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Historic change: Replacing hundred-year-old colonial acts

The Central Government on July 4, 2024 issued a gazette notification to implement sections 6-8, 48 and 59(B) of the Telecommunication Act-2023 from today i.e. July 5, 2024.

The purpose of the Telecommunication Act-2023 is to amend and consolidate the law relating to the development, expansion and operation of telecommunication services and telecommunication networks, allocation of spectrum and matters connected therewith. Apart from this, the Telecommunication Act-2023 seeks to repeal the existing legislative framework such as the Indian Telegraph Act-1885 and the Indian Wireless Telegraph Act-1933 due to huge technological advancements in the telecommunication sector and technologies. Guided by the principles of inclusion, security, growth and acceleration, this Act aims to achieve the vision of a developed India.

The Parliament passed the Telecommunication Act-2023 in December 2023. Subsequently, it was approved by the President of India on 24 December 2023 and published in the official gazette on the same day. Sections 1, 2, 10-30, 42-44, 46, 47, 50-58, 61 and 62 of this Act have already been implemented from June 26, 2024 through Notification No. 2408 (E) dated June 21, 2024 in the Gazette of India.

The main features of the sections implemented from July 5, 2024 (today) are as follows:

Desired use of spectrum: The Act provides a legal framework for efficient use of scarce spectrum through processes such as secondary workload, sharing, trading, leasing and dedication of spectrum. It also makes the use of spectrum flexible, liberal and technically feasible in a neutral manner.

Prohibition on use of devices blocking telecommunications: The Act prohibits the use of any device blocking telecommunications with immediate effect, unless permitted by the Central Government.

Criteria for appointment of Chairperson and Members of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI): Section 59(B) of the Act will amend Section 4 of the TRAI Act, 1997 and prescribe criteria for appointment of Chairperson and Members of TRAI.

A major aspect covered in the latest notification is that the Central Government is focusing on increasing efficiency in spectrum utilisation and various ways to achieve this such as secondary workload, sharing/trading etc.

muskan s

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