Bring Call Drops Under Consumer Protection Act: Parliamentary Panel On Telecom

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The parliamentary panel's report points out that the current definition of 'call drop' is too technical.

New Delhi:  A recent report of the parliamentary panel on telecom has suggested that call drops should be brought under the purview of the Consumer Protection Act. If adopted, a telecom user will then be able to take service providers to a consumer court for poor service. As per the existing law, cases related to call drops are monitored by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). 

Reacting to the report, Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha on Tuesday claimed that the number of call drops in the recent months has fallen by 60 per cent. 

"Let me tell you that in the past few months, call drops have reduced by 60-65 per cent as nearly 2.5 lakh boosters have been installed," Mr Sinha said. The minister, however, added that the Telecom ministry would seriously "look into the recommendations."

The Parliamentary panel, chaired by BJP MP Anurag Thakur, stated that TRAI does not have enough powers that can act as a deterrent to erring service providers. This was also echoed by TRAI chief RS Sharma. 

"What the Honourable Parliamentary Committee has said is quite right," Mr Sharma said, without going into the details of the panel's report. 

The panel's report points out that the current definition of 'call drop' is too technical and suggested that call drops should be measured over a small area instead of the entire telecom circle of an operator.

Telecom companies, however, have objected to these recommendations and claimed that  call drops will substantially decrease if they can install more cellular towers in urban areas.

"These are international standards and not something we have devised only for India," said RS Matthew, secretary-general of the Cellular Operators Association of India. 
 

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