Government may consider making TRAI stronger by providing the power to slap penalty: Telecom Minister

In an interaction to Times of India (TOI), telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has hinted that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) may give more power to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), especially in initiating penal action against mobile operators for deficient services.

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He also told TOI that companies “need to do more” to improve quality. Also, it believes that companies need to invest more. The Government focuses on better options to address the issue of call drops and is scrutinizing how it can held the mobile operators accountable for poor services. Charging penalty on mobile operators was earlier considered. “These may be considered, but I need to study the apex court’s judgment and also look at the Trai Act. We will look into all these issues,” Prasad said.

“The ultimate call on the future direction needs to be taken by TRAI as tariffs and quality of services fall under its domain. As far as the larger issue of service quality is concerned, it is very much the responsibility of telecom companies to provide good, satisfactory services,” Prasad said. “They have to identify gaps and reinforce their network through investments.”

In the interaction, the minister also pointed out several instances where it helped the companies to deliver better quality services. One action pointed out was the permission to trade and share spectrum. Also, he listed out the upcoming spectrum auctions where the government will offer a record 2,000 MHz of mobile airwaves.

“I want to emphasize that the government has cleared all the pending policy issues regarding the sector. Telecom companies now clearly need to do more. The government will insist upon the operators that they must fulfil their obligations towards consumers,” he said.

The minister also took the opportunity to say that ‘I am not only the telecom minister of the country, but equally the minister for consumer interest.’

He also reacted to the swipe taken by Kapil Sibal, the former telecom minister and the lawyer for mobile operators grouping, where he referred to Prasad as the ‘call drop minister’. Prasad said, “I do not want to comment specifically on what the counsel for the mobile operators said. Either he should become a big lawyer or talk like a leader. If he has commented as a lawyer, then it is unfortunate. If he wants to talk to me as a political leader, I am ready with a good reply for him. I too have lots of questions for him. He has been a minister of this department.”

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6 Comments on "Government may consider making TRAI stronger by providing the power to slap penalty: Telecom Minister"

 

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Madhavan
May 14, 2016 2:01 pm 2:01 PM
There is no use in publishing this article telecom team. In India No Government Body has the right and freedom to function independently and take their own decisions. The public money is only being wasted in the way of paying salaries to the employees and diplomats. If TRAI comes out with a rule, the Department of Telecommunication will pass a resolution against and finally it will move to supreme court. The Supreme Court will hear the hearings of the lawyers will come out with a different decision which may be un favourable to the government. Finally the time invested on… Read more »
S Gopal
May 18, 2016 2:59 pm 2:59 PM

There is a silver lining with bodies such as Election Commission of India, CAG of India, Information Commission of India, Reserve Bank of India who remain independent and take independent decisions which while strengthening India also do it without anatgonising policy makers and people’s representatives. Such conscience keepers do exist and keeps us from not being a banana republic and gives us hope that we too shall become one day become a land of prosperity, security and with justice for all.

Ujain
May 14, 2016 3:50 pm 3:50 PM

Hello Bro,
Pls note that even if a person is talking for good, all people may consider him as a cheap.
But really i wanted convey directly to you all that, He is a good person compared to others.
He want operators to perform better.
……Thanx…..

tri_vis
May 14, 2016 11:29 am 11:29 AM

The ZERO LOSS MINISTER of earlier Gov.

Colorado
May 14, 2016 10:44 am 10:44 AM

Haha, the last para is pretty interesting! Btw it will be great if TRAI gets some teeth. Then only will the operators do anything to improve services. It is similar to the FCC in the US. There are several cases of FCC ordering operators to pay fines & compensation fees to affected subscribers. Reasons include everything from call drops to massive false bills.

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