GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
Ministry of Communication and Information Technology
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO 1660
TO BE ANSWERED ON 11.03.2016
Specific legislation to protect Net Neutrality
1660. Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar
Will the Minister of COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY be pleased to state:-
(a) whether the Ministry recognizes the need for a specific legislation to protect Net Neutrality in the country with a view to ensure a free, fair and open internet of consumers and fair competition on the internet;
(b) whether Government acknowledges that the TRAI Act needs to be reviewed and strengthened in order to ensure that it is able to effectively regulate and penalize violations of Net Neutrality; and
(c) if so, the steps taken or proposed to be taken by the Government in this regard and if not, the reasons therefor?
THE MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
(SHRI RAVI SHANKAR PRASAD)
(a) Government is committed to core principles of Net Neutrality in non-discriminatory access through appropriate policy framework.
(b) & (c) Under Section 11(2) of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Act 1997, as amended in TRAI (Amendment) Act 2000, TRAI is mandated to notify rates at which telecommunication services are provided. Accordingly, TRAI has recently released its regulation “Prohibition of discriminatory tariffs for data services, Regulations, 2016”, an important aspect of Net Neutrality, on 8th Feb, 2016 which, inter alia, prohibits any service provider from offering or charging discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content and specifies financial disincentive for contravention of the regulation.
Government policy on Net Neutrality shall be finalized after taking into account recommendations of committee constituted by Department of Telecommunications and recommendations of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and other inputs to the Government. TRAI recommendations on the issue are awaited, whereupon the Government will take a final view.