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Department of Telecom plan pitches 'morality' on social media to Narendra Modi

Thursday, 22 May 2014 - 7:25am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

In a move that may come under flak, the Department of Telecom (DoT) has included the issue of "morality" on social media websites as part of its proposed action plan to the next Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"Focus on national security, public safety, morality, privacy and disaster management in the framework," said the power point presentation which was shown to the Cabinet secretary on Tuesday.

While the PPT did not clarify as to what "morality" actually stood for, a senior DoT official told dna on the basis of anonymity that it was on the lines of what the former telecom minister Kapil Sibal had suggested -- screening of the social media.

The minister had come under criticism from across the country, especially on microblogging sites, for his suggestion.

"There are many objectionable content on social media websites which do not go down well with common people. Morality largely has to do with that," the official said.

He, however, was aware of the sensitiveness of the matter as he said this was not the final presentation that will be send to the Modi government.

In order to bring more clarity in the policy framework, the DoT has also proposed doing away with the age old Acts such as the Telegraph Act of 1885 and instead coming up with a consolidated Communications Act.

The telecom department expects the Modi government to put in place Communications Bill to replace age old Acts such as the Indian Telegraph Act 1885, Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act 1933, TRAI Act, 1997 and partly, Cable TV Network (Regulation) Act, 1995, Information Technology Act, 2000.

It also suggested reduction of regulatory burden for rapid growth. Issues of national security and privacy too have become integral part of the presentation. Both of them remained burning issues of the UPA regime.

According to reports, the country is already working on a policy on telecom security which will define the fine line between a common man's right to privacy and the law enforcers' requirements.

The government is expected to focus on communications security to protect national interests, the DoT said in the presentation.

The other mandates of the DoT include promotion of indigenous R&D, IPR generation, entrepreneurship and manufacturing in national interest. It also points towards expansion of public communications facilities along border areas and implementation of dedicated communication network for defence forces.

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