Where goest the broadcast bill?

The fate of the broadcast bill hangs on a razor's edge, despite Braodcast Minister Arun Jaitley's pledge to table it in the surrent budget session of parliament.

Lobbying for the Broadcast bill is expected to reach fever pitch after March during the Budget session recess. The broadcasters lobby group, The Indian Broadcast Foundation has set up three committees for the purpose. Discovery India's Kiran Karnik, News Television India's Peter Mukherjee and Urmila Gupta, and Sony Entertainment Television's Kunal Dasgupta are looking at convergence and spectrum allocation issues. ESPN's Manu Sawney and Turner International's Anshuman Misra are reviewing technology convergence, especially the last mile infrastructure.

Content provider UTV's Ronnie Screwvala and Khursheeda Mody, Nimbus Communications Harish Thawani and MTV India's Alex Kuruvilla are looking at Internet regulatory issues. Three government committees are also reviewing critical areas in the bill.

Jaitley expects to reach a consensus during the recess before tabling the bill in parliament. Some analysts believe that foreign equity in cross media holding and DTH may not form a part of the bill, plagued by opposing political viewpoints. Others indicate that the bill may be tabled, but will go into a sub committee for further review.

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