TRAI chief Sharma to remain on duty until 2020

R. S. Sharma
R. S. Sharma, head of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), at his office in New Delhi, India, March 16, 2018. REUTERS/Saumya Khandelwal

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Ram Sewak Sharma, the head of India’s telecoms regulator who took on global giants Facebook and Apple, has been given two more years in his assignment, which was due to end on Friday.

As chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Sharma shaped rules barring internet service providers from having different prices for accessing different parts of the Web, in a setback to Facebook’s plan to roll out a pared-back free internet service.

He has also pushed Apple Inc to allow spam detection on the latest version of its iOS mobile operating software, used in iPhones.

A cabinet panel approved the re-appointment of Sharma, a career bureaucrat, until Sept. 30, 2020, according to a government statement on Thursday.

Sharma declined to comment on his re-appointment.

He has previously served as the first director general of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), a government body running the country’s biometrics-based national identity card system, Aadhaar.

Sharma posted his Aadhaar number on Twitter last month challenging critics to do him “any harm” after users asked him to share the details to prove it was a safe system.

(Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; Editing by Devidutta Tripathy, Sanjeev Miglani and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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