The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has issued new guidelines allowing telecom operators to digitise customer application forms (CAFs).

As per the new guidelines, telecom service providers (TSPs) are permitted to store the digitally scanned coloured copies of the paper-based CAF documents. Further, digitally scanned copies of the CAF documents must be maintained for all the active customers, the DoT’s guidelines stated.

The move frees telcos from storing paper-based CAFs in warehouses and is expected to ease updation of subscribers’ data.

Additionally, paper CAF documents can be destroyed after digitisation unless directed otherwise by the licensor/law enforcement agencies/courts, the guidelines said. Moreover, the DoT has dispensed the current provision of storing paper CAF documents in warehouses of TSPs and the warehouse audit of paper CAF documents is not required.

Applauding the new directive issued by the DoT, Lt. General Dr. S.P. Kochhar, director general, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), said, “We applaud the new directive issued by the government on the digitisation of CAFs by TSPs. Our nation is moving forward into a digital era, and these guidelines form part of a landmark decision that will assist TSPs in maintaining and streamlining processes. It will result in the creation of an electronic database that will enable the ease of doing business, aid faster delivery of services and also eco-friendly initiative to have digital CAFs.”