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Government Releases Draft of Indian Telecommunication Bill 2022

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The government released the draft Indian Telecommunication Bill, 2022, consisting a provision to waive off fees and penalty of telecom and internet service providers.

The proposed provision claims to refund fees for telecom or internet providers who surrender their license.

In a social media post, Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, shared the link of the draft bill saying, “Seeking your views on the draft Indian Telecom Bill 2022”.

The draft Bill has been put up for public consultation and stakeholders can send their comment till October 20.

The last date for public comment on the draft is October 20.

According to the draft , the central government may, "waive in part or full any fee, including entry fees, license fees, registrations fees or any other fees or charges, interest, additional charges or penalty" for any licence holder or registered entity under the telecom rules.

"any message or class of messages, to or from any person or class of persons, or relating to any particular subject, brought for transmission by, or transmitted or received by any telecommunication services or telecommunication network, shall not be transmitted, or shall be intercepted or detained or disclosed" to the authorized officer, according to the draft bill

The bill proposes to exempt "press messages that are intended to be published in India" of correspondents accredited to the central or state government from interception.

The draft has also enlarged the definition of telecommunication services, bringing over-the-top (OTT) services such as WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram, satellite-based communication services, Internet and broadband services, in-flight and maritime connectivity services, etc., under the ambit of the proposed law. The draft document states that in case of insolvency, spectrum assigned to an entity shall revert to government control.

However, the exemption is said to be not granted for any public emergency or in the interest of the public safety, sovereignty, integrity or security of India, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, or to prevent incitement to an offence, according to the draft.

In such cases "any message or class of messages, to or from any person or class of persons, or relating to any particular subject, brought for transmission by, or transmitted or received by any telecommunication services or telecommunication network, shall not be transmitted, or shall be intercepted or detained or disclosed" to the authorized officer, according to the draft bill.

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