As per sources, Airtel on Monday proposed to return Rs. 190 crore subsidy that had hovered unsolicited into the Payments Bank accounts of its 31 lakh mobile phone subscribers after getting a blow from the Govt. Sources familiar with the development told PTI that Airtel on Monday, wrote to National Payments Corporation of India or NPCI, promising to return Rs. 190 crores along with interest to the consumers’ original bank accounts that were linked to the Direct Benefit Transfer or DBT.
Airtel and Airtel Payments bank were reprimanded after Airtel supposedly opened accounts of its mobile phone subscribers without taking their consent and it was also found that LPG subsidy worth crores was being deposited to these accounts. The government took immediate action and the Unique Identification Authority of India, late last week, provisionally barred the company from conducting any Aadhaar-based SIM verification of mobile customers using eKYC process and e-KYC of payments bank clients and ordered PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct an audit of Bharti Airtel and Airtel Payments Bank to ascertain if their systems and processes are in accordance with the Aadhaar Act.
As per sources, the DBT benefits floating into the accounts is also being stiffened to bring more accountability. The oil companies have also asked Airtel to return LPG subsidy that have got credited to the respective payment bank accounts. In another statement, Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd told that oil marketing companies and the oil ministry has been getting complaints from LPG consumers for not having receivedtheir LPG subsidy amount into their bank accounts for the last few weeks.
A detailed email in this regard has been sent to BhartiAirtel on December 17 on the impact of UIDAI’s latest move on the SIM verification process and the alternate mechanism being worked out by the company, remained unanswered.