Digital Consent Acquisition (DCA) system

GS Paper II, III

News Excerpt

Recently, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) asked banks and other entities sending out commercial messages to telecom subscribers via SMS or voice calls to take "urgent" steps.

  • To be onboarded with the Digital Consent Acquisition (DCA) system as per stipulated timelines.

Key Points

  • TRAI in its endeavour to curb the menace of spam through Unsolicited Commercial Communications (UCC) has taken various measures in the recent past.
  • To combat spam and unwanted messages, TRAI requested that banks implement the Digital Consent Acquisition (DCA) system.

TRAI’s earlier steps

  • The crackdown on spam and pesky messages had seen TRAI issuing direction in June 2023 to all the access providers to develop and deploy the Digital Consent Acquisition (DCA) facility for creating a unified platform and process to seek, and register customers' consent digitally across all telecom operators and 'Principal Entities (PE)'.
    • "All Principal Entities are hereby requested to take all necessary steps to join the DCA system within the timeframes specified in the directions dated June 2, 2023." 
  • TRAI directed all access providers (telcos) to build and deploy the Digital Consent Acquisition (DCA) facility to create a consistent platform and method for digitally registering customers' consent across all Access Service Providers and Principal Entities.
  • TRAI has set a deadline of September 30 for the onboarding of Principal Entities from the banking, insurance, finance, and trade sectors, and November 30 for the onboarding of PEs from the remaining sectors.
    • Various PEs get and keep consent in the current system.


  • As a result, the Access Providers are unable to verify the authenticity of consent.
  • Furthermore, there is no unified system for clients to provide or withdraw consent.

The Digital Consent Acquisition (DCA) process

  • It has the facility to seek, maintain, and revoke the consent of customers, as per the processes envisaged under the norms.
  • According to TRAI, the consent data obtained would be shared on the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) Platform for commercial communications developed under TCCCPR-2018 for scrubbing by all access providers.
  • The goal, extent of consent, and Principal Entity/Brand name must be clearly stated in the consent-seeking message delivered by shortcode.
  • In consent-seeking messages, only whitelisted URLs/APKs/OTT links/Callback numbers, etc. shall be used.
  • Customers' consent acquisition confirmation messages must include information on consent revocation.
  • Furthermore, access providers must develop an SMS/online capability for clients to register their refusal to receive any consent-seeking message launched by any Principal Entity.
  • It is clearly stated that, following the implementation of DCA, all current consents obtained by alternative means will be considered null and void, and all PEs will be required to seek new consents solely through digital means.


TRAI is working for a fair and transparent policy environment that promotes a level playing field and facilitates fair competition. In this line of business, the Digital Consent Acquisition (DCA) system will be an effective tool for future regulation.

Prelims PYQ

Q. The term 'Digital Single Market Strategy' seen in the news refers to-    (UPSC 2017)



(c) EU

(d) G20


Mains PYQ

Q. The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 has come into effect from Ist January, 2014. What are the key issues which would get addressed with the Act in place? What implications would it have on industrialization and agriculture in India?      (UPSC 2014)


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