Centre bans bulk sale of SIM cards
The rule will come into effect from 1 October 2023, and the dealers will be given six months time to register and complete the process.
NEW DELHI: To stop the growing menace of cyber fraud in the country, the government on Thursday discontinued selling of bulk SIM cards by dealers, and also proposed a fine of Rs 10 lakh on SIM dealers found doing so.
The new rules also mandate dealers to register themselves, and go through police verification and biometric process. The rule will come into effect from 1 October 2023, and the dealers will be given six months time to register and complete the process.
“During our observation in the past few months, we came across a big role of SIM card dealers in the country. They are not doing proper verification, and their prime focus is to sell connections anyhow. Now, the dealers will have to go through police and biometric verifications. Whosoever sells SIMs on fraudulent documents will be held responsible,” said the telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.
The minister believes in the next six months to one year, there will be a significant drop in the number of fraudulent cases in the country after all these things come into place. As per the proposed rule, the Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) will only issue SIMs to the registered dealers, and in case of any foul play the telcos can fine Rs 10 lakh on them.
While explaining about the steps already undertaken by the government, the minister said that with the launch of Sanchar Sarthi portal in May 2023, the number of fraud cases have gone down. He said around 50 lakh connections were deactivated, 67,000 SIM dealers were blacklisted, 66,000 WhatApps accounts were blocked and 8 lakh payment wallets accounts were deactivated since May 2023. Not only this, there are 300 FIRs registered in these cases.
“The fraudsters are already feeling the pressure now,” said the minister. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has also discontinued the provision of bulk connections and instead, there will be a new concept of business connection. Now, bulk SIMs will be issued to only companies or organizations with a proper verification.
It means a person can only get nine SIMs, not bulk SIMs as per earlier practice. The minister said 20% of the people getting bulk SIMs issued were using them for fraudulent purposes. Vaishnaw informed that apart from KYC details of an organization, KYC of persons taking handover of SIM will also be done to issue bulk SIMs for organizations. He also assured that dealers will get proper transition time to follow all these verification processes. “These new reforms are purely focused on user protection and reducing cyber fraud in the country,” said the minister.
Tightening the Noose
New rules mandate dealers to register themselves, go through police verification and biometric process
The rule will come into effect from October 1, 2023, and the dealers will be given six months time to register and complete the process
As per the proposed rule, telcos will only issue SIMs to the registered dealers
Rs 10 lakh fine telcos can impose on dealers in case of foul play
The Telecom minister believes in next six months to one year, there will be a significant drop in number of fraudulent cases