The draft Telecommunications Bill of 2023, introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday, authorises the government to take over, manage or suspend any or all telecommunication services or networks in the interest of national security.
The Telecommunications Bill, 2023 is intended to replace the Indian Telegraph Act, a law that has been regulating the telecom sector for the past 138 years.
In August, the Telecom bill received clearance from the Cabinet.
The proposed Telecommunications Bill, unveiled in 2023, aimed to include over-the-top or internet-based call and messaging applications within the scope of telecommunications, with the goal of improving user safety.
The proposed legislation also aimed to limit the authority of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), a move that had elicited concerns from industry stakeholders.
Government officials have confirmed that the problems concerning over-the-top players and Trai were settled prior to receiving approval from the Cabinet.
The draft proposal had proposed to ease certain regulations, such as the reimbursement of fees for licenses and registrations, should a company decide to relinquish its permit.
The proposed legislation proposes to grant the government the authority to waive off entry fees, licensing fee, penalties, and so on, with the aim of protecting consumers, promoting market competition, ensuring the availability or continuity of telecommunication networks, and safeguarding national security.
Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.
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