Inter-ministerial panel of Telecom Commission today approved a new penalty scheme, which has five slabs ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 50 crore, for violation of norms by mobile operators.
Sources in the Department of Telecom (DoT) said the Telecom Commission, however, deferred a decision on full mobile number portability (MNP), which will allow users relocating to any part of the country to retain their numbers.
“MNP has been deferred to the next meeting of Telecom Commission,” the source said.
Under the new scheme of penalization, fines start with warning that invite a penalty of Rs 1 lakh, minor violation of norms Rs 1 crore, moderate Rs 5 crore, major Rs 20 crore and severe Rs 50 crore.
Sources said the decision will be forwarded to Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal for his approval. If required, it will also be sent to the Election Commission for securing its approval.
The new scheme is likely to bring in some relief to telecom operators, who rue that at present the maximum penalty of Rs 50 crore is imposed even for minor mistakes.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in April 2012 had recommended classifying penalty in two categories- minor and major. TRAI had suggested imposition of a maximum penalty of up to Rs 25 lakh in case of minor violation and up to Rs 10 crore for a major violation.
The issue of full MNP may be required to be sent back to TRAI for additional information and some clarifications, sources said.
At present, MNP is allowed within a telecom service area, which normally corresponds to a state or metro city.