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Updated December 21st, 2023 at 16:25 IST

Parliament greenlights Telecom Bill, to replace 1885 Telegraph law

The Telecommunications Bill, 2023, was approved by the Rajya Sabha through a voice vote.

Business Desk
New Telecom Bill introduced in Lok Sabha today
New Telecom Bill introduced in Lok Sabha today | Image:ANI
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The Parliament on Thursday passed the Telecommunications Bill, 2023 in the Winter session of the Parliament.

The Telecommunications Bill, 2023, was approved by the Rajya Sabha through a voice vote. It was passed by the Lok Sabha on Wednesday after a short debate, owing to the suspension of almost 50 opposition leaders from the Parliament.

The bill has been hailed as a “watershed” movement for the telecom industry by corporate leaders and regulatory body heads.

According to news agency PTI, the bill seeks to allow the government to temporarily take control of telecom services in the interest of national security, and provide a non-auction route for the allocation of satellite spectrum.

A clause also suggests powers with the Centre to take possession of a telecom network in case of any public emergency or in the interest of public safety, and framework for halting transmission and intercepting messages in a public emergency, in the interest of people.

Union Minister for Communications Ashwini Vaishnaw said the Bill keeps the aspirations of the new India in mind and replaces two colonial-era laws, namely the Indian Telegraph Act of 1885 and the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act 1933.

“In the last nine-and-half-years, India's telecom sector has emerged from a very difficult period marred by scams to become a sunrise sector,” the minister asserted.

The number of telecom towers has increased to 25 lakh at present from just 6 lakh in 2014 and the number of internet broadband users has increased to 85 crore today from just 1.5 crore before, the minister said in a reply to the debate.

India made the fastest rollout of 5G technology in the world with the maximum equipment made in India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, he added.

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Published December 21st, 2023 at 16:24 IST

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