Column : DoTs treatise

Written by JAYA JUMRANI | Jaya Jumrani | Updated: Jun 27 2009, 02:12am hrs
A steadily increasing number of Indians are embracing the mobile phone as an integral part of their lives. An estimated 400 million people already use mobile phones and that number is growing every month courtesy reasonably cheap connections. The government ought to be mighty pleased with the revolution in communications ushered in by the mobile phone. Yet, it seems that the apparent indiscriminate use of mobile phones has left the government frowning. In a direct expression of their displeasure on the lack of etiquette displayed by users of mobile phones, the government (through DoT) has issued a curious direction to all operators to distribute a pamphlet on what the government defines as appropriate mobile etiquette to all subscribers.

Some of the instructions in DoTs diary are plain common sense: mobile phones should be switched off or in silent mode in public places-why after all should a movie show or a theatre performance be disrupted by an annoying ringtone. People should not be photographed without their consent-that seems like a decent thing to do, but try and enforce that on the conductors of sting operations Some of the directions are already encased in law and rules, and dont need DoTs recently acquired wisdom: since you are liable to a fine if you use a mobile phone while driving, DoTs additional instruction serves little purpose. Consider also that mobile phones are largely restricted in schools (by rules) not just in India but also in schools in the US, Canada and Europe.Some of the directions are plain nonsensical and unenforceable: How can DoT mandate the volume at which a user must engage in conversation on the phone. Is the government planning to regulate the volume of all manner of conversation next

One can only feel sympathetic to the mobile service providers who now have to fulfil the duty (at some monteray cost) of making the relevant literature (in English and regional languages) on mobile etiquette available to all customers buying a new mobile handset or SIM. One seriously wonders though how many people will actually bother to read DoTs pamphlet, unless they enjoy amusing bureaucratise.

jaya.jumrani@expressindia.com