There has been recent announcement in the Amateur Service Rules which has already been gazetted by the Govt. of India. There has been a general outcry by the Hams on the changes. The changes are very vague and no details have been made available.
Two major changes that have been made are : 1. Change in the categories of licences - reduced to only TWO from the previous FOUR grades (General and Restricted). 2. The licence fees have been fixed for periods for either LIFETIME (upto the age of 80 of the licence holder) @ Rs. 2000/- (approx. $40) and TEN YEAR ( from the date of issue or renewal)@ Rs. 1000/- (approx. $20).
While the changes in general are welcome, it is still not clear as to what categories of the previous grades have been merged. It is also not clear as to the operating facilities and frequencies that have been authorised for the new grades.
Regarding the licence fee structures, considering the lifetime licence cutoff age at 80 years, a Ham who is about 65 year of age will have to pay Rs. 2000 for a period of 15 years whereas he would have paid under Rs. 200/- (approx. $4) under the previous licence fee structure.
It is also going to stop newcomers - especially the youngsters who have to shell out such a huge amount just to get started in the hobby.
Such arbitraial changes in the rules, without taking the opinion of the persons who would be affected, and gazetting the changes, will certainly "KILL" the hobby which has been of great help to the country in providing a second line of communication especially during natural calamities, major sporting events, etc.