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Indian Govt to Pay Tariff to Telcos for SMS Alerts, Except Under Disaster Management Act

The charges are only applicable on SMSes while the Cell Broadcast Alerts that the government asks telcos to send will continue to be free.

The government will have to pay a tariff of Rs 0.02 (2 paise) for every SMS alert or message sent during disaster or non-disaster situations, provided that it has not issued such directions as per the Disaster Management Act, 2005, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (TRAI) latest order - The Telecommunication Tariff (Sixty Ninth Amendment) Order, 2022, issued on December 6, 2022. Please note that the charges are only applicable on SMSes. The Cell Broadcast Alerts that the government asks telcos to send will continue to be free. Here's the tariff table with the updated charges: [caption id="attachment_174001" align="aligncenter" width="681"] Source: TRAI[/caption] What does section 53 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 say? Section 53 of the Act elaborates on the punishment for "misappropriation of money or materials" which, in this case, would be the services provided by telcos. It states, "Whoever, being entrusted with any money or materials, or otherwise being, in custody of, or dominion over, any money or goods, meant for providing relief in any threatening disaster situation or disaster, misappropriates or appropriates for his own use or disposes of such money or materials or any part thereof or wilfully compels any other person so to do, shall on conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, and also with fine." Telcos want the government to pay:  In March 2021, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) requested TRAI to provide tariffs for SMS and Cell Broadcast Alerts/ messages disseminated…

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