It’s been more than a decade that sectoral regulator Trai
has been seeking penal powers but the despite fact that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has, in the past, prepared two draft notes for the Cabinet regarding the matter, the telecom
watchdog is still waiting to be empowered.
Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) first time sought penal powers in 2007, when Nripendra Misra
was the Chariman. At that time, the regulator had sent a comprehensive proposal for amendment of the Trai
Act and thereafter, several correspondences were made with DoT
seeking such provisions in the Act, which would allow it to regulate the sector in a much better way.
However, it isn't that DoT
is not willing to amend the Trai
Act. In fact, the department had prepared two draft notes for the Cabinet for the same but somehow, the amendments have not been made so far. Changing the Trai
Act needs Parliament approval and it’s a complex process.
chairman R S Sharma again wrote to DoT
in June 2016 to make suitable amendments in the Act incorporating provisions for protection of interests of consumers and conferring penal powers to it. It’s been nearly two years and DoT
secretary has held several meetings with Trai
officers but no final decision has been taken in this regard. DoT, however, maintains that it is actively considering the proposal.