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Reforms for Secure Digital Connectivity

  • 21 Aug 2023
  • 5 min read

For Prelims: Reforms for Secure Digital Connectivity, Digital Ecosystem, Know Your Customer, Point of Sale (POS), World Telecommunication Day.

For Mains: Reforms for Secure Digital Connectivity.

Source: PIB

Why in News?

In order to promote Safe Telecom Utilisation, the government has introduced two reforms for mobile user protection to promote a cleaner and safer Digital Ecosystem.

  • The two reforms, KYC (Know Your Customer) Reforms and Point of Sale (POS) registration Reform. These two reforms are in the direction of earlier reforms introduced with the launch of Sanchar Saathi, a citizen-centric portal that has empowered India's fight against the menace of cybercrimes and financial frauds.

What are the Reforms?

  • KYC Reforms: KYC reforms play a pivotal role in safeguarding subscribers of telecom services from potential frauds and bolstering public confidence in the digital ecosystem.
    • QR Code Scanning of Aadhaar: To prevent misuse of printed Aadhaar, demographic details are captured by scanning the QR code of printed Aadhaar during the KYC process.
    • Mobile Number Disconnection: Disconnected mobile numbers will not be allocated to new customers for 90 days after disconnection, preventing immediate reuse.
    • Complete KYC for SIM Replacement: Subscribers must complete KYC when replacing their SIM cards.
    • Biometric Authentication: In addition to thumbprints and iris-based authentication, facial-based biometric authentication is permitted in Aadhaar E-KYC.
    • Business Connections: Entities such as companies, organizations, trusts, and societies can obtain mobile connections after completing KYC for all end-users. Activation occurs only after successful KYC and physical verification of the entity's premises.
  • Point-of-Sale (POS) Registration Reforms: This reform aims to ensure the integrity of the distribution network by mandatorily registering Franchisees, Agents, and Distributors (PoS).
    • The process involves robust verification and written agreements between PoS and Licensees. Any PoS engaged in illegal activities will be terminated and blacklisted for three years.

What is the Sanchar Saathi Portal?

  • About:
    • The Sanchar Saathi portal, developed by the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) under the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), is revolutionizing the telecom sector in India.
    • It was launched on World Telecommunication Day (17th May 2023).
  • Objective:
    • The primary objective of the Sanchar Saathi portal is to address various fraudulent activities prevalent in the telecom industry, such as identity theft, forged KYC, and banking fraud.
      • By leveraging advanced technologies and frameworks, the portal aims to provide users with a secure and trustworthy telecommunication experience.
  • Reforms Introduced:
    • CEIR (Central Equipment Identity Register):
      • Implemented to block stolen or lost mobile phones.
      • Users can submit IMEI numbers along with a copy of the police complaint to verify and block stolen devices.
      • Integrated with Telecom Service Providers and Law Enforcement Agencies.
      • Prevents stolen devices from being used in Indian networks and allows tracing by law enforcement when necessary.
    • Know Your Mobile Connections:
      • Allows users to check mobile connections registered in their name.
      • Enables identification of unauthorized or fraudulent connections.
      • Users can report fraudulent or unrequired connections, triggering re-verification and termination of reported connections.
    • ASTR (Artificial Intelligence and Facial Recognition powered Solution for Telecom SIM Subscriber Verification):
      • Developed to identify subscribers who obtain connections using fraudulent or forged documents.
      • Utilizes facial recognition and data analytics techniques.
      • Analyzes connections obtained through paper-based KYC documents.
  • Impact:
    • Over 40 lakh fraudulent connections were identified and over 36 lakh were disconnected using the portal.
    • Provides a secure and trustworthy telecommunication experience for users.
    • Protects against identity theft, forged KYC, mobile device theft, and banking fraud.


  • By introducing comprehensive reforms and harnessing technological tools like the 'Sanchar Saathi' portal and ASTR, the department has effectively identified and acted against fraudulent activities.
  • This approach aligns with the government's mission to provide a secure and reliable communication environment for all citizens.
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