A majority of mobile phone users receive unwanted or annoying calls and text messages even after registering their numbers in the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) national “Do Not Call” register, according to a May 17 investigation report. Localcircles platform, 95% of people who took part in the survey said that they received annoying calls and texts (short message services) despite having registered their numbers in the “Do Not Call” register, also known as a Do Not Disturb (DND) list.

The survey, which was conducted in 377 districts between March 10 and May 10 this year among 37,000 respondents, found that 64 percent of mobile phone users receive three or more unwanted calls on average per day. “Many people face problems with unwanted calls being directed to them by scammers, spammers and telemarketers despite being on TRAI’s Do Not Call registry,” he said.

The next question asked whether citizens, having subscribed to the DND list, receive unwanted, annoying, commercial or promotional telephone calls on their cell phones. In response, the majority of 95% of Indians said, “Yes, always get them”, and only 5% said, “No, don’t get them”, the report said.

When contacted, a senior TRAI official said the regulator had introduced blockchain-based technology to combat the threat of pesky calls, but the challenge remains to control unregistered telemarketers.

Last year, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) proposed to make the standards stricter by reducing the slabs to impose a penalty at Rs 1,000 per violation for 0 to 10 violations, Rs 5,000 each for 10 to 50 violations and Rs 10,000 each for more than 50 fines. The slabs under the Customer Preference for Commercial Communications in Telecommunications Regulations 2018 are 0-100, 100-1000 and 1000+ violations.

According to the survey, 51% of the 9,252 respondents who answered the question said they receive calls related to the “sale of financial services” and 29% receive such calls for the “sale of real estate”. When asked about how people handle unwanted, annoying or promotional phone calls on their mobile, 14% said they use an app that tells them the caller ID and don’t take those calls . Another 14% said, “I generally only take calls from numbers in my phone book.”

“Only 2% of citizens said they answered calls and spoke to most of them, while 7% said they did nothing. call,” the report said.

(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)