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Sandeep’s got the scoop on the Department of Telecommunications’ (DOT’s) latest move to curb those international call-fraud exchanges operating within India.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT, as we fondly call it) wants you to report every time you receive an international call that comes from a national number. Here’s the text message I received just now:
Dear Customer, if you receive an international call for which the Caller Line Identification (CLI or, more popularly, Caller ID) displayed is a local or national number, please inform at toll-free number 1 800 110 420 – DoT.
We definitely live in interesting times.
What’s the story behind such a message?
The DoT and the Indian security agencies are chiefly concerned with two situations:
- An international call for which the Caller ID is blank and
- An international call for which the Caller ID is a local or national number
In the first situation, the security agencies are worried about possible terrorist operations; the DoT is worried about International Long Distance (ILD) operators losing revenue in the form of Access Deficit Charges (ADC). Although the security agencies want such calls to be terminated upon entry, political and business implications have forced the DoT to act otherwise. It’s a toss between national security interests, political relations, and cash flows from business. The compromise has been to get the ILD operators in India to assign a two-digit carrier code followed by the country code from where the call is received. This way you can at least track the location of call origination. I am quite sure that the security agencies are not too happy with this compromise.
In the second situation, the security agencies are still worried (these calls cannot be monitored); the DoT is worried more. Here the incoming ILD calls are illegally routed through unauthorised exchanges inside the country. These calls cause revenue losses to the government as they bypass all levies that are charged on incoming ILD calls. The DoT therefore wants to root them out. And what better way to crackdown – there was one in Mumbai recently – on such illegal exchanges than to empower customers to provide timely information?
It’s a great move in my opinion, and one we, as responsible citizens of India, must use. Let me know if you have such an experience.
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