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Trai doesn’t need penal powers to regulate telecom sector: Chairman


NEW DELHI :

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) feels it does not need additional or penal powers to regulate the telecom sector as the current set of regulations was adequate, said chairman PD Vaghela, even as a proposal seeking more powers remains pending with the government.

“I don’t think we need any extraordinary powers, it’s up to the government to decide whether more powers should be there. We have the powers to give recommendations and to regulate tariffs, which we have kept in forbearance,” Vaghela said on the sidelines of Trai’s silver jubilee celebrations on Tuesday.

The regulator’s proposal to the government to grant it powers to impose penalties on telcos, through legislative amendment, for failure to meet service standards has been lying with the government for years. The telecom department had even sought legal opinion on whether the regulator can function as a civil court or be put at par with the Securities and Exchange Board of India or the Competition Commission of India. However, the proposal has long been put on the backburner.

“Trai draws its powers from the Trai Act and the Trai Act is a well defined piece of legislation and many countries now want a similar legal structure,” minister of communications Ashwini Vaishnaw said at the celebrations.

The event was marked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi launching a 5G test bed and postal stamp to commemorate the occasion. The test bed can be used by anyone developing a radio network to check whether it fulfils the conditions and parameters set by the global 5G standards body.

“5G technology is also going to bring positive changes in the governance of the country, ease of living and ease of doing business. This will boost growth in every sector like agriculture, health, education, infrastructure and logistics. This will also increase convenience and create many employment opportunities. For rapid roll-out of 5G, efforts of both the government and industry are needed,” the prime minister said.

Modi said the telecom sector was a great example of self-reliance and healthy competition creating a multiplier effect in society and the economy. “Coming out of the despair, frustration, corruption and policy paralysis of the 2G era, the country has moved rapidly from 3G to 4G and now 5G and 6G.” He noted that 6G services can be expected by 2030. “In the coming decade, 5G will contribute $450 billion to the country’s economy, which means that not just high internet speed, the pace of progress and employment generation will also rise,” he said.

“By the end of the decade we will also be able to launch 6G services, our task force has already started work on this,” the prime minister added.

Speaking on the role of Trai, chairman Vaghela said that the government has created a task force on 6G for setting standards. Trai has put systems in place for reducing the number of spam calls or messages, but fraudsters have been a step ahead. “We’re constantly working to improve our systems,” he noted.



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