Breaking newsLok Sabha passes the Cable TV Digitalisation Bill

New Delhi, 13 December 2011: The Bill to amend the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995 for implementing total digitalization of Cable TV networks in the country in four phases has been passed by the Lok Sabha today. The process of digitalization has to be completed by December 2014 as per the earlier Notification. An Ordinance to this effect was issued on 25 October 2011.

Discussion on the Bill lasted for about three hours and most of the MPs from different political parties supported the bill. However everyone expressed concern on the cost of STBs and pay channels and asked the government to ensure that the subscription rates fixed by TRAI should be affordable to the common masses.

Many MPs also expressed concern that digitalization will encourage only the big players throwing small cable operators out of business; particularly those operating in rural areas as they would not bear the high expenses of migration.

All the MPs unanimously showed their concern on increase in indecent and objectionable content on TV channels and wanted an independent regulatory body to regulate the content.

Ambika Soni, Minister for Information and Broadcasting clarified at the end of the discussions that government was aware of the plight of small operators and rural subscribers and will look after their interests while implementing the new law. She said that already digital technologies like DTH and HITS are existing which will help the subscribers as well as the small operators in migrating to digital systems.

MPs who spoke in the discussion hour included Rajendra Aggarwal (BJP), IJiyaraj Singh (INC), Shailender Kumar (SP), Ramshankar Rajbhar (BSP), Maheshwar Hazari (JDU), PK Biju (CPI), Tathagath Sathpathy (BJD), Dr Ratna De Nag (TMC), Sanjeev Ganesh Nayak (NCP), Nama Nageshwar Rao (TDP), P Kumar (AIADMK), Prabodh Panda (CPM), Raghuvansh Prashad Singh (RJD), Smt. Putul Kumari (Independent) and Sanja

 y Nirupam (INC). Prabodh Panda of CPM and Tathagath Sathapathi of BJD opposed the Bill.

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