely obtain approval of an individual prior to gathering authentication-linked data and also notify them about the authentication’s purpose.