"CAS is coming up in the Rajya Sabha on 10 December and it should
be passed," information and broadcasting minister Sushma Swaraj
told indiantelevision.com today afternoon.
Sounding absolutely confident of the passage of the amendments
proposed in the Cable TV (Networks) Regulation Amendment Bill 2002,
Swaraj said she does not foresee any opposition to the Bill in the
Rajya Sabha now.
The Bill, which seeks to facilitate implementation of CAS and bring
about addressability in Indian cable homes, has already been okayed
by the Lok Sabha (Lower House) during the monsoon session itself.
The Bill is now awaiting the rajya Sabha's nod before it is enacted
Swaraj's assertive stance on CAS comes a day after the Indian Broadcasting
Foundation (IBF), after initial reservations on CAS, made it public
that it supports the government initiatives on CAS.
Asked whether she will be present during the introduction of CAS
in the Rajya Sabha on 10 December as she is slated to tour the state
of Gujarat from 8 December as part of election campaigning, Swaraj
shot back, "But I am back in Delhi on the morning of 10 December."
The Rajya Sabha, where the government does not have a majority,
has been a problem area for the government as far as CAS is concerned.
The Opposition Members of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha --- mainly
the Communist party of India (Marxist) and the Congress Party ---
had been demanding that the issue of CAS be discussed thoroughly
and, preferably, be referred to a parliamentary committee for more
deliberations on the issue.
A senior RS partyman of the CPM, Nilotpaul Basu, had told indiantelevision.com
recently that his party is for CAS to be referred to a parliamentary
panel for more discussion on the issue. However, today Basu could
not be contacted for comments on Swaraj's latest assertion on CAS.
The CAS issue had been listed on the agenda of the Rajya Sabha
soon after Parliament reconvened for the Winter session on 18 November
but could not be taken up for discussion for various reasons.
The government has also allotted a three-hour time in Rajya Sabha
for discussions on CAS.
Finally, after a whole host of twists and turns, CAS looks on its
way to becoming reality, though its actual implementation will take
some more time. Unless of course something unforeseen happens next
week that will again take precedence over CAS.
See related headline:
comes out in support of CAS