New Delhi– The Consumer Affairs Ministry on Thursday sought public comments until July 21 on draft guidelines to curb unsolicited and unwanted business communications like promotional calls and text messages.

The guidelines — prepared after consultations with stakeholders, including telecom firms and regulators — define “business communication” as any communication related to goods or services like promotional and service messages but excludes personal communication.

They will apply to all individuals and entities that make or engage others for such communications or benefit from them, the ministry said in a statement.

The draft guidelines classify any business communication as unsolicited and unwanted if it does not comply with the recipient’s consent or registered preferences.

Other conditions that would make a communication unauthorised include using unregistered numbers or SMS headers, calling despite recipients opting out, failing to obtain digital consent, not identifying the caller and purpose, and lacking an opt-out option.

The proposals also bar such communications that violate the telecom regulator Telecom Regulations Authority of India (Trai) rules on commercial messages based on customer preferences.

While Trai’s 2018 rules have been effective for registered telemarketers, communications from unregistered marketers using private 10-digit numbers remain unabated, the ministry said.

“Do Not Disturb (DND) registry has been highly effective for registered telemarketers, but the unwarranted communication from unregistered telemarketers and those using 10-digit private numbers remain unabated,” the ministry said.

The government is “committed to safeguarding consumer interests and consumer rights, especially in the increasingly expanding and penetrative consumer space”.

The draft guidelines aim to protect consumers from invasive and unauthorised marketing, the ministry added.   (PTI)


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