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How govt’s trusted source bar for phone companies will work

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New Delhi, Dec 17: The crucial decision taken by the Union Cabinet will now ensure that phone companies in India can only use telecom equipment certified by a top security panel to have come from a trust source.

The certificate will be issued by a panel headed by Deputy National Security Advisor, Rajinder Khanna. Who heads the technologies section in the National Security Council. Khanna reports to National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval.

How govt’s trusted source bar for phone companies will work

The Centre on Wednesday said that it may blacklist certain telecom equipment vendors and also designate companies as India Trusted Source.

As a result of this, the telecom sector may soon have a list of companies from where the firms can buy services and products.

India Trusted Source: Centre likely to blacklist some telecom equipment vendorsIndia Trusted Source: Centre likely to blacklist some telecom equipment vendors

The decision was taken by the Cabinet Committee on Security to enhance security of telecom sector by designating a trusted source, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said. So there's a trusted source and there's a not trusted source," the minister also said.

However this directive does not require phone companies to replace their existing equipment. It will also not impact the ongoing annual maintenance contracts or updates to the existing equipment.

While this policy has been designed to secure Indian telecom infrastructure, it would however enable India to address concerns around equipment that is pitched by the Chinese companies. This move would secure the Indian telecom infrastructure against other risks too.

The National Cyber Security Coordinator, Lt. General (retd) Rajesh Pant will issue a list of telecom equipment that would be covered under the new directive. His office would then notify a a list of Trusted Sources and Products for the benefit of the telecom service providers once the same is cleared by Rajinder Khanna, the Deputy NSA.

The National Security Committee on Telecom which has been empowered to blacklist companies that will not be allowed to sell equipments to phone companies will have representatives from the government departments and two industry representatives.

Further a portal will be launched for uploading applications by the telecom service providers and equipment vendors.

What the government said.

Considering the need to ensure India's national security, the Cabinet has accorded approval for the National Security Directive on Telecommunication Sector.

Under the provisions of the Directive, in order to maintain the integrity of the supply chain security, Government will declare a list of 'Trusted Sources/ Trusted Products' for the benefit of the Telecom Service providers.

The list of equipment to be covered under this Directive and the methodology to designate 'Trusted Products' will be devised by the Designated Authority who is the National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC). Telecom Service Providers (TSP) are required to connect new devices which are designated 'Trusted Products".

The Designated Authority will make its determination based on approval of a committee headed by Deputy NSA. The committee will consist of members from relevant departments/Ministries and will also have two members from industry and an independent expert. The Committee will be called 'National Security Committee on Telecom (NSCT)

A list of 'Designated Sources' from whom no procurement can be done may also be created.

The present Directive does not envisage mandatory replacement of the existing equipment already inducted in the networks of the TSPs. The Directive will also not affect ongoing Annual Maintenance Contracts (AMC) or updates to existing equipment already inducted in the network as on date of effect of the Directive.

From among the sources declared as 'Trusted Source' by the Designated Authority, those which meet the criteria of Department of Telecom's Preferential Market Access Scheme will be certified as 'Indian Trusted Sources'. The National Security Committee on Telecom will take measures to increase use of equipment from such 'Indian Trusted Sources'.

Guidance for the manner in which the 'Enhanced Supervision' and 'Effective Control' could be maintained by TSPs will be issued by Designated Authority at regular intervals. The Department of Telecom will suitably modify its guidelines and ensure monitoring of compliance by Telecom Service Providers.

The Designated Authority will put in place a portal for easy upload of applications by TSPs and equipment vendors. It will improve ease of doing business through a providing a predictable assessment methodology to TSPs and equipment vendors.

The Department of Telecom will make appropriate modifications in the license conditions for the implementation of the provisions of the Directive.The policy will come into operation after 180 days from the date of approval.

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