BJP’s Telecom Cell Launches Campaign Against Unsolicited SMS/Calls

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s newly formed ‘Telecom Consumer Cell’ has launched a campaign against the menace of unsolicited text SMSs and automated voice calls. Sanjay Bhalla, the national convener of the Cell submitted BJP’s memorandum of demands related to this issue to Dr JS Sarma, chairperson of TRAI. The memorandum demands the implementation of a system that makes it mandatory for telecom service providers and telemarketer to pay telecom users for unsolicited text SMSs and automated voice calls. In his meeting with Dr Sarma, Bhalla pointed out that in the TRAI policy guidelines document for UCC (No 305-17/2010-QoS, dated 1 December 2010), on the setting up and enforcement of rules for Access Providers and Telemarketers with respect to UCCs, clauses pertaining to the penalties merely specify that “. The penalty amounts shall be deducted from the security deposit of the telemarketer and deposited in the account as may be specified by TRAI, from time to time..” (Schedule 4, Clause 10). “Surprisingly there is no reference on compensating the telecom consumer for the inconvenience caused and the unsolicited use of the resource by the telemarketer. By law, the cell phone is the private property of the telecom user; therefore it is the consumer’s right to be paid for the usage of the private resource by a third party-in this case, the access provider/telemarketer,” says Bhalla. calls The BJP Telecom Consumer Cell has demanded that TRAI should issue a notification directing the access providers to directly credit the accounts of telecom users: Rs 5 for every unsolicited commercial communication marketing SMS and Rs 10 for every such marketing call. According to him, the system is technically feasible. “We have discussed this issue with several telecom providers and they do not see much difficulty in implementing this system. The proposed system not only benefits the average consumer but also the service providers and poor consumers. The number of unsolicited SMSs will drop, while those who do wish to receive SMS will get paid for it-the extra money could be used to making phone calls thus providing extra billings to the service provider,” says Bhalla.

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