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Government moving on Convergence Bill: Shourie

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MUMBAI: After well over a year in nowhere land, the Convergence Bill has got some oxygen pumped into its motor. Union minister for information technology and telecom Arun Shourie, responding to a question put to him by indiatelevision.com, said that the draft of Convergence Bill was being dusted out and “the effort was to try get it introduced in Parliament as soon as possible.”

Shourie, however, said that 95 amendments have been suggested to the draft of the Bill in its present form and his ministry would be working to frame the rules anew. Shourie said that he would be meeting his officials next week in this regard.

 
When asked whether any timeline could be given as to when he expected the Bill to be introduced in Parliament, Shourie would offer no clues except to say that it would be done as soon as possible. From the tone of the conversation though, it looks unlikely that the Bill will be tabled in Parliament even in the next (Monsoon) session.

Shourie said once his ministry was ready with the framework of rules, the I&B ministry’s feedback would be sought before taking the matter further.

The Convergence Bill, aiming to have a policy framework for the convergence era, was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on IT and telecom in 2001 to examine the various clauses after being introduced in Parliament. The policy aims to have a super regulator for the IT, broadcasting and telecom sectors.

The committee was headed by Communist Party of India's Member of Parliament, Somnath Chatterjee.

If India gets to enact this piece of legislation, it would only be the second country in the world, after Malaysia, to have such a convergence policy in place.

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