TRAI may get more teeth; likely to be on par with SEBI

The telecom ministry is looking to give more powers to TRAI, which will bring it on par with the civil courts or market regulatory body like SEBI by amending the TRAI Act, 1997

New Delhi: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) may soon get powers to summon persons and penalise operators for violating licence conditions, if the amended Act, which has proposed to give more teeth to the regulator, comes into effect, reports PTI.

The telecom ministry is looking to give more powers to TRAI, which will bring it on par with the civil courts or market regulatory body like the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) by amending the TRAI Act, 1997.

"The provision is aimed at conferring powers of a civil court on TRAI so that the authority can summon persons and examine them on oath, production of documents and also calls for expert assistance in conducting inquiries," according to an internal note of the telecom ministry.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) has sought comments from the regulator and different wings of the ministry by 20th May this year.

"TRAI should also have the power to impose suitable monetary penalty on the licensee for non-compliance of terms and conditions of license," the note said.

The proposed amendment is in line with the draft regulatory reform bill prepared by the Planning Commission.

The letter also added that the proposed amendment would provide the statutory framework empowering TRAI to deal with the problem of telemarketing calls in an effective manner.

DoT, however, is silent on several other demands raised by TRAI.

It said it would seek an internal consensus on TRAI's long-pending demand for more powers to resolve connectivity disputes between mobile phone companies.

It has also not cleared TRAI's request for powers to penalise operators for non-compliance of terms and conditions of their licence.

Last year, TRAI had recommended to the DoT to cancel 69 telecom licences of five operators, including joint ventures of Telenor-Unitech, Etisalat-Swan and Sistema-Shyam, for their failure to rollout services and for delayed launch of mobile service.

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