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Lok Sabha Passes Telecommunications Bill 2023

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New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Wednesday, passed a bill through a voice vote, aiming to revise and streamline regulations concerning the growth, extension, and functioning of telecommunication services and networks. The legislation also involves modifications to specific sections of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act (TRAI), 1997, and addresses the allocation of spectrum.

Earlier on December 13, The Telecommunications Bill, 2023, was introduced by Communications, Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.

The new bill seeks to repeal the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933, and the Telegraph Wires (Unlawful Possession) Act, 1950.According to the statement of objects and reasons of the bill, there is a need to create a legal and regulatory framework that focuses on a safe and secure telecommunication network that provides for digitally inclusive growth.

Speaking on the Bill on Wednesday, Vaishnaw said user protection is a key reform in this Bill.

Among others, he said this amendment will help in checking fraudulent issuance of SIM cards. Any violation or impersonation will entail three years of imprisonment along with fine.

The Bill provides for the authorization of licencing through a single window.

The telecommunications sector is a key driver of economic and social development and is the gateway to digital services and the security of the country is vitally dependent on safety of telecommunication networks.

Telecom being the gateway, the Bill will further enhance India’s digital public infrastructure, Vaishnaw added.

The current legal framework is governed by three laws enacted in 1885, 1933 and 1950.

The bill provides a framework for standards and conformity assessment of telecommunication equipment, telecommunication identifiers, telecommunication network and telecommunication services and provisions for national security, public emergency and public safety.

The bill, which seeks to repeal two British-era laws, was passed soon after the House passed the bills to replace pre-Independence criminal justice laws.

Lok Sabha passed the three bills to replace the Indian Penal Code of 1860, Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) of 1973 and Indian Evidence Act, of 1872.The Bharatiya Nyaya (Second) Sanhita 2023, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita 2023, and Bharatiya Sakshya (Second) Bill 2023 will replace the IPC, CrPC and the Evidence Act respectively.

Replying to the debate on the three criminal law bills, Home Minister Amit Shah said that these are in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution.

Amit Shah said he is feeling a sense of pride for having the opportunity to change the criminal justice laws after a span of 150 years and pilot the bills in the House.

(With ANI Inputs)

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