Oct 112017
 

I cannot foresee the implications of linking all my Bank a/cs, Phone numbers etc to Aadhar. But I linked most of them as soon as the government passed the mandate.

I have been very enthusiastic about this particular project UIDAI, since it’s launch during the UPA regime. More so because, I have seen how useful it can be to have a integrated system like this at such a massive scale, for example the way it has been implemented and used in USA. Of course, there is always a flip side to it, but perhaps, I would discuss it in another post.Now, coming to the “mandate” of linking all accounts/phone numbers etc. Let me share the most frustrating experience I had while dealing with the Mobile service providers.

Linking my PAN card was a breeze and so was linking my bank accounts. That’s because I could do it online without visiting the branch.

BUT(this is really a big BUT!), when it came to doing the same for mobile number linking, my experience has been nothing less than hell (a bit exaggeration, but what the heck?)

So I have multiple phone numbers on Airtel and Vodafone. This is what happened at each of the gallery.

Seeing Red at Vodafone

It all started when I received messages from Vodafone which mentioned the mandate passed by the government about linking my number with Aadhar. The message further informed that if I didn’t do so, they would disconnect my number.

Also, at the same point of time, I started receiving another message about upgrading from 3G sim to 4G sim, else they would disconnect my number. This particular one I didn’t take seriously as I knew that they can’t do it. But since I needed to go to the gallery to link Aadhar, why not get it upgraded as well. When I went there, the response from the executive shocked me.

“Sir, you card is from another circle(Mumbai) and we are in Maharashtra circle, we can’t link your Aadhar here, you need to visit Vodafone gallery in Mumbai circle!”
*Face Palm*
So in this age of “Digital India” where everything and everyone is connected, they are disconnected from each other as far as infrastructure is concerned. The irony here is, they claim to connect us to the world. I didn’t face this at the banks. No visits to this branch or that. Just went online and linked it.
So I left it at that, because I was not going to travel to half a day just to link Aadhar to my phone! I stay on the outskirts of mumbai and decided that I will do it when I go there.
Meanwhile, the messages kept coming, but now they started clubbing the messages in one.

Sarkari nirdeshanusar aapka number Aadhar see jod de & 3G sim ko 4G sim per free upgrade kare, anyatha aapka number band ho jayega.”

This translates to “As per the government orders, link your number to Aadhar and upgrade to 4G sim, else your number will be disconnected”. So they restructured the sentence in such a way that it appeared that the government had also mandated to upgrade to 4G sim. These crooks go to any lengths to get their ways!

Anyway, I haven’t yet linked it. Will do it on the last day I guess.

Airtel Open Network was not open enough

Airtel’s messages weren’t so nasty. Just plain and simple link your Aadhar to phone number at your nearest gallery. So I thought, ok, fair enough, I will go do it. That way in Feb ’18 I would have at least one working number.

I thought that it would be a piece of cake and entered the Airtel gallery with high hopes. I thought I could do it in one go.

She: “Yes sir, how can I help you”
Me: “I have to link my Aadhar number to my phone”
She: “Can I have your number, please?”

Me: “123456789”

At this point, things got serious. She went through her laptop, punched my number and made a nervous looking face.

She: “Sir, is this number important to you? Do you use it daily?”

Me: “Of course! Why?”

She: “Sir, the thing is, to link your Aadhar, all your information should match, but your DOB is not matching. So we can’t link it. Perhaps you can apply for another number”

Me: “No, no, I need this number”(this was my mistake. I should have said, ok let me port my number to another provider, but her tactics had worked, I panicked!)

She: “Else another option you have is, you can fill up a form to convert this number to post paid. I will tell you a plan, use it for 4 months and then convert back to prepaid”

Me: “No, no, I don’t want to do that, as my usage is not very high,I would simply be paying high rent without usage”(what an idiot, she must have though. I should have simply told her that If she can update my details when I convert to post paid, why can’t she update my DOB right now?…but I panicked!)

She: “Sir this is the only option you have”
Me: “In that case, I will see what I can do”I walked out, took a deep breath, as if I hadn’t for a long time! Relieved that, I have time till Feb’18 to think over it.

But I am better off

By evening I had tweeted to the Airtel handle about my experience and in no time I received a call from their CC, saying, there is no need to convert. Infact he went on to say, she shouldn’t have communicated in such manner and should have updated the DOB there itself. He assured me that he would “personally update” my DOB. Couple of days later I got a call from same person, who informed me that he had updated the same along with all the necessary details! So I should visit the same gallery and link my Aadhar. “Same Gallery!” my thoughts revolved around this for some time, until that lady’s image came to my mind. But this time it was nasty as hell, as if she was a devil, who had told that person who called me “let him come, I will see what is to be done!”

Me in my mind “Hell no! I am not going there again!”

So till date, I haven’t been able to link my Aadhar to my phone numbers.

Laughing at my wife now. She has purchased her sim before our marriage and is still registered with her maiden name.Point I am trying to make here is, Aadhar is supposed to simplify our life. The process should be very simple but these providers have made it so very complicated. If you have purchased a Reliance Jio sim, you will understand how simple this process can be. I took my aadhar card along, scanned my finger and walked out with the sim.

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