TRAI chairman Nripendra Misra, wants the TRAI Act to be amended to arm the watchdog with more powers to impose fines on errant service providers.
In a letter to the DoT Secretary Dinesh Shankar Mathur, has pointed out that adverse court decisions have made it imperative to amend the law so that TRAI is enabled to deliver according to the objectives of the Act. The letter also mentions that as BSNL has consistently opposed many TRAI orders on interconnection-related issues, that amendment must ensure the enforcement of tariff orders and effective interconnection between service providers.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Act, passed in 1997 and amended in 2000, specifies its role and governs its functioning. As of now it has very weak penal provisions, which lack deterrence. For any breach, a criminal complaint has to be filed in a magistrate's court, and the legal procedure may take long years to complete. TRAI is now seeking to acquire teeth through key amendments to the Act.
The proposed changes will empower TRAI to ensure effective interconnection between networks and also impose fines on recalcitrant service providers. These include increasing the tenure of the chairperson and members from the present three years to five, power to enforce compliance of its directives in the form of penal provisions and to be the sole authority to determine and fix cable television (broadcast) tariffs.