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New norms on intrusive calls soon, TRAI may get more teeth

india Updated: Aug 11, 2010 23:18 IST
Manoj Gairola

The government plans to give more powers to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to fight the menace of unsolicited marketing calls. The regulator will also initiate the process of formulating new regulations on unwanted marketing calls on Thursday.

At present, if an operator violates rules governing unsolicited marketing calls, the TRAI has to file a case before the metropolitan magistrate to impose fine. The telecom regulator now wants powers to penalise operators in such cases. Such powers rest with the Securities and Exchange Board of India and the Competition Commission.

“We have sought more powers from the government. We need powers to impose penalty on operators who violate regulations on unsolicited marketing calls,” said J.S. Sarma, chairman, TRAI.

A cellphone user has to currently register with the National Do Not Call directory (NDNC) to avoid unsolicited calls or SMSs. However, in most cases, the customer keeps on receiving such calls and SMSs even after registering with the NDNC.

The bulk SMS software that allows sending large number of SMS also adds to the menace, since, generally, marketers abuse them.

The TRAI will consider this issue while reviewing the guidelines for unsolicited calls.

The process for review will begin on Thursday, with an open house discussion on the same.

The issue of converting the NDNC to do call (DC) directory will also be discussed.

DC could be based on segments such as housing, banking, automobiles, and education.

For example, if one registers with the DC in the housing segment, one will get housing-related calls.

The regulator also wants changes in the Indian Telegraph Act so that unsolicited marketing calls can be categorised under obnoxious calls.

This will allow criminal proceedings against those who violate the law.