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January 28, 2000
M S Verma to be new TRAI chief
Josy Joseph in New Delhi
Former State Bank of India chairman M S Verma is to become the new chief of the recast Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.
According to sources, the government has finalised the names of the new TRAI members, who are notified in the next couple of days.
Other than M S Verma, who will head the recast TRAI, there will be two other full-time members. One of them is the chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes Ravi Kant and TRAI member R R N Prasad.
Prasad, along with N Ramachandran, former MTNL chairman, have always stuck to the government line in decisions unlike TRAI Chairman Justice S S Sodhi.
Sources say the new TRAI will have two part-time members -- chief of National Informatics Centre N Seshagiri and Rakesh Mohan, chairman of the National Council for Applied Economics and Research.
The Union cabinet had last week issued an ordinance recasting the TRAI and dividing it into two. The cabinet decided on January 19 to create a new Telecom Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal. According to sources, the tribunal will also be reconstituted in a week.
Under the new ordinance, the TRAI can continue making recommendations in licensing issues, recommendations that will be binding on the government. But all telecom disputes are to be handled by the new appellate tribunal, which will consist of a chairman and two members.
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