I&B ministry and BIS officials to meet broadcast and cable representatives on Friday

Officials belonging to the information and broadcasting ministry, along with officials from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) will meet representatives from the broadcasting and cable industry on 12 July. 

The aim of the meeting is to discuss issues relating to set-top boxes, a necessary accessory once the conditional access system which the government, particularly I&B minister Sushma Swaraj, is keen to bring about, is implemented. A senior BIS official told today that the 12 July meeting (to be held a day after the apex body of electronics goods manufacturers, CETMA, holds a seminar on the TV industry with broadcasting industry representations) will discuss the various comments which had been invited on the technical parameters set by BIS for manufacturing of set-top boxes and decide the future course of action. 

According to the BIS official, the feedback on the draft standards and specifications circulated earlier has been "favourable and positive." "Most of the feedback has agreed to what we had said with few suggestions coming on some minor technical issues," the official said, adding: "Hopefully by mid-August, BIS would be able to finalise the document which will be the industry standard." However, before CAS is implemented, certain amendments in the Cable TV (Networks) Regulation Act, 1995, facilitating CAS, will need the nod from the Indian Parliament's Upper House (Rajya Sabha) where the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA government does not have a majority.

I&B ministry sources have indicated that the passage of the Cable TV Amendment Bill in the Rajya Sabha would be fairly easy during the monsoon session of Parliament scheduled to begin later this month. However, critics maintain that despite the I&B ministry's optimism, certain politicians in the government have not been in favour of CAS. 

The BIS official also added that the decoding technique of each channel as and when CAS is implemented would be "proprietary in nature" where the broadcasters will exercise control through the multi-system operators.

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