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Government imposes penalty on Airtel for violating subscriber verification norms in Punjab

New Delhi: The Department of Telecom has imposed a penalty on Bharti Airtel for violating subscriber verification norms, the company informed the exchange in a filing on Tuesday.

The company stated that it received a notice from the telecom department of Punjab LSA (Licensed Service Areas) on May 27 for violations of subscriber verification norms under the Licensee Agreement, following a sample CAF (Customer Application Form) audit conducted by the department for March 2024.

The department has imposed a penalty of Rs 1,79,000 on the telecom operator for these violations.

"The maximum financial impact is to the extent of the penalty levied," said Bharti Airtel.

Earlier, on April 19, the Department of Telecom Punjab LSA also imposed a penalty of Rs 1,56,000 for the same violation.

Before that, in March, the Department of Telecom (DoT) imposed a penalty of around Rs 4 lakh on Bharti Airtel for violating subscriber verification norms. The penalties were imposed in the Delhi and Bihar circles.

According to a regulatory filing with the National Stock Exchange (NSE) by Bharti Airtel, the Department of Telecommunications' Delhi circle issued a notice imposing a penalty of Rs 2.55 lakh for "alleged violation of subscriber verification norms under the Licence Agreement, pursuant to Sample CAF Audit conducted by DoT for January 2023," the filing said.

The Bihar circle issued a notice imposing a Rs 1.46 lakh fine for "alleged violation of subscriber verification norms," Bharti Airtel stated in a separate filing.

For the Bihar circle, the notice was issued "pursuant to Sample CAF Audit conducted by DoT for January 2024," the filing said.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in India has set guidelines and processes for verifying the identity of telecom subscribers. In June 2007, the DoT issued guidelines regarding subscriber verification to be followed by Telecom Enforcement Resource and Monitoring (TERM) Cells.

These norms are crucial for maintaining accurate customer records and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.

As per the guidelines, the telecom operators must implement KYC processes to verify the identity of subscribers during the on- boarding process.

The DoT periodically conducts sample Customer Application Form (CAF) audits to assess compliance with subscriber verification norms. 

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