After checking the use of SMS to prevent spreading of rumours which had led to mass exodus of northeasterners from certain states, the government on Thursday increased the number of SMS to 20 per day with immediate effect.
According to a notification issued by the Ministry of Communication, it has been decided to revise the permissible limit of “bulk SMS/MMS to 20 in place of five with immediate effect”.
“The other conditions will remain the same,” it added.
The decision to put a cap on the number of SMS was taken after reports of widespread circulation of SMS and MMS containing misleading information about Assam violence, threats to people of northeastern origin living in other parts of the country and doctored videos.
The Home Ministry has asked Department of Telecommunications to implement the order through telecom operators.
From Thursday onwards, mobile users in the country can send a maximum to 20 SMS in one go and more than 25 KB of data during the ban period.
The ban came into force after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that spreading of rumours by miscreants had led to people belonging to the north east fleeing from Bangalore, Pune and some other parts of the country.
Noting that the guilty should be brought to book, the Prime Minister had said that at stake was not just unity and integrity of the country, but also communal harmony.
“Any miscreant fanning rumours should be brought to book,” he said.