Inter-ministerial group to study Trai recommendations

MUMBAI: An inter-ministerial group headed by J S Mathur, additional secretary in the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry, will examine the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India‘s (Trai) recommendation against allowing government or government entities in television broadcasting and distribution.

The I&B Ministry has already cleared a proposal for the setting up of an inter-ministerial group, which would in fact function as an institutional mechanism to study all the recommendations made by Trai.

The I&B Ministry will take a view on the recommendations of Trai after the inter-ministerial group gives its views. This could mean a decision on the application by The Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation for a digital addressable system (DAS) licence for Chennai would be delayed.

Any prolonged delay in deciding on Arasu‘s application, which was submitted in July, could also have an implication for implementation of digitisation in Chennai.

Mumbai and Delhi have already switched over to digital delivery of television channels, while Kolkata is almost through.

The I&B Ministry had in November made a reference to Trai to re-examine its 2008 recommendations which said government, government entities and government-owned companies should not be allowed in television broadcasting and distribution. Trai stuck to its 2008 views and also reiterated that any government entity allowed in television distribution should be allowed an exit route.

Apart from central government ministries, the governments of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Punjab also have expressed intentions of launching their own television channels.

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