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TRAI paper on ombudsman for telecom sector

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Jan. 8

THE Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a Consultation Paper on `Establishment of the office of Ombudsman in the telecommunications sector' to enable it to make significant improvement in the orderly growth of the sector, taking into account the interests of both service providers as well as consumers.

According to an official statement, with the opening up of telecom sector to competition with licences for a number of services being granted, the sector has seen a tremendous growth in the recent past — both in terms of number of operators and subscriber base. Along with the growth, there are of course, problems for the stakeholders, including the consumers.

The TRAI Act does not explicitly fix the responsibility to redress consumer grievances. The Act, however, provides that the authority shall lay down standards of quality of service to be provided by the service providers, ensure quality and conduct a periodical survey of such service so as to protect the interest of consumers.

Though there is no system in place to redress individual consumer complaints (which are to be addressed by consumer courts/fora) or disputes between service providers and group of consumers (which are to be addressed by the Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal), the authority keeps on receiving complaints from the general public both pertaining to the problems of individuals as well as of generic nature.

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