Bharti Airtel denies violating Aadhaar norms

Bharti Airtel today said it has not violated any norms set down by the UID Authority of India for the use of Aadhaar verification.

Responding to a notice from the stock exchanges, the company confirmed having received notices from the UID Authority on alleged violations of norms.

“We confirm that the company is dealing with the notices received from the authority and is in the process of providing the response thereto,” it said, “..we are fully compliant with the requirements of UIDAI and are taking steps to satisfy the UIDAI of this position.”

The clarification after a report in Times of India said the administrative body behind India’s biometric identification system, Aadhaar, had ordered an investigation against Bharti Airtel.

It is alleged that agents of the company used the identification data to open accounts for the company’s customers in its fledgling Payments Bank arm.

As a result, UIDAI ”is threatening to slap a financial penalty for opening Airtel Payments Bank accounts of customers surreptitiously while carrying out Aadhaar verification of their mobile numbers,” the report in the Times of India said.

Going by media reports, many of Bharti Airtel’s customers were surprised to find that they did not get their cooking gas subsidies in their regular bank accounts.

According to India’s subsidy disbursement system, such entitlements are routed to the latest bank account that has been linked to the Aadhaar database.

The company has a roster of charges that specifies that banking customers will be charged 0.65% of the amount as withdrawal fees for taking cash out of their account and 0.5% when they transfer money from their payments bank account to any other regular bank account.