Speaking to a set of private media groups, Ashwini Vaishnaw, the minister of Communications and Electronics & Information Technology in the Government of India, addressed TRAI’s concern regarding the dilution of its powers in the draft telecommunication bill 2022. Vaishnaw said that the issues with TRAI have been resolved after deliberate discussions with all stakeholders. The minister also clarified that the intention of the Government of India was never to weaken TRAI or dilute its power. He said that GoI wants TRAI to be much stronger and become a “benchmark in the world.”
TRAI, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, had earlier raised concerns about the draft telecommunication bill 2022 saying that clauses in the bill can dilute the power of the agency.
On the contrary, speaking of the TRAI act, the Vaishnaw has reportedly said, “TRAI needs more teeth, power to punish, power to enforce. It needs a strong technical, legal, and financial team. So, we will take a comprehensive look at the role and structure of the agency.”
When media personnel asked about the idea of regulating OTT as per the draft telecommunication bill, the telecommunication minister divulged that the bill has three constructs which include licensing, registration, and authorization. Any regulation of OTT communication or OTT apps for that matter would not happen without first holding consultation sessions with the industry stakeholders.
Upon asking what the minister sees to be the future of telecom trade, he said, “Modiji needs India to emerge as a world chief in telecom know-how. For that, we want trendy, globally benchmarked rules. In three-four years, we are going to see India emerge as a serious designer and producer of telecom gear. Our 5G tech stack would compete with the perfect on earth. India’s IP rights will likely be a part of the 6G requirements. Hundreds of startups will use the regulatory sandbox envisaged within the invoice to give you new options. Satellite communication providers ought to grow to be prevalent to attain far-flung rural areas. India could be designing and manufacturing chips used within the telecom sector.
On a separate note, the telecommunication minister talked about the 5G roll schedule at length. He said that the schedule of the 5G rollout was on the expected timelines. The target is to cover 200 cities by March next year and reach every district of the country by the end of next year.
The minister also touched on the topic of IT rules and reiterated that the primary aim of the rules is to protect users. Since it is quite obvious that platforms are either not investing enough on ensuring the protection of users or they are simply not able to do enough to have these online platforms under check, something has to be done to ensure the user grievances are addressed fairly. Every user has the right to appeal if they feel their appeal wasn’t heard or something of theirs was taken off the platform without any proper reason. The aim is to set some accountability and make sure that platforms feel responsible for harmful posts. At the end of the day, it is these online tech companies that have to take the responsibility for whatever is going live on their platforms.