New Delhi: The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is set to move a note to all relevant ministries asking for their views on giving the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) more powers than it has had since its inception in 1997.

The deadline for submission of opinions is likely to be 7 June after which DoT will likely move a note on the proposal to the cabinet by the first week of July.

DoT has been debating the move for a number of years as it would mean a significant decrease in the responsibilities for the agency that issues licences, a senior DoT official said on condition of anonymity.

“It is proposed that the functions related to enforcement of terms and conditions of licence, analysis of call and subscription data, monitoring of network parameters, managing interconnectivity issues and specifying standards of quality of service and monitoring service parameters should be discharged by Trai for which adequate staff and resources may be provided to Trai, after consultations with it," said an internal DoT memo reviewed by Mint.

“On the other hand, matters that have a bearing on national security, curbing illegal activities, inspection of premises from a security angle, technical arrangements for lawful interception, and disaster management may be performed by DoT through its agencies," it said.

The move to give prosecutorial powers to the telecom regulator would bring it at par with a number of other government sectoral regulators such as the Competition Commission of India, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority and the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority.

The plan to give Trai more teeth is also part of the National Telecom Policy 2012 and will also allow it to audit utilization of spectrum, a scarce natural resource that is at the core of most telecom disputes.

The government is pushing to get this done before the year ends. The note is expected to be forwarded to a number of ministries including important departments in the finance ministry, home ministry, law ministry and the information and broadcasting ministry.

Close