Implementation of biometric sim verification system delayed
LAHORE: Implementation of the biometric sim verification system has been delayed, as the government has failed to complete the first phase of the project on time, sources said.
According to the plan, government departments, including, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, Ministry of Information and Technology, National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) and the Ministry of Interior will complete the Standing Operating Procedure (SOPs) in the first phase other than agreement between Nadra and the cellular mobile operators (CMOs) for services, development and testing of IT applications and IT infrastructure interfacing requirements with the customer relationship management (CRMs) and Nadra database.
The government department had set October 6 as the deadline for completion of the Phase-I with the consultation of the CMOs. The government department pushed the CMOs to submit their plans; however, the government department has yet to finalise the SOPs of the biometric Sim verification system.
After completion of the SOPs, the government departments will initiate other agreed targets of the Phase-I, according to the plan, adding that delay in finalising the SOPs caused has delayed the entire process of the biometric Sim verification system.
Interestingly, no government department is ready to take the responsibility of delay in the process.
Khurram Mehran, a spokesperson for the PTA, said that the authority had completed the SOPs and sent it to the ministry of information technology for approval. He said the process was not delayed at the part of the PTA at all.
Ministry spokesperson Kamran Ali said that they had received the SOPs from the PTA and have sent it back to the PTA. The ministry had instructed the PTA to include the CMOs input in the SOPs before finalisation, as they are the major stakeholders.
Similarly, a spokesperson for Nadra said that they were ready for the implementation of the biometric Sim verification and nothing has delayed on their part.
They have also given their input in the SOPs of the biometric Sim verification system and now when the ministry and other departments’ concerned ask them to execute the process they will do it.
However, the CMO officials said that they did not receive anything from the PTA regarding SOPs.
They said they had already submitted their SOPs and other plans to the PTA for the implementation of the biometric Sim verification system. So far, the PTA has not sent anything else for their comments on the SOPs and other plans, they added.
According to the plan devised by the government in consultation with the CMOs and other stakeholders, the biometrics verification devices will be rolled out across Pakistan by August 31, 2014 and the necessary agreed ‘Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) funding from the Universal Support Fund (USF) through the Ministry of Information and Technology (MoIT) would be provided to the industry for the procurement of hardware equipment at 10,000 retail outlets across the industry spread across Pakistan.
The phase-wise plan has been prepared by the Joint Working Group (JWG) of all the stakeholders. The stakeholders, including the representatives of the cellular mobile operators (CMOs), Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Ministry of Interior and MoIT, Inelegance Bureau and the Federal Investigation Authority.
According to plan, in the Phase-I, which is consisted of three to four weeks till October 6, the government department was assigned to finalise of the Standing Operating Procedure (SoP) for the issuance of new SIM through new biometric verification.
Other targets are finalisation of agreement between Nadra and CMOs and development and testing of IT applications, interfacing requirements with the CRMs, Nadra database, etc.
The Phase–II consists of 10 weeks and will last till December 20. In the second phase, the biometric devices will be procured and rolled at all company-owned customer service centres and franchised outlets of all CMOs across the country.
Around 500 to 600 devices are required per CMO for the deployment of the same. Pakistan will need at least 50,000 hardware biometric equipment for SIMs verification.
The Phase-III consisted of eight weeks and will start from February 20, 2014. In this phase, the biometric verification devices will be rolled out in Karachi. Almost 15 percent to 18 percent of the total outlets across Pakistan are located only in Karachi.
In the Phase-IV, biometric verification devices will be rolled out in Balochistan. This phase will last for three weeks till March 15, 2014.
The last phase will consist of 24 weeks and lasted till August 31, 2014 in which biometrics verification devices will be rolled out in the rest of Pakistan.