Wednesday, April 13, 2011

National Telecom Policy 2011

Ministry of communication and information technology (MCIT) has been streamlining issues pertaining to information and communication technology (ICT). One such area of ICT that MCIT is urgently considering pertains to telecom sector.

Telecom sector of India has been ignored for a long by Indian government. Be it telecom policy, telecom security, mobile security, effective cyber laws, effective cyber security, etc, none of them have been given the importance they deserve.

Corruption related issues have also undermined the dignity and reputation of MCIT. Corruption related issues, including telecom scams, cannot be tackled effectively till we have a strong and effective Jan Lokpal Bill 2011. The same must be accompanies by effective and strong telecom laws. The National Spectrum Act of India has been suggested by Indian government for better management of scarce spectrum resources and other issues.

Further, Indian government is also in the process of formulating the National Telecom Policy 2011 (NTP-2011), which may be formulated by the end of this year. However, there are some other important issues that have skipped the attention of Indian government.

Issues like Consumer Friendly National Telecom policy of India, Telecom Security of India, establishment of Telecom Security Council of India, establishment of Telecom Security Regulatory Authority of India (TSRAI), etc must be considered by Indian Government in general and Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) in particular on a “priority basis”, suggests Praveen Dalal, managing partner of New Delhi based law firm Perry4Law and leading techno legal expert of India. Further, Telecom Security Policy of India must also be formulated as soon as possible as India has already taken more than enough time in this regard, suggests Dalal.

Issues pertaining to mobile security in India and mobile cyber security in India have not been addressed properly by Indian government. As more and more mobile connections would be taken in India, the chances of their abuse and cyber crimes against them would also increase. Till now there is no mobile security policy of India.

Cyber Law of India is weak and ineffective and it must be repealed as soon as possible, suggests Dalal. Cyber Law Policy of India and Cyber Crimes Policy of India must also be formulated, suggests Dalal. The proposed National Telecom Policy 2011 must be Techno Legal in nature, suggests Praveen Dalal. It must be legally effective and technologically sound. Presently, issues like Encryption, VOIP, Satellite Phones, etc are not properly addressed by MCIT, informs Dalal.

If MCIT wishes to have a sound and effective telecom policy, engaging as much stakeholders as possible is the need of the hour. Further, opinion and suggestion of techno legal experts must also be taken by MCIT. With Kapil Sibal at the helm of all affairs, positive developments can be expected.