TRAI comes out with recommendations to curb unwarranted calls by telemarketers

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended punitive measures and the setting up of a national "Do Not Call" master telephone list to curb unwarranted calls by telemarketers. In its proposal to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), TRAI has proposed seting up the National Do Not Call (NDNC) Registry, which will be a countrywide database of telephone numbers of subscribers who have opted not to receive unsolicited commercial calls (UCC).

Once the rules are finalized, TRAI has mandated telecom service providers to set up a mechanism - call centres or online procedures - to receive requests from the subscribers who do not want to receive such calls a statement issued by TRAI said.
It has also approached DoT to authorise the National Informatics Centre (NIC) to undertake the task of designing, installing, operation and maintenance of the NDNC Registry, the expenditure of which will be borne by TRAI itself.

To make the deterrence stronger, the regulator has suggested that violators be made to pay anywhere between Rs 500 and Rs 1000 (12-24 dollars) for every call they make, with more than three such calls resulting in disconnection of phones used by telemarketers.
The clearance from the communications and IT ministry and the Reserve Bank of India will be required for implementing the plan. TRAI's measures come after the Supreme Court, acting on a public interest litigation filed with it in 2006, had banned spam calls and asked the government to form a roadmap to control and curb unsolicited calls by telemarketers.
The court had termed unsolicited calls as an invasion of privacy and had directed the government to safeguard consumer interests.

TRAI's measures are likely to put a large number of domestic business process outsourcing companies, hired by companies to sell credit cards or home loans over the telephone, out of business. Many countries, such as the US and Australia, already have similar legislation to bar telemarketers from calling mobile subscribers.

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