State-run Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) may lose its exclusive rights to provide internet facilities to Members of Parliament following complaints regarding the quality of service.
Sources said a meeting of the house committe of Parliament last week discussed the possibility of engaging private internet service providers to supply high-speed broadband facilities to MPs since they had faced “acute difficulties” in filing and receiving official documents received by them from the Parliament secretariat.
This was also approved by Speaker Om Birla in a review of the situation in May when he said services by private operators be explored in order to facilitate online work by the MPs.
While MPs are allowed to use private mobile phone services, internet services as per MPs’ official quota are provided exclusively by MTNL.
Sources said the broadband services provided by the state-run telecom company have been slow and patchy at times, making it difficult for the MPs to carry out Parliament-related work.
MTNL, though, is learnt to have defended its services and informed the House Committee that it upgraded, on its own, MPs’ usage plans based on their usage patterns. It also informed the House Committee that MPs’ monthly data consumption limit was increased to 1500 GB, keeping in mind he need for increased data consumption during the lockdown period. The service provider, sources said, also asserted that it has undertaken several other infrastructure projects to equip Parliament and MPs’ flats.
A final decision in this regard, sources told TOI, will be subject to an in-principal decision by the House Committee and a subsequent ratification by the joint committee on salaries and allowances of MPs, since the decision will have financial implications and consequential amendments to the Housing and Telephone Facilities (Members of Parliament) Rules, 1956.
-Times of India