The Telecom Ministry is set to roll out a Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR), a database of International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) to help people track their stolen mobile phones. People can inform the Department of Telecom (DoT) on losing their phones, which will, in turn, blacklist their IMEI numbers.
DoT had declared its plan to implement this project in July 2017 and a pilot was conducted in Maharashtra. According to TRAI data, there are 1.16 billion wireless subscribers in India as of March 2019. In the interim budget for 2019-20, the government allocated Rs 15 crore to the DoT for the CEIR project. IMEI is a 15-digit number that uniquely identifies each mobile device.
In line with global practices, DoT’s identity register will be a database of IMEI numbers that will consist of three lists – white, grey and black. Mobile phones with IMEI numbers in the white list will be permitted for use, while those in the blacklist will be the ones that are reported stolen or lost and will not be allowed to access the network. Devices with IMEI numbers in the greylist will be the ones that do not conform to standards but will be permitted to connect under supervision.