New Delhi, 20 December (HS): The Indian Telecom Bill 2023 received unanimous approval from the Parliament, with the Rajya Sabha passing the reform-focused legislation through a voice vote. Following its clearance in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, the comprehensive bill now replaces outdated acts such as the Indian Telegraph Act of 1885, the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act of 1933, and the Telegraph Wire (Unlawful Possession) Act of 1950.
Telecom Minister Ashwani Vaishnav asserted that the bill marks a transformative phase for the telecom sector, emphasizing its consumer-centric approach, streamlined licensing processes, enhanced cybersecurity measures, and a focus on research and innovation. The legislation introduces stringent penalties for mobile fraud, simplifies licensing procedures, and incorporates a digital-design-based four-layer dispute resolution system.
Vaishnav highlighted the bill’s provisions for a Digital India Fund, technology development, and regulatory-based experimental licensing. Notably, the bill abolishes the colonial-era Indian Telegraph Act of 1885, aligning with the present needs and aspirations of India’s evolving economy.
Impact on MSMEs and Businesses: The approval of the Indian Telecom Bill 2023 heralds a new era for businesses operating in the telecom sector. The consumer-centric approach and emphasis on digital infrastructure expansion could create opportunities for MSMEs involved in telecommunications, offering potential collaborations and partnerships. The streamlined licensing process and regulatory innovations may lead to increased participation by small businesses, fostering a more competitive and dynamic telecom landscape. The structural reforms aim to bolster the economy by providing impetus to the communication sector, with ripple effects expected to benefit businesses, especially those engaged in technology and telecom services.