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Consumer groups oppose TRAI proposal to tighten regulations

Consumer groups have voiced concerns against a proposal by the telecom regulator to tighten regulations for registered consumer organisations in the telecom sector. TRAI has proposed that to register consumer groups at the national level, they should have at least three years of experience in representing consumer issues and worked in at least five States.

Consumer groups have written to TRAI, stating that these regulations will exclude many groups working in local areas.

“The requirement of three years of experience may seem like an artificial barrier, particularly in the field of technology, where many young organisations are making significant contributions and innovations that should ideally be recognised. It is advisable to reduce the requirement to one year and with the experience in one or more such activities,” said Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) in a submission to TRAI.

“Rule 5(2)(b) requires a consumer organisation to have the experience of working in at least five States or Union Territories to be eligible for registration at the national level. This stipulated requirement appears to be overly expansive, which may potentially result in the exclusion of many consumer organisations engaged in addressing consumer concerns across multiple States. Additionally, there exists ambiguity concerning the criteria for identifying these organisations, such as whether it hinges on the establishment of a physical office or engagement in specific projects in multiple States,” it added.

Consumer Care Society said a State body of a national-level consumer organisation is a retrograde step, and contrary to the very objectives that are listed by TRAI to bring this modification.

“TRAI should encourage more smaller and district-level consumer organisations if it wishes to achieve the objectives listed in the draft. As an example, Uttar Pradesh has 75 districts. State-level consumer organisations in such a big State is highly ineffective in reaching in a meaningful way the target groups that TRAI wishes to focus on,” it said. The Hindu BusinessLine

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