Ashwini Vaishnaw has put forward the Telecommunications Bill 2023 in the lower house of the parliament. The Lok Sabha resounded with slogans raised by parties of the opposition expressing disapproval.
The Union cabinet had earlier cleared the draft of the bill in August 2023 and released it in September.
Members of Parliament from the opposition created a ruckus when the bill was introduced on 18th December.
The deputy speaker of the Lok Sabha adjourned the house until 2 PM amid the noise created by the opposition.
What is the Telecommunications Bill 2023
The bill is very important as it gives the authority to stop telecommunication equipment from being misused to ensure the security of the nation. According to the proposal, the government can stop persons and countries from using telecommunication devices if they pose a threat to India’s security.
The bill has a provision for acquiring telecommunication equipment from trusted sources also. In addition, advertisers need to get the consent of customers to deliver messages related to business promotions or advertisements.
The Telecommunications Bill also proposes to control online telecommunication services. All broadcasters will come under the regulation of the telecommunication department of Govt of India once the bill is passed in the parliament.
New Laws for Telecom Companies in the Telecommunications Bill 2023
The bill includes some provisions regarding licences needed by telecom companies and providers. It has some laws for the setup of telecommunication infrastructure and the granting of spectrum. The proposed law safeguards customers from spam messages.
The telecommunication bill allows the centre to make laws for the cyber security of telecommunication services. The government will have the power to gather generated and transmitted traffic data and analyse and disseminate it.
According to the new bill, the OTT apps and providers will not be considered under telecommunication services. It also excludes messaging apps Telegram and WhatsApp from the control of the law.
Telecommunications Bill 2023 to Replace Old Laws
The bill makes changes in the current law that is currently governed by the TRAI Act, of 1997. At present, the law under the TRAI or Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997 is enforced on the broadcasters. But after the new telecommunications bill is passed, there will be significant changes in it.
Currently, the telecom industry follows the rules and regulations of the Indian Telegraph Act. This is a 138-year-old colonial-era law of 1885. The Telecommunication Bill introduced in the Lok Sabha is going to replace this act now. The bill will also replace the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, of 1933 and The Telegraph Wire (Unlawful Possession) Act, of 1950.