Ashwini Vaishnaw, Union Minister for Communications, Railways and Electronics and IT, launched the “Sanchar Saathi portal” in New Delhi, on May 16, 2023. | Photo Credit: KAMAL NARANG
The Indian Telecommunication Bill, a draft version of which was released earlier this year for public comment, should have its final form by July, Minister of Railways, Communications, Electronics and Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw told the journalist on Tuesday. “We have consulted almost every possible stakeholder,” said Mr. Vaishnaw.
“The main focus [for the Bill] should be that the telecom sector in India should be globally benchmarked, should be a sunrise sector, should have a lot of scope for innovation, a simple regulatory framework, and … user protection is should be the main focus,” added Mr. Vaishnaw.
Mr. announced Vaishnaw launched the Sanchar Saathi portal, a website that brings together initiatives already launched by the government, such as TAFCOP, a system for users to know how many SIM cards are registered in their name, and the Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR), a system that lets people who lose their phone or have it stolen remotely block the handset for use on Indian telecom networks.
Using ASTR, a facial recognition system launched by the Department of Telecommunications for detecting individuals registering more than 9 mobile connections (the maximum allowed), the government identified many fraudulent SIM registrations. Mr. Vaishnaw said at least one individual fraudulently registered more than 5,900 mobile connections in their name.
Of the 40 lakh potentially fraudulent connections detected by ASTR, which uses images extracted from telecom users’ Know-Your-Customer (KYC) identity documents, 36 lakh connections were disconnected across India , Mr. Vaishnaw said, adding that users’ data on ASTR has been reviewed in a secure manner, and that “constitutional lawyers” in the government have reviewed the system. 87 crore connections have been analyzed using ASTR, Mr. Vaishnaw said.
More than 40,000 points of sale offering such registrations have been blacklisted, the government indicated in a background note, with West Bengal accounting for more than a quarter of the banned vendors.
Spam on WhatsApp
Mr. Vaishnaw said the government was “actively engaging” with WhatsApp on the issue of spam calls, and asked anyone with information on how scamsters obtain fraudulent SIM cards to report the modus operandi to the government , assuring them that full anonymity will be granted. to tipsters.
On messaging platforms, Mr. Vaishnaw said the government is only working with WhatsApp on the spam issue, and will work with other companies as well.