In a major move to check cyber crime via mobile phones, the Narendra Modi government has made police verification of SIM dealers mandatory.
More, there will also be discontinuing bulk connections to curb fraud. “Now, it will be mandatory for new dealers (of mobile SIM cards) to go through a police verification and biometric verification. Registration will also be compulsory for all point-of-sale dealers now”, Union telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw announced in a briefing.
He said that a penalty of ₹10 lahks will be imposed on those found violating rules. The minister added that since the launch of the Sanchar Saathi portal, the government detected and deactivated 52 lakh connections that were fraudulently obtained. The government also blacklisted 67,000 dealers engaged in selling mobile SIM cards. He added that FIRs were filed against 300 SIM card dealers since May 2023.
“Earlier, people used to buy (mobile) SIM cards in bulk. There was a provision for this to buy SIM cards in bulk. However, it has been decided to end this provision. Instead, we will bring a proper business connection provision which will help in stopping fraudulent calls,” the minister said.
Vaishnaw said there are 10 lakh SIM dealers and they will be given sufficient time for police verification. He said that the Department of Telecommunications has also discontinued the provision of bulk connections and instead, a new concept of business connection will be introduced.
"Besides, KYC of businesses, KYC of the person taking handover of SIM will also be done," Vaishnaw said. In May this year, the Punjab Police blocked over 1.8 lakh SIM cards allegedly activated using fake identities and also arrested 17 people for issuing such SIM cards.