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TRAI wants ombudsman for telecom sector

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MUMBAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended to the government that an office of ombudsman be established in the telecommunication sector, according to an official release.



TRAI had earlier brought out a 'consultation paper' on establishment of the office of ombudsman in the telecommunication sector, calling for comments from all stakeholders including individual consumers and consumer organisations on the subject. Open house discussions were also held to find out views of general public on the need and modalities of establishment of an ombudsman.



While it was generally agreed that consumers can take recourse to consumer courts for their grievances, a necessity was felt for having an industry internalised ombudsman for quick redressal of complaints without taking away the option of approaching consumer courts.



The Authority noted that establishment of an ombudsman would be a desirable development, especially because the prevailing structure needed supplementing to deal with the consumer complaints in the telecom sector. The Authority also noted that the telecom service providers were not in favour of funding an ombudsman for the telecom sector.



The Authority is of the view that the best recourse for establishing an ombudsman would be to make an amendment in the license for which the licensor has full power and authority.



Since the service providers are not very enthusiastic in providing the requisite facilities and financial assistance, the Authority is of the view that in order to establish and sustain the office of ombudsman, funds may be provided from the license fee collected annually from the telecom sector.



This way only a very negligible percentage of the revenue of the service providers (less than 0.01per cent) will be sufficient to meet the expenses and it would not put any undue burden on the service providers, TRAI said in its release.

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