In a bid to check digital frauds, the government has made verification of dealers selling SIM cards mandatory and discontinued the provision of issuing bulk connections, Union minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Thursday.
Earlier, while announcing the new measures, the minister had said that the government has made police verification of SIM card dealers mandatory. He later clarified that the verification of SIM card dealers will be carried out by “the licensee” or the respective telecom operator and added that a penalty of Rs 10 lakh will be imposed on violators. In a widespread crackdown against SIM card related digital frauds, the minister said that the government has disconnected 52 lakh mobile connections. While 67,000 dealers have been blacklisted, 300 FIRs have been registered against SIM card dealers since May 2023.
Further, the minister said WhatsApp on its own blocked around 66,000 accounts that were involved in fraudulent activities. “Indisputable verification of SIM dealers will be mandatory to curb frauds. Penalty of Rs 10 lakh will be imposed on dealers found violating norms,” Vaishnaw said. The verification will be done by telecom operators who will collect the details of each business owner and his business related documents for verification before appointing a dealer. Earlier, detailed documentation of dealer was not prescribed in the rule.
Vaishnaw said that there are 10 lakh SIM card dealers and they will be given sufficient time for verification. The minister said that the Department of Telecommunications has also discontinued the provision of issuing bulk connections and instead a new concept of business connection will be introduced. “Besides, KYC of businesses, KYC of person taking handover of SIM will also be done,” Vaishnaw said. The new rule will be implemented from October 1 and dealers will be given about six month time for the compliance.