In a response to MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s question in Parliament, the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology today committed to review the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997 and revealed that the Government is presently “examining a comprehensive legislative proposal to review and harmonise the legal framework”. Throwing light upon the May 2016 Supreme Court order on Call Drops that struck down the TRAI’s One Rupee per dropped call penalty on errant Telcos, MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar made a pointed enquiry of the Government if it had taken note of the SC observations regarding TRAI’s powers and working, and the action the Government proposed to take to correct this.
The commitment by Government given in Parliament to review TRAI Act comes ahead of Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha first meeting with CEOs of mobile service providers on Monday, 25th July to discuss industry issues in general and call drops in particular.
(Govt response to Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s Question in Parliament on Call Drop: Document )
MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar has since early 2007 persistently called for the reform of the TRAI, stating consistently that a robust regulator was a pre-requisite for the orderly growth of the sector, and for the Digital India vision to be realized.
MP to submit Petition to Rajya Sabha Committee
Rajeev will be submitting a petition to the Rajya Sabha committee on petitions early next week, calling for the following amendments to the TRAI Act, keeping in mind the need to protect the consumer rights of Digital Indians: Download PDF
- Empowering TRAI such that it may regulate and effectively enforce consumer rights;
- Mandating a greater degree of accountability to Parliament; JOU
- Enhancing TRAI’s capacity and capability by providing unfettered access to talent and human resources from both, the government and private sector; and
- Ensuring TRAI’s financial autonomy and independence by allocating a share in the Union Budget linked to the percentage of revenue generated from the telecom sector.
Consumers Groups support Petition
Support for the The petition has received the support and endorsement of Consumer Rights NGOs including CUTS International, the Chair for Consumer Law And Practice at National Law School of India University, CREAT India and CREATE India. This comes as a major win for the Indian telecom sector, as the TRAI Act has not be materially amended in the last 20 years, and as issues such as Call Drops, Internet Speed and Net Neutrality remain unresolved due to questions of ambiguity regarding TRAI’s role and jurisdictional powers.