Telecom watchdog disconnects over 10,000 telemarketers


New Delhi : India’s telecom watchdog has disconnected over 10,000 telephone connections of telemarketers for violating the ‘National Do Not Call Registry’ (NDNC) regulations.

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NDNC is a database of telephone numbers of subscribers who do not want to receive unsolicited commercial calls and it was operationalised Oct 12, 2007.

“So far, 10,151 telephones of the telemarketers have been disconnected on account of repeated violation of the regulation on the subject,” the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) said in a statement.

Out of these, 8,602 disconnections are of those telemarketers who are not registered with the Department of Telecom (DoT), the statement added.

Around 19,163 telemarketers are registered with the DoT.

Trai said 8,543 telemarketers were fined Rs.500, while 2,801 were fined Rs.1,000 for violation of NDNC rules.

Trai has been under criticism from all quarters over the NDNC being ineffective.

While Trai has admitted that even the 18 million registered subscribers continue to get telemarketing calls, it claims that there has been a significant reduction in the number of such calls.

“At present, efforts are being made by Trai and other stakeholders to achieve near zero-tolerance in handling the non-compliant telemarketers,” Trai said.

Trai said in the past six months various service providers received around 81,000 complaints — out of which more than 79,000 complaints have been addressed.

Considering that more than 18 million subscribers are registered, these complaints constitute about 0.44 percent of the total registered subscribers.

Trai has also issued preliminary show cause notices to various service providers for not taking action against errant telemarketers.

The NDNC was set up last year after consumers complained that they were getting unsolicited calls from marketing companies, which impinged on their privacy.

Significantly, 40 percent of the registered subscribers are in urban areas like Delhi and Mumbai and also in states like Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa.