Union Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday (15 February) chaired a high level meeting in New Delhi which was organised with the objectives to address the rising concern and irritation of consumers over unsolicited messages on mobile phones, repeated harassment through SMS, promising fraudulent loan transactions and above all make digital transaction safe and secure, according to an official statement.
In the meeting, Prasad directed the officials to take strict action against erring telemarketers and individuals involved in harassment of telecom subscribers.
The method of harassment includes unsolicited commercial messages or calls. Further, the minister observed that telecom resources are also being used to carry out financial frauds and dupe the common man of his hard-earned money. Clear directions were issued to the officials to take strict and tangible action to stop such activities immediately, the statement said.
Officials pointed out that even the subscribers registered in Do-Not Disturb (DND) service continue to receive commercial communication from Registered Tele-Marketers (RTMs) and further Unregistered Tele-Marketers (UTMs) are also sending commercial communication to the subscribers.
Minister of Communication directed the officials of Department of Telecom (DoT) to conduct a meeting with Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) and Tele-Marketers to apprise them of the seriousness of the issue and to ensure the compliance of laid down rules and procedures in this regard.
In case of any violation, it was proposed to impose financial penalty against the tele-marketers including disconnection of resources in case of repetitive violations, the statement said.
It was decided that for effective handling of Unsolicited Commercial Communication (UCC) and also the financial frauds being done through misuse of telecom resources, a web/ mobile application and SMS based system shall be developed for redressal mechanism. This will enable telecom subscribers to lodge their complaints related to matters involving UCC.
The minister also directed to devise special strategies including blocking of telecom operations due to rising concern in Jamtara and Mewat region for curbing of fraudulent activities involving usage of telecom resources.
The officials apprised the minister that for UCC and financial fraud related complaints, time is of utmost essence and a quick time bound action will help in reducing such menace, it added.
Accordingly, a nodal agency, named as Digital Intelligence Unit (DIU) will be set up. The main function of DIU will be to coordinate with various LEAs, Financial Institutions and telecom service providers in investigating any fraudulent activity involving telecom resources.
At License Service Area level, Telecom Analytics for Fraud Management and Consumer Protection (TAFCOP) system will also be created.
The above system will strengthen the trust of people in the digital ecosystem and will make financial digital transactions primarily through mobile more secure and reliable, which will result in promotion of Digital India, the statement said.
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