The department of telecommunications (DoT) has given an additional two months’ time to telecom operators for complying with the new SIM card sale rules that were notified by the government in August, according to officials aware of the matter.
The new rules that required telcos to register SIM card sellers and conduct their proper KYC before onboarding them into the system, as well as stop the sales of bulk SIM cards, will now kick in from December 1. Earlier, the deadline to comply with the rules was October 1.
“Telcos sought additional time for implementation of these instructions as it required changes in their IT systems,” a government official said, adding that the government has given a one-time extension based on that.
As per the new rules, telcos will be penalised to the tune of Rs 10 lakh if they allow SIM card sellers to operate without registration after November 30. For all the existing point of sales (PoS) dealers, the registration should be completed by November 30, 2024, according to the government rules. With regard to the registration, the process will mandate a written agreement between the SIM card seller and the telcos.
The new rules were introduced by the government to curb the menace of fake SIM cards and financial fraud. It was found that many sellers were issuing SIM cards without proper verfication and were themselves indulged in such illegal activities. The government said the sellers indulging in illegal activities will be terminated and blacklisted for a period of three years.
Currently, there are 1 million SIM card sellers in the country. Since majority of the bulk SIM card sales were also misused by the companies, the government instead introduced a new system called Business Connections.
“Today, of the companies which acquire SIM cards in bulk for their businesses, only 80% are genuine and the rest 20% misuse them. We have decided to discontinue the concept of bulk connections and bring in proper business connection concept,” communications minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had said in August. He added that such business connection will be issued only after proper registration including the GST numbers, PAN card, and individual KYC of employees using such numbers.
Through bulk SIM cards, currently fraudsters indulge in making errant calls using a device called SIM box that is used for generating automated calls on a single connection. Through this device, after making fraud calls, the SIM cards get deactivated.
The government has so far blacklisted close to 70,000 dealers indulged in fraudulent SIM card activities, and lodged 300 FIRs against those involved in cyberfrauds.
Source: The Financial Express