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RBI sleeps while Airtel Payment Banks allegedly flouts norms

Airtel upon its suspension from e-verification of Aadhar by UIDAI has deposited an interim penalty of Rs 2.5 crore to the regulator. This has happened after the UIDAU found that Airtel had prima-facie opened upto 3.1 million bank accounts without their ‘informed consent’ and proper ‘solicitation’

While UIDAI is taking actions for breach in its terms with the payment bank, Banking regulator – Reserve Bank of India has not even sought an explanation for the damaging actions by the Bank.

Reserve Banks KYC guidelines dated September 02,2016 – it is very clear that ‘e-KYC is possible only for those who have Aadhaar numbers. While using e-KYC service, you have (Customer) to authorise the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), by explicit consent, to release your identity/address through biometric authentication to the bank branches/business correspondent (BC)’

The key term is explicit consent of users. UIDAI already thinks that on the face of it there is a case for ‘breach of trust’ as the explicit concent may have not been obtained. Further, on compliant of Oil Marketing Companies regarding the LPG direct to account subsidies,  NPCI has also asked that all Aadhar subsidies that were rerouted to Airtel Bank accounts are to be returned. That makes two respectable agencies openly questioning Airtel Bank’s customer acquisition.

Still the watchdog of banks continues to be in deep slumber. In the right line of questioning Airtel should be asked if it opened Benami accounts misusing the trust its telecom customers had provided it with. Given the scale of this deviant act, if no action is taken, it might encourage misuse of customer’s confidential KYC data.

Now that all financial services are being accessed through just one key aadhar, companies and organisation must fear about any misuse by of customer’s private data or else we are looking forward for a scam-in-waiting the scope of which will be measured in percentage of Indian GDP


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