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Business News/ Politics / Telecom Bill empowers Centre to take over mobile networks, safeguard accredited journos from interception: 7 points
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Telecom Bill empowers Centre to take over mobile networks, safeguard accredited journos from interception: 7 points

The Telecommunications Bill, 2023, aims to make amendments and consolidate the laws relating to development, expansion and operation of telecommunication services and telecommunication network. Here are seven highlights from the Telecommunications Bill

The Bill allows the Central government to take over any telecommunication service or network in the interest of public safetyPremium
The Bill allows the Central government to take over any telecommunication service or network in the interest of public safety

The Central government is empowered to temporarily take over or suspend any mobile network of an authorised entity for 'public safety' in case of an emergency, the proposed draft of the Telecommunications Bill, 2023, which aims to replace the 138-year-old Indian Telegraph Act, states.

The draft Telecommunications Bill, 2023 was introduced in the Lok Sabha today, December 18, by Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw amid the protests by the Opposition members who demanded a statement from Home Minister Amit Shah on the security breach of Parliament last week.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS BILL: WHAT THE BILL PROPOSES | 7 POINTS

1. The new bill seeks to repeal the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933 and the Telegraph Wires (Unlawful Possession) Act, 1950.

Also Read | New telecom bill set to approve administrative allocation for satellite broadband services

2. The Telecommunications Bill, 2023, aims to make amendments and consolidate the laws relating to development, expansion and operation of telecommunication services and telecommunication network; the assignment and efficient utilization of spectrum; and development of new technologies.

3. The Bill allows the Central government to take over any telecommunication service or network in the interest of public safety.

“On the occurrence of any public emergency, including disaster management, or in the interest of public safety, the Central Government or a State Government or any officer specially authorised in this behalf by the Central Government or a State Government, if satisfied that it is necessary or expedient so to do, by notification- (a) take temporary possession of any telecommunication service or telecommunication network from an authorised entity; or (b) provide for appropriate mechanism to ensure that messages of a user or group of users authorised for response and recovery during public emergency are routed on priority."

4. To enhance the user safety, the Telecommunications Bill aims to bring over-the-top or the internet based calling and messaging apps under the definition of telecommunications.

5. The Bill proposes that the messages of the accredited journalists/correspondents will not be "intercepted" unless their transmission id prohibited.

"The press messages, intended to be published in India, of correspondents accredited to the Central Government or a State Government shall not be intercepted or detained, unless their transmission has been prohibited under clause (a) of sub-section (2)."

6. The draft Telecommunications Bill allows the Central government to intercept any messages between the individuals. The Centre can "direct that any message or class of messages, to or from any person or class of persons, to or from any telecommunication equipment or class of telecommunication equipment, or relating to any particular subject, brought for transmission by, or transmitted or received by any telecommunication service or telecommunication network, shall not be transmitted, or shall be intercepted or detained, or shall be disclosed in intelligible format to the officer mentioned in such order."

7. The Bill aims to limit the power of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)

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Published: 18 Dec 2023, 05:26 PM IST
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