Current Affairs - 03 January 2018

1. President appoints Vinay Sahasrabuddhe as ICCR President

President Ram Nath Kovind has appointed Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe as President of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR). ICCR President

About the Indian Council for Cultural Relations:
What is it? ICCR is an autonomous organisation of the government of India, tasked with strengthening India’s external cultural relations through exchanges with other countries and their people. The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) was founded in 1950 by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, independent India’s first Education Minister.

Objectives:
Its objectives are to actively participate in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes pertaining to India’s external cultural relations; to foster and strengthen cultural relations and mutual understanding between India and other countries; to promote cultural exchanges with other countries and people; and to develop relations with nations.
Sources: The Hindu.


2. Trai issues interconnect rules

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has issued the Telecommunication Interconnection Regulations, 2018, that are effective from February 1. It lay down the ground rules for telcos to enter into initial interconnect pacts, provision points of interconnection (POIs) needed to complete calls, undertake augmentation of such points and the associated charges. It has termed interconnection the “lifeline of telecommunication services”.

New regulations:
1. Phone companies have to ink interconnect pacts on a non- discriminatory basis within 30 days of receiving a request from any licensed carrier. Also, a telco receiving an interconnection request has to offer a draft interconnect pact within five days to the requestor, who, in turn, can submit suggestions/objections in the next five days. Currently, there is no explicit timeline for inking of interconnect agreements.
2. Telcos flouting Trai’s interconnection regulations would “be liable to pay an amount, by way of financial disincentive”, capped at “Rs 1lakh per day per licensed service area. A telco seeking POIs will be liable to furnish a six-month bank guarantee from the date of initial interconnection for the total number of ports sought, if such a demand is made by the telco offering interconnection.
3. However, interconnection levies such as set-up charges and infrastructure charges “may be mutually negotiated” between service providers as long as they are “reasonable, transparent and non-discriminatory”. But Trai has mandated a detailed process for disconnection of POIs, directing a telco to initially issue a show cause notice of 15 working days citing reasons for the same.

About Trai:
What is it? It is the independent regulator of the telecommunications business in India. It was established in 1997 by an Act of Parliament to regulate telecom services and tariffs in India.
What was it for? The TDSAT was set up to resolve any dispute between a licencor and a licensee, between two or more service providers, between a service provider and a group of consumers. In addition, any direction, TRAI orders or decisions can be challenged by appealing to TDSAT.

Disputes settlement: In January 2000, TRAI act was amended to establish the Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) to take over the adjudicatory functions of the TRAI.
Source: The Hindu

Tags : Current Affairs | 02 Jan '18 | 04 Jan '18