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New Delhi, Dec 19 – Amid Opposition uproar over last week’s Parliament security breach, Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Monday tabled the Telecommunications Bill, 2023 which seeks to amend and consolidate the law relating to development, expansion and operation of telecommunication services and telecommunication networks.

The Bill also deals with the assignment of spectrum.
The Bill allows the government to take over, manage or suspend any or all telecommunication services or networks in the interest of national security.

The statement of objects and reasons of the Bill stated, “Security of our country is vitally dependent on safety of telecommunication networks. Therefore, there is a need to create a legal and regulatory framework that focuses on safe and secure telecommunication network that provides for digitally inclusive growth.”

The Bill provides for a framework for authorisation of telecommunication services, telecommunication networks, and possession of radio equipment; assignment and efficient utilization of spectrum including provisions for harmonisation and re-farming; development of new technologies; and regulatory sandbox for innovation using spectrum.

Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), the representative body of nearly 600 internet firms, and start-ups has welcomed the Telecom Bill.
“IAMAI hails the Bill as progressive especially since internet companies have been decisively kept out of the ambit of the final version of the Bill,” it said.

The industry body noted that the Bill, as suggested by it, now excludes email, internet-based communication services, broadcasting services, machine to machine communication services and over-the-top (OTT) communication services.