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Delhi HC asks TRAI if compensation is the only solution for call drops

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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) whether its order making it mandatory for cellular operators to compensate subscribers for call drops was the “only solution” to reduce call drops.

A division bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath asked if the sector regulator if it had considered all the objections raised by the telecom operators before passing the October 16 order.

The objection of the service provider does not reflect on the measures taken. Where is the application of mind? Was it the only solution?” the bench asked as it heard the plea of telecom operators for a stay on TRAI’s compensation policy for call drops, under which a rupee will be credited to the mobile users’ account for every call drop (restricted to three per day) starting January 1, 2016.

Earlier, TRAI had told the court that it will not take coercive steps against telecom companies for not complying with the call drop compensation norms till January 6.

On Thursday, the court did not pass any interim order saying if service providers begin compensating consumers for call drops as, per the new TRAI regulations, it won’t be possible to recover them if the rule was set aside in future.

Additional Solicitor General PS Narasimha, appearing for TRAI, said the order was taken after consumers began getting regular call drops. He said the telecom companies have not made enough investment on technology and infrastructure which could prevent call drops.

In the first quarter of 2015, about 25,787 crore outgoing call were made, out of which in 200 crore cases of call drops were encountered by consumers. This is 0.77 percent of all call made, Narasimha told the court adding that service provider made about Rs.36,781 crore during the period.

He further clarified that call drop compensation is applicable only when it has occurred from the call originator’s network.

We treated the compensation as a nominal penalty so that they fall in line. That’s why we kept it at only three calls. But consumers are asking to be compensated for all call drops,

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the telecom operators, argued that under the Quality of Service regulations, two percent of call drops are exempted. He also said that most cases of call drops were not because of the fault of the service providers as they have been facing difficulties in setting up new towers due to opposition from various fronts.(IANS)(Picture Courtesy: www.topnews.in)

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Will enquire into Facebook demanding users’ Aadhaar details: Minister

The Minister said that he will inquire about the claims and very soon the government will bring data protection law.

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Facebook has over 217 million monthly active users in India and 212 million of them are active on smartphones. Pixabay
Facebook has over 217 million monthly active users in India and 212 million of them are active on smartphones. Pixabay
Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday said he will “get the entire facts” about social networking site Facebook reportedly demanding new users’ Aadhaar and revert to Parliament.
“I have also seen the news (about Facebook) in media. They have also given a reply that it was not mandatory. But I will get the entire facts on record before I revert to you,” Prasad told the Rajya Sabha in response to a supplementary question on cybersecurity and data protection.
The Minister also said that the government is going to bring very soon a data protection law.
It was reported a few days back that new users trying to sign up for Facebook were asked to enter their name “as per Aadhaar” records.
However, Facebook has already clarified that it was “not collecting” the Aadhaar data and was just running a “small test” to weed out fake accounts.
“There have been a number of reports about a small test we ran in India to help new users sign up for Facebook. Some have interpreted this test as a request for people’s Aadhaar information when you sign up for a Facebook account. This is not correct,” Facebook said in a blog post on Wednesday.
The government will be soon be introducing Data Protection law. Source: Aadhar Card Kendra
The government will be soon be introducing Data Protection law. Source: Aadhar Card Kendra
 “The test, which has now finished, merely includes additional language on the account sign-up page to explain that using their Aadhaar name will help family and friends recognise them.
“We are not collecting Aadhaar data and do not require people to enter their Aadhaar name when they sign up to Facebook,” it added.
Earlier, Prasad said that the government has no plans to make internet availability a fundamental right but the government is “committed to providing internet connectivity to its citizens”.
“As per a report from TRAI, as on June 2017, India has over 431.21 million internet users and with several million new internet users joining every month.
“This has resulted in more and more Indians coming online and using the internet, giving them the freedom to experience and use the internet in every aspect of their lives,” Prasad said in the reply.
“Our ‘Digital India’ programme envisions transforming India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.
“The pillars of Digital India programme namely Broadband Highways, Universal Access to Mobile Connectivity and Public Internet Access Programme address the issue of Internet availability in the country,” he added. IANS