Government has asked Telecom service providers across India to not provide mobile connection for more than three months for foreign tourists visiting India. This is part of Government measures to restrain the misuse of SIM cards by foreigners visiting India.
Department of Telecom has asked service providers to issue SIM cards to foreigners visiting India only up on the submission of their passport copy with valid visa as a proof of issuance. There have been increasing reports of SIM cards being misused even after the departure of foreign nationals from the country.
Some of the major guidelines in effect for foreigners visiting India, prior to activating the SIM card include, signing of a form claiming the information certified in the form to be correct as per their knowledge. As an address proof, the foreigner will either have to submit the address proof of the tour operator in charge as a local reference or the address of stay in case they are unable to provide any local reference.
Foreigners will have to submit an application form named ‘Consumer Application Form’ and get it authorized before the SIM card activation is done. Other mandatory information to be entered in the form includes entry of SIM sale date and activation date which should be authorized with a signature during the time of filing CAF.
These latest developments are considered to be a follow up to the directions issued by the Apex court which expressed serious concerns regarding the misuse of SIM cards. As part of that, a joint committee was set up by DoT. Indian security agencies have been for a long time expressing concerns over the failure of telecom service providers in providing mobile connection details especially for the pre-paid cards.
According to fresh guidelines from Union Home Ministry of India, “Any mobile connection issued to a foreigner should not have validity beyond the validity of the visa. The validity of connection should not exceed three months even if the validity of the visa is beyond three months.”