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Deliberations on draft telecom bill being conducted: Ashwini Vaishnaw

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The deliberations around the dilution of powers of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) under the draft telecom bill are being conducted by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). According to a report in the Economic Times (ET), said that changes can be made to the bill.


Vaishnaw further said that the government will only introduce “light-touch regulations” on over-the-top (OTT) communication services like WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram. The regulations will be put in place keeping cyber fraud in mind.


“We are speaking with all stakeholders, including opposition members of Parliament,” Vaishnaw told ET. “We have consistently maintained that OTT communication players would come under the light-touch regulations.”


Currently, OTT-based calls that lead to cyber fraud escape punishment as they are anonymous.


“And once we have a new Telecommunications Act in place, we will also come up with licensing reforms,” he said.


“The industry has shared its inputs on the draft Indian Telecommunication Bill 2022. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s concerns are being addressed,” he added.


According to experts, several provisions under Section 11 (1) of the Act that ensures checks and balances have been deleted in the draft. It renders more of a “recommendatory” body than a regulatory body, ET added.


The draft bill will replace the India Telegraph Act, of 1885, the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, of 1933, and the Telegraph Wires Act, of 1950. It may get implemented by mid-2024.

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