WhatsApp, Zoom to be brought under telecom licence


The last date for seeking comments on the draft legislation is October 20…reports Asian Lite News

Toughening its stand against video communication and calling apps, the Centre has proposed to bring Meta-owned WhatsApp, Zoom, and Google Duo under the ambit of telecom licence, as written in the draft of the Indian Telecommunication Bill 2022.

The government has, however, proposed to give exemption to press messages that are intended to be published in India of correspondents accredited to the Central or state governments from being intercepted.

“For provision of Telecommunication Services and Telecommunication Networks, an entity shall have to obtain a license,” according to the draft.

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

In another significant clause, the draft bill, released late Wednesday, proposes to waive off fees and penalty of telecom and internet service providers.

The exemption for press messages, though, won’t be given in case of any public emergency or in the interest of public safety, sovereignty, integrity or security of India, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, or to prevent incitement to an offence, the draft read.

The draft bill was put up on social media by IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.

Public comments have been sought on it.

The last date for seeking comments on the draft legislation is October 20.

It also proposes refund of fees if an internet or telecom service provider offers to surrender the license.

The draft bill says that the Centre may “waive off in part or full any fee, including entry fees, license fees, registration fees or any other fees or charges, interest, additional charges or penalty” for any licence holder or registered entity under the telecom rules.

Meanwhile, Telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said that Wireless Planning and Coordination (WPC) reforms would make it easier for telecom companies to apply for permits from the government.

He also said these reforms would give impetus to taking the process online. Vaishnaw said the draft Bill aims at bringing down the duration for granting licensing to 28 days.

The minister also said the proposed legislation would reduce the Right of Way (RoW) approval permission down to 6-7 days. Vaishnaw, also the minister for railways, was speaking at 9th Annual Forum of Public Affairs Forum of India (PAFI).

He said on railway ministry, “The capex for railways saw a steep jump with Rs 1.93 lakh crore of investment last year initiated by the ministry with an eye to improve the consumer experience and seamless integration with nation-wide logistics.”

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