GS paper 2
Syllabus: Parliament-Structure, functioning and conduct of business, achievements of India in Science and technology etc
Directions: Important for mains, remember the provisions, it can be asked directly in mains
- The Ministry of Communications released a draft of the Indian Telecommunication Bill, 2022 for public comments.
The three main legislations that occupy this domain:
- Indian Telegraph Act, 1885
- Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933
- Telegraph Wires (Unlawful) Possession Act, 1950
What is the draft Indian Telecommunication Bill, 2022?
- Update the extant regulatory framework: The draft is to update the extant regulatory framework in keeping with the advancements and challenges in the sector.
- Repeal legislations: It looks to repeal three legislations and “restructure the legal and regulatory framework” for the telecommunications sector.
- Enabling the government to order suspension of internet power: It has been introduced through the draft Bill.
- Currently, suspension of internet services is ordered under the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency and Public Safety) Rules, 2017.
- Primary route for allocation of the spectrum is auction: when spectrum is to be allocated for certain functions of the government such as defense or transportation.
- TSP to exploit its spectrum resource fully: By enabling sharing, trading, leasing, surrendering or returning unutilised spectrum.
- Simplifies: The Bill also simplifies the process for restructuring, merging or demerging.
- Land owned by a public entity: It mandates that land owned by a public entity should be available expeditiously unless there is an express ground of refusal.
- Universal Service Obligation Fund: It allows this fund to be utilized for other purposes such as urban areas connectivity, research etc.
Over-the-top (OTT) communication services:
- It refers to services that provide real time person-to-person telecommunication services.
- Some popular examples include:
- Messaging platforms like Whatsapp, Telegram, Signal, Messenger, Duo, Google Meet etc.
How does the draft affect over-the-top communication services?
- Telecom Service Providers (TSPs): They provide network infrastructure to OTT’s.
- They allege it will cut their sources of revenue (voice calls, SMS) as they will not have to deal with infrastructure and licensing costs that they have to undertake.
- OTT telecommunication services may be subject to the same licensing conditions as TSPs: The current draft of the Bill expands the definition of “telecommunication services” to include OTT communication services.
Consumer protection measures in the draft Bill:
- The identity of the person communicating through telecommunication services: It shall be available to the user receiving such communication.
- The name of the person would also be displayed along with phone no.
- To ensure that a user provides correct details: Penalizes providing wrong identification details with a ₹50,000 fine and suspending the operation of the specific mobile number or barring the person from using the telecom service for a certain duration.
- Consent of subscribers: Commercial communications which are advertising and promotional in nature should be made only with the prior consent of a subscriber.
How does the draft Bill impact the position of the TRAI?
- Recommendatory body: Reducing it from a regulatory to a recommendatory body.
- No recommendations for licenses: The government would no longer be required to seek recommendations from the TRAI before issuing licenses.
- Requisition of information:It removes the power of the TRAI to requisition from the government information or documents that are necessary to make such recommendations.
- Reconsideration: Department of Telecommunications (DoT) will no longer be required to refer back to TRAI the recommendations for reconsideration.
Q. What is the CyberDome Project? Explain how it can be useful in controlling internet crimes in India.(UPSC 2019)