The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has cautioned banks, including major ones such as Axis, Citi, HDFC, ICICI, Kotak Mahindra, PNB and SBI, and financial institutions against use of unregistered telemarketers for promoting their business in violation of regulations.
TRAI has put these banks on 7-days notice to abide by the provisions of `The Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference (Thirteenth Amendment) Regulations, 2010'.
TRAI said that despite actions taken, it continues to receive large number of complaints from consumers against banks, insurance companies, builders etc for making calls / SMSes organised through unregistered telemarketers.
TRAI said that such acts by these banks and companies are in violation of telemarketing regulations and that the regulations provide for disconnection of all the telecom resources of the entity / organisation on receipt of the thirdcomplaint in case complaints continue to come in.
TRAI has directed these banks and FIs to look into the specific cases of breach, initiate corrective action and report back to it within a period of seven days, failing which the banks are liable to have all their telecom resources disconnected throughout the country.
The telecom sector regulator also on Monday released a consultation paper on providing rural households access to banking services using the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) mode, to help financial inclusion.
Significantly large regions and populations are still unbanked / under-banked in the country, with only 54.4 per cent of rural households having access to banking services, as per 2011 census data, TRAI pointed out.
From the standpoint of equity, it is essential that financial services are provided at an affordable cost to those who are presently excluded from the formal financial system, TRAI said in another release.
USSD appears to be one of the most promising modes for mobile banking for financial inclusion, TRAI said, adding that it has issued a consultation paper with a view to identifying and addressing the various issues related to USSD-based mobile banking for financial inclusion.
TRAI has sought written comments on the issues raised in the consultation paper from the stakeholders by 4 October 2013 and counter-comments by 11 October 2013.