The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is considering whether the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) can have the power to penalise telecom players for violation of licence conditions. Currently, this power is vested in DoT.
In a recent meeting, DoT had decided to legally examine whether a few existing DoT functions could be passed on to TRAI through amendments under a new Act.
Some powers proposed by TRAI fall under the domain of DoT, such as the imposition of a penalty for violating licence conditions. However, functions like ensuring quality of service are in Trai's domain, and it has sought the power to impose penalties to perform this task effectively.
Under the proposed amendments to the TRAI Act, put in place in 1997, the regulator has sought more powers to effectively exercise existing regulatory powers. It has also said some of its recommendatory functions be converted into regulatory powers.
DoT also feels a new chairperson for TRAI should be appointed soon, and it would be appropriate to seek comments for the proposed amendments. Current chairman J S Sarma is scheduled to retire on May 15, and the government has started the process for selecting a new one.