In a bid to tighten security of all communications networks, the Cabinet Committee on Security on Wednesday announced the National Security Directive on Telecommunication Sector, which will mandate service providers to purchase equipment from trusted sources.
Law and Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the directive has been framed from the perspective of national security.
"Considering the need to ensure India's national security, the Cabinet has accorded approval for the National Security Directive on Telecommunication Sector," Prasad said.
Under the provisions of this directive, the government will declare a list of trusted sources and trusted products for installation in the country's telecom network.
"The methodology to designate trusted products will be devised by the designated authority, the National Cyber Security Coordinator. Telecom service providers are required to connect new devices that are designated trusted products," Prasad said.
"The list of the trusted source and product will be decided based on approval of a committee headed by the deputy national security advisor. The committee will consist of members from relevant departments, ministries and will also have two members from the industry and independent experts. The committee will be called the national security committee on telecom," Prasad said.
The government will also create a list of designated sources from whom no procurement can be done.
"The present directive does not envisage mandatory replacement of the existing equipment already inducted in the network of TSPs," the minister said.
He added that the directive will also not affect annual maintenance contracts or updates to existing equipment already inducted in the network as on date of effect of the directive.
The directive has provisions to qualify telecom gears made by domestic players in the trusted category.
"Those that meet the criteria of the Department of Telecommunications' preferential market access (PMA) scheme will be certified as India trusted sources. The National Security Committee on Telecom will take measures to increase use of equipment from such Indian trusted sources," Prasad said.
The PMA scheme gives weightage to telecom gears developed and manufactured by indigenous companies. The DoT will suitably notify guidelines and ensure monitoring of compliance by telecom service providers of the directive.
"The Department of Telecom will make appropriate modifications in the licence conditions for the implementations of the provisions of the directive. The policy will come in to operation after 180 days from the date of approval," Prasad said.
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