The Minister of State for Communications Sanjay Dhotre last week told the Rajya Sabha that the Ministry would consider doing away with the pre-call COVID-19 caller tune at an appropriate time. The Minister said that TRAI had received few complaints around the caller-tune but stated that TRAI had termed the pre-call announcement in public interest.
The response came in a reply to a question whether the messages were wasting 1.3 crore man-days apart from bandwidth in a day and resulting in holding up of distress calls going through. The Minister told the Rajya Sabha that the pre-caller tune was critical in reaching important messages timely across the length and breadth of the country.
The messages included information promoting health seeking behavior and considered indispensable in the fight against COVID-19. The idea of leveraging pre-caller tunes for maximum outreach was done keeping in larger public interest.
“The outbreak of COVID-19 in December 2019 took the world by surprise. The people across the country had to be reached out immediately with messages of Do’s and Don’ts to enable breaking the chain of transmission. The idea of leveraging pre-caller tunes for maximum outreach at the shortest possible time was conceived at the time of outbreak of COVID-19, keeping in view the larger public interest. The message disseminated via the caller tune has changed several times since the outbreak depending upon the changed circumstances and requirements from time to time. The pre-caller tune has played a critical role in reaching important messages timely across the length and breadth of the country. These messages have also included information regarding the National Helpline Numbers (1075) and on the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare website to promote health seeking behavior. As such it is considered indispensable in the fight against COVID-19,” added Sanjay Dhotre in his response.