Telecom operators may have to collectively shell out fines amounting to Rs 6,000 crore for failing to verify their customers. This come
s as the government on Monday announced that it would impose a fine of Rs 1,000 for every unverified subscriber.

“It has been decided to impose penalty of Rs 1,000 per unverified/improperly verified subscriber on the defaulting service providers,’ communication and IT minister informed Parliament on Monday.

At Rs 1,000 per customer, the total penalty amount for the sector totals Rs 6,000 crore. Mr Raja, however, did not specify additional details such as when these fines would be imposed and whether the government would give additional time for all operators to report 100% compliance with regard to customer verification. ET first reported that the government would soon impose fines of Rs 1,000 per unverified subscriber in its edition on August 28.

The minister also added that audits by the department of telecom (DoT) had proved that only about 80% of India’s 300 million mobile users have been verified by their service providers. This implies there may be about 60 million unverified telecom customers in India.

This may be viewed as serious lapse by the service providers particularly considering the recent spate of terrorist activities in the country.