DTH

THE DTH IMPASSE: A CHRONOLOGY

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DATE
EVENT
December 1996: The United Front Government under Prime Minister Deve Gowda issues a notification saying that a licence has to be obtained for Ku-band DTH services. Many companies, including Star TV, apply for a licence. But government delays the process.
26 March 1997: Star TV holds a press conference in Delhi detailing their DTH plans. Star TV Asia CEO Gary Davey and others attend the function where a live demo is given.
First week April 1997: The then communication minister Beni Prasad Verma signs a policy setting the terms and conditions for granting licences to DTH players. Two holidays follow and it cannot be notified.
11 April 1997: Gowda government falls as Congress withdraws support.
May 1997: I&B minister Jaipal Reddy introduces the broadcast bill in Parliament which gets referred to a joint parliamentary committee.
July 1997: The United Front Government under Prime Minister I.K. Gujaral issues another notification banning maintaining or keeping equipment capable of receiving TV signals over 4800 Mhz (Ku-band) till a comprehensive broadcast law is passed.
November 1997: Gujaral government falls.
December 1998: I&B minister Pramod Mahajan with the BJP-led government says the issue of DTH cannot wait till the passage of the broadcast bill. A decision has to be taken soon.
January-February 1999: The Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee sets up a group of ministers (GoM), comprising ministers of I&B, communications, defence, finance and home, to come up with recommendations on DTH.Promod Mahajan said that DTH is as powerful as a Nuclear bomb.
February-April Ist week 1999: Lot of study papers on DTH compiled for GoM, which fails to meet formally even once. But hopes of favourable recommendations abound as I&B minister admits in private he hopes to make an announcement in Parliament once it reassembles after a fortnight's recess.
17 April 1999 The BJP-led government loses the vote of confidence on the floor of the Lower House of parliament.
October 1999 National Democratic Alliance comes to power in the centre
18 October 2000 Jaitley sworn in as I & B Minister give indication as they will move fast on the DTH front, though cautiously. DD wants an exclusive licence for two years.
15 March 2000 Murdoch pushes for DTH service in India
10 April 2000 Jaitley said Prime Minister A B Vajpayee had constituted a committee chaired by the Union Minister to work out details of direct-to-home (DTH) services and uplinking facilities.
4 October 2000 Sushama Swaraj again takes on as I & B Minister, promises Television-for-Family
16 October 2000 Star TV's James Murdoch, Bruce Churchill and Peter Mukherjee meet Swaraj
29 Octobet 2000 GoM committee headed by Home Minister L K Advani finalises most of the recommendations for lifting DTH ban. Law minister Arun Jaitley asked to frame legal ramifications on DTH.
30 October 2000 GoM committee recommends opening up DTH. I & B Minister Sushama Swaraj says that she will submit a note to the Indian Cabinet for a final decision.
2 November 2000 Cabinet Approves lifting DTH ban. Issues notification.

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