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Telecom panel gives nod for Internet, calls in-flight

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New Delhi, May 1: Commuters will be able to make calls and surf the internet in their aircraft flying over Indian airspace in the upcoming three to four months, a senior official at the Department of Telecommunications said on Tuesday.

“Almost all recommendations by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on this have been accepted. We are expediting the process (to start) and within 3-4 months it should be ready. We will be operationalising this decision immediately”, news agency IANS quoted Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan as saying.

She said there were only two exception to TRAI’s recommendations. The sector regulator said that foreign satellites and foreign gateways should also be permitted, “but there had been an earlier committee of secretaries meeting that decided that it should be an Indian satelllite or a Department of Space approved satellite and the gateway should be in India.”

“We have to create a separate category of licencee, called In-Flight Connectivity Provider. This will also be applicable for ships. Re 1 will be the token licence fee. It is applicable above 3,000 metres”.

Sundararajan also said that the matter need not go to the Cabinet for approval.

In addition, keeping in view that grievance redressal in the telecom sector, which has been a long pending demand, the panel approved the proposal of forming a Telecom Ombudsman.

“We get 10 million grievances per quarter. A three tier mechanism has been proposed. First will be within the telecom service providers the first level of complaints can be lodged. Then if the consumer is not satisfied with the response, each TSP will set up an appelalte mechanism within itself to which the person can complaint. After that if it does not work they can move to consumer grievance redressal forums,” Sundararajan said.

“On top will be a Telecom Ombudsman cretaed by TRAI. The TRAI has said they do not have the powers to create, therefore, it has now been proposed to give them powers to create an ombudsman mechanism. The idea is they can have one ombudsman per TSP, or one ombudsman per region or as many ombudsman as they feel are necessary. This will bring in much better and more satisfactory grievance redressal into the telecom sector. This will be done in priority basis. It will require amendment of TRAI Act,” she added.

Among other important decisions, the panel also approved the decision on internet telephony. “It will be operationalising it immediately. We expect that this will give a fillip to voie telephony through the data networks,” the telecom secretary said.

It also approved 12 major recommendations of TRAI on ease of doing business.

She said proliferation of broadband through public Wi-Fi network, has also been accepted.

“Except that we have asked TRAI to work out an operational framework and all the members of the Telecom Commission felt that this is an extremely important recommendation because it will give a big fillip to the growth of public Wi-Fi hotspots in India and will create a new category of service providers through the public data office aggregators (PDOA),” Sundararajan said.

“The PDOs will be a significant job creation opportunity because right now we do not have many Wi-Fi hotspots and the idea is to proliferate this in a very large scale. So this was seen as a huge catalyst in that direction. We will be working with TRAI to operationalise it with immediate effect,” she added.

The panel also approved two items related to Universal Service Obligation Fund and eight state detailed project reports on BharatNet project were approved.

“The setting up of the Ombudsman for the Telecom sector is a great milestone but how it will be implemented is a big challenge considering 100 crores plus users. The approval for Ease of Doing Business too reflect the DoT’s strong resolve the revolutionize and streamline the Telecommunication services in India. However data pricing through Wi-fi is likely to reduce tariffs but the good news that the Wi-fi will be chargeable can be very good opportunity to increase revenues,” said Hemant Joshi, Partner Deloitte India.

IANS

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NDA govt created history in MSP hikes: Modi

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Facing protests by farmers on the three agriculture-related Bills passed by Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday asserted that the NDA government had created history with regard to increase in MSPs of crops.

Addressing a party function held to commemorate Bharatiya Jana Sangh chief Deendayal Upadhyaya’s birth anniversary, he again defended the proposed legislations and said that small farmers would benefit the most.

“Small and marginal farmers, who constitute 86 per cent of those involved in agriculture, will benefit the most from agricultural reforms and the new laws,” Modi added.

The Prime Minister exhorted BJP workers to take the message of agriculture reforms and its benefits to the Indian farmers.

He also attacked the opposition parties, adding that only empty slogans were given by previous governments in the name of farmers till now.

AS for labour reforms, he said: “Only 30 per cent workers were so far covered under the minimum wages guarantee scheme, but now it will be extended to all workers in the unorganised sector. New laws will ensure timely salary to over 50 crore workers.”

The Prime Minister said that the welfare schemes initiated by his government drew inspiration from Upadhyaya, while praising BJP workers for serving people during the coronavirus lockdown.

Amid opposition protests, Parliament has passed The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, apart from three Bills related to labour.

Source: IANS

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BharatBandh: BJP’s farm bills remind one of East India Company’s reign, says Priyanka Gandhi

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Supporting the nationwide Bharat Bandh called by farmers’ organisation on Friday to protest against the farm bills, Congress general secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh, Priyanka Gandhi hit out at the BJP-led NDA government, saying that the bills remind one of East India Company’s reign.

“MSP will be snatched and farmers will be enslaved by the billionaires. They will neither get price nor honour. Farmers will become labourers in their own fields,” she said in a Twitter post. “We will not let this injustice (with farmers) happen,” she added.

In another post, she said that the passage of farm bills has changed the meaning of MSP from ‘Minimum Support Price’ to ‘Maximum Support in Profit’ for capitalists. “Where will the farmer go,” she added.

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Congress backs Bharat Bandh, Rahul Gandhi says new agriculture laws will ‘enslave’ farmers

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Voicing support for the Bharat Bandh call given by farmer organisations to protest the farm bills, the Congress on Friday alleged that the new agriculture laws will “enslave” farmers and the MSP will be “snatched away” from them.

Various farmer groups have called for a nationwide shutdown on Friday against the three bills, which were passed by both houses of Parliament during the Monsoon session and await presidential assent.

Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Randeep Surjewala spoke out against the farm bills and backed the Bharat Bandh.

“A flawed GST destroyed MSMEs. The new agriculture laws will enslave our farmers,” former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi tweeted with the hashtag ‘I Support Bharat Bandh’.

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