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Regulate in Haste Repent at Leisure

Getting Regulation Right Blog Aspect
Dr Archana Gulati
Published Sep 11, 2013
Updated Sep 03, 2023
There are many stories in Indian newspapers at present wherein one can read about the Telecommunications Regulator’s recent recommendation in favour of  a considerable reduction in reserve price of spectrum and those relating to permitting spectrum trading. As expected, some are and for and others against these recommendations. Also see “Cheers for old telcos, worries for new” and “Pragmatic way forward.” Either way, in my view, what is important is that all regulation must be based on sound economic analysis placing consumer interests above all. The latter includes a healthy, viable and competitive telecom sector.
This brings to notice the recent controversy over TRAI’s 12 minute cap on  advertisements in its role as a broadcasting regulator. The decision is at present subjudice with TDSAT (Telecom Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal) . Now the Ministry of I & B is said to be collecting data on potential revenue losses as a result of this measure. It would be much better if this exercise (and such groundwork in general ) was done before the regulator recommends and the government accepts its recommendations. 
An extract from a news item is placed below which is quite self explanatory:
In May, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had said commercial advertising limits for TV channels should be capped at 10 minutes. A two-minute-an-hour cap was allowed on ads promoting the channels or their shows, putting the overall ad cap at 12 minutes an hour. Meanwhile, I&B Minister Manish Tewari said a solution should be found through consensus.
There is a need for both the regulator and the stakeholder to work out a road map regarding the ad cap. There cannot be a regulator if there is no stakeholder and the stakeholders have said they would suffer a loss if the rule comes into effect, while the regulator is doing what they have to,” said Tewari.
I think we need to take regulation much much more seriously in this country as much of our recent economic woes have been identified as arising from inadequate regulatory capacities and fairly clumsy regulation with serious negative repercussions.
Another article which is worth reading on this subject is “Regulators Must Promote Not Strangulate Industry”  in today’s Times of India. It speaks about the above issues and correctly highlights the need to improve regulation in all sectors in India. 
Please see my previous posts on this subject under Telecom Regulation.