New Delhi, March 30: People using prepaid SIMs of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) will no longer have to worry about the discontinuation of mobile services during the lockdown period. Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday said that prepaid sims of BSNL will not be discontinued till April 20. The Minister further added that for outgoing calls, a Rs 10 incentive would be provided automatically to all BSNL prepaid users. "For outgoing calls, a Rs 10 incentive has been provided automatically from today, so that poor people & needy people continue to work", Prasad  added.

On Sunday, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had asked telecom operators to extend the validity period of prepaid users. The sector regulator said this move would ensure that subscribers get uninterrupted services during the 21-day nationwide lockdown. It has also sought details of the steps being taken to ensure availability of uninterrupted telecom services to such customers on a "priority basis". Telecom Sector Crisis: Govt Has Decided to Revive BSNL and MTNL, Says Ravi Shankar Prasad.

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In an official communication to all the telecom operators, TRAI said necessary steps were required to extend the validity period to ensure that all prepaid subscribers can enjoy uninterrupted services. " are required to take necessary steps as deemed fit including extending the validity period to ensure that all prepaid subscribers can enjoy uninterrupted services during the period of lockdown," TRAI said.

The decision to grant benefit to BSNL prepaid  users was announced seeing the current circumstances, as it is quite possible that those subscribers who wish to top up their prepaid balances or wish to extend subscription to a prepaid tariff using offline channels may face hardships and/or disruption of services.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a complete lockdown for 21 days. In India, coronavirus has claimed 32 lives while the number of COVID-19 cases has touched 1,071.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Mar 30, 2020 04:32 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website