Egg & Chicken problem: Address Change

I finished up posting about issues in India with Are we there yet? and I’m stuck knee-deep in an Egg and Chicken problem. May be I’ve a solution but it is as twisted logic as the rule.

Soon we are about to shift to a new house and now my major concern is getting updated all correspondence address wherever given. I’ve a fairly small list: mobile & bank(s).

Step 1:

Called up Customer Care for mobile, thinking it to be pretty straight forward. I hit the wall as fast as I thought easy it’ll be. They won’t take address update details over phone. What! I thought I had a postpaid mobile service but they are even fcking NSA proof, I’m expected to give a little Personal Interview for address change.. They need hard copy of my ID, my address and me personally visiting the mobile local office. I can live with hard copies & visits but expecting have an address proof when changing address. It’s like basically, “Fck we don’t trust you. Give me all your details”. Expected address proof, Bank Statement, Passport, Voter ID card, Driving Licence, Utility Bills.

Step 2:

Bank Statement!!! Yay! I can get that. Called up Customer Care for bank. After almost 10 minutes talking to a lady who didn’t understand what I’m saying and kept on repeating to press random buttons on phone. I can never forget her name, she’s everywhere… IVR. I think I had more interaction with IVR than with actual representative, who in one sentence shattered my dreams. “As per RBI regulations, you’ll have to send a hard copy of your ID and Address Proof (all self attested) along with an application. We do not accept address update details on phone”. So, that didn’t work out too. They are not even expecting a personal visit. Expected address proof again is Bank Statement, Passport, Voter ID card, Driving Licence, Utility Bills.

I’m not going for Passport address change because it took me over 6 months to get mine because of issue called, “Address Change”.

I enquired about Voter ID card, they also need an Address Proof.

Driving License, don’t have one.

Utility Bills: Isn’t Mobile bills one of those. Nah! Didn’t work.

Dear Narendra Modi, Is this what you are referring to Digital India? If we are going digital, every thing must go digital. Is there a place where I can get my address updated, which can happily give me a No Objection Certificate to show the world and say, “hey, I live here. Now update my address.”

My Egg & Chicken Problem

The Egg: The house is in my mother’s name. The Electricity, Water, Gas all billed to my mother.

The Chicken: I do not have a single thing because I stay with them and already have Bank Statement <–> Utility Bill problem with me.

Funny incident happened over 5 years ago. A friend applied for Passport. He was worried as he had nothing under his name as address proof. I jokingly said, you are your father’s son so give them his details

May be my friend didn’t understand that well but I guess that is the solution for me. Get my mother’s details, along with proof that I’m her son, a little personal one-on-one and then, I have the permission to get the address updated. Looks like even that is not accepted. I visited the bank, tried to explain the situation but what I got is below:

  • ID proof of mother
  • Any State or Government organisation bill or any other Centralised bank Passbook or statement
  • Written application with photo and signature stating I’m her son and live with her
  • My ID proof
  • DNA sample & signature from Raghuram Rajan verifying all the above (OK… I made this up!)

I took the sale deed with me which stated My mother’s & father’s name. I had my ID proof which also stated my father’s name. Heck, even had Passport copy which had both their names. Alas, that is not enough. Looking for more alternate solutions.

There are major flaws in the guidelines. It is understandable that Bank needs all proof to avoid frauds but it is quite surprising to have the same rules being applied to Mobiles as well. If we are going to Digital India, we’ll have to start somewhere. Imagine the amount of paper being wasted in hard copies. At least 3 copies of each document to be given at 3-4 places to update same thing, which translates to 12 pages (minimum) which is equal to ₹24 of photocopy or ₹40 for print outs (unless used Office resources). Where does these 12 pages go and how long are they stored? If they are stored, isn’t there a risk of them to be misused because we’ve given literally all our details to a third-party. That is for only 1 service. Imagine coupling it with new service, update service or even cancel the service, each day 15 people cumulative, 20 working days makes to 12 * 15 * 20 = 3600 A4 size pages at 24 * 15 * 20 = ₹7200 INR. This data is hypothetical because there are over 100 services and we are over 1 Billion so expecting only 15 is unrealistic. Make it at least humble 1% of 1 Billion = 50,000,000. The new numbers are 12,000,000,000 A4 Pages at ₹24,000,000,000 INR i.e. 12 Billion A4 Pages & ₹24 Billion INR. Wow! That’s some huge number and lots of zeroes and only 1 service. Manufacturing and wastage of paper expense is yet to be calculated.

How difficult it is for a mobile company to verify me face to face for which there will be an ID proof (heck, make that digital too. I’ll speak the ID and it’ll show my details on to their screen with my photo). If they think someone my look-alike, forge my signature, give same PIN or Thumb impression as mine, well that’s quite high-tech and much difficult to forge than the paper trail they are expecting us to leave behind. This system is to safeguard the companies and the organisations. If somebody uses the paper then authorities will be double-quick to say “It’s on paper. You are screwed and nothing can be done about it so f*ck off!”.

You don’t save wood or paper just by saying, “Print this mail only if necessary” or preaching, “Reduce font by 1 size to save paper”. If we want to reach Digital India, let’s start by securing things.

Lots of people have provided their details for Aadhar (Unique Identification Number, UID). With such a huge database for authentication (and they do verify Aadhar details online), they need to make a system which can take thumb impression to validate the identity by showing Photo, Name, ID, Address, Phone Number, Father’s & Mother’s Name. I’ve seen SBI has provided Fingerprint reader to employees for authentication, why can’t we common public be authenticated? SBI can be made the biggest NoC supplier to validate identity of a person or even have the current Aadhar centres to update the address by authenticating with Fingerprint.

Things may change but doesn’t seem in near future as the Aadhar page says,

Choose Aadhaar! It is voluntary. “It is not mandatory for a citizen to obtain an Aadhaar Card.”

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