Govt norms in 2 weeks

Our Bureau

New Delhi, March 6

Those at the receiving end of unsolicited telemarketing calls on their mobile phones are likely to get a breather.

The Government has told the Supreme Court today that it will come out with a detailed guideline on blocking unwanted calls from tele-marketers within the next two weeks.

A statement to this effect was given by the Additional Solicitor General, Mr Gopal Subramanian, before a Bench comprising Ms Justice Ruma Pal and Mr Justice Dalveer Bhandari.

While the move will bring cheer to mobile consumers, it could deal a blow to the huge domestic business process outsourcing companies and banks selling financial products such as credit cards and home loans over the telephone.

According to Nasscom, the domestic IT-enabled services (ITES) and BPO market is estimated at $600 million in 2005 of which 70 per cent comprises customer interaction services, including telemarketing services.

"This is a major victory for consumer groups who have been waiting for some policy from the Government for the last one year. The Government made this announcement in the apex court after it was pointed out that the `Do No Disturb' registry started by many cellular operators was not proving to be effective," said Dr Harsh Pathak, who had moved a public interest litigation against telemarketing.

The Government will meet the operators, banks and financial products companies, and ITES providers to formulate the guidelines.

The court had earlier sought a response from the Law and Justice Ministry, MTNL, cellular operators Hutch, Reliance Infocomm, Ideal Cellular, Bharti and multinational banks such as Citibank, HSBC, Standard Chartered, HDFC and ICICI.

"The appeal also sought to ban telephone companies from transferring the data of telephone subscribers to any other company for commercial purposes.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 7, 2006)
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