Sandeep Joshi

TRAI to set up a "National Do Not Call" Registry

  • Violating telemarketing firms to be charged higher tariff of between Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 for every call
  • Phone connections of such firms to be disconnected if such calls continue

    NEW DELHI: In a step that could provide major relief to a large number of telephone subscribers across the country from unsolicited telemarketing calls, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday proposed setting up of a "National Do Not Call" (NDNC) Registry.

    To avoid such calls on behalf of various banks, insurance companies, mobile operators and other service providers, telephone subscribers will be required to register their phone numbers in the NDNC Registry a national database containing telephone numbers of the subscribers opting not to receive "unsolicited commercial communication" (UCC).

    Under the proposed regulation, all telecom service providers will have to set up a mechanism to receive requests from subscribers who do not want to receive UCC.

    The service providers will maintain a "Private Do Not Call List," which will include telephone numbers and other details of such subscribers.

    The telephone numbers and the area code from the "Private Do Not Call List" will be updated online by the operators to the NDNC Registry. Telemarketers will also have to register in the Registry.

    As a deterrent

    To deter telemarketing companies from making frequent calls, TRAI has also proposed special tariff that will be higher than normal. The special tariff is likely to be between Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 for a call.

    On receipt of a complaint, the service provider will be empowered to charge higher tariff from the guilty telemarketer. And if a telemarketer violates the regulation for a third time, service providers will be empowered to disconnect the telephone connection.

    The proposed regulation will become effective only after the Ministry of Communications and IT and Reserve Bank of India clear some of the specific provisions.

    RBI has already issued guidelines to banks on the "do not call" registry.