The Union Ministry of Telecom will soon set up Digital Intelligence Unit (DIU) as a nodal agency to tackle pesky calls, unsolicited commercial communication (UCC) such as fraudulent loan messages, and financial frauds, especially committed via digital payments, according to an official press release.
The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. Along with the DIUs, the central government will also set up Telecom Analytics for Fraud Management and Consumer Protection (TAFCOP) at all the 22 licence service area level, reported Indian Express.
"The main function of DIU will be to coordinate with various LEAs [law enforcement agencies], 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 system will also be created," the official press release read.
The UCC is a major problem not only for the telecom ministry but also for the TRAI. In November 2020, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had told the Delhi High Court that it had imposed fines up to ₹30 Crore on telecom companies such as government-controlled BSNL and on private companies such as Vodafone Idea and Jio for not controlling the menace of UCC.
The minister has also asked top officials to meet telecom operators and ask them to strictly follow the ministry directives on UCC.
In case of any violations by the companies, a financial penalty was proposed including disconnection of resources in case of repetitive violations. Additionally, a website and mobile application for grievance redressal will also be developed.
The increase in fraudulent digital transactions was also discussed in the meeting. In 2018-2019, the Reserve Bank of India had recorded digital financial frauds to the tune of Rs 220 crore. The ministry informed that in areas such as Jamtara and Mewat, that are infamous for running financial frauds centres, a special strategy will be taken up.