Television

CAS Bill clears last hurdle; passed unanimously in Rajya Sabha

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NEW DELHI: Information and broadcasting minister Sushma Swaraj today pulled out another ace from her sleeve, getting one of her favourite subjects - the introduction of the conditional access system regime - okayed by one of the Houses of Indian parliament with minimum of fuss and, surprisingly, overwhelming support.

Now, consumers will have to pay for only those channels which he wishes to see and the maximum price for the basic tier of service comprising free to air channels would be determined by the government.

Sony Entertainment Television India CEO Kunal Dasgupta had this to say about the passage of the Cable TV (Networks) Regulation Amendment Bill 2002, which will bring in CAS in the country: "We welcome the passage of the Bill and we hope to work closely with the government in the implementation process."

Talking on behalf of the cable industry, HTMT's executive V-P corporate, Ashok Mansukhani, said, "We are very happy that the Bill has been passed. We'll work very hard in conjunction with broadcasters to bring even more channels at an affordable cost within the next six months."

A Star TV spokesperson also welcomed CAS. "We are pleased with this announcement and look forward to being a part of the implementation process. We believe that the proper implementation of CAS will result in complete transparency in the declaration of subscriber numbers. It will also offer consumers better value and choice."

Swaraj had expressed confidence in a conversation with indiantelevision.com last Friday that the process of implementation of CAS should get the nod of the Rajya Sabha this week.

Swaraj's assertive stance on CAS followed soon after the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), after initial reservations on CAS, made it public that it supports the government's initiatives on CAS.

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