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Digital Communications Commission expected to be disbanded by PMO soon

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) will soon take a final call on whether to disband the Digital Communications Commission (DCC), officials at the department of telecommunications (DoT) said.

“The premise of the discussions remains the same. We have stated that the body leads to duplication of work. A decision on this is expected soon,” a DoT official said.

“While the proposal to disband the inter-ministerial body had been floated earlier as well, talks had not reached far.

This time, the issue has been discussed in detail and a proposal to this effect has been sent to the PMO, where it is being reviewed,” he added.

He stressed that the DoT expects a nod by the PMO soon.

Led by the DoT’s secretary as ex-officio chairman, the DCC comprises four full-time DoT members, as well as four part-time members. These are secretaries of the department of economic affairs, department of industrial policy & promotion and the ministry of electronics & information technology.

NITI Aayog chief executive officer (CEO) has been a member of the DCC since 2016.

“On many issues involving financial matters, and telecom infrastructure, other ministries are consulted in detail, as a rule. In such cases, the DCC only serves to act as a further approving body. There is no need for that,” another DoT official said.

Senior finance ministry officials also told Business Standard that there is duplication of work regarding approval of allocations and expenditure related to communications. Such decisions have to be approved by the DCC as well as the finance ministry’s expenditure department.

“The expenditure department handling all crucial budgeting decisions is rather incidental, given that it handles such decisions even while DCC is functioning. If the DCC is disbanded, such proposals will automatically come to the expenditure department,” the official said.

Case in point, the expenditure department’s in-principle approval is required for the DCC to clear any telecom project proposal worth more than Rs 100 crore.

Back in 2018, the erstwhile Telecom Commission was re-designated as the DCC, with its purview being increased to the digital sphere.

The DCC is responsible for formulating the policy of DoT for approval by the government. It also prepares the DoT’s budget for each financial year and gets it approved.

The DCC implements the government’s policy in all matters concerning telecommunication. Business Standard

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