Convergence legislation 6 months away - Mahajan

NEW DELHI: India will have to wait for at least six months before having a legislation to regulate and govern the convergence space encompassing the sectors of telecom, information technology and broadcasting.

"I foresee the Convergence Bill taking a final shape (after the suggestion of the parliamentary Standing Committee on Telecom & IT) sometime in May," telecom, IT and parliamentary affairs minister Pramod Mahajan said to a query put to him by on the sidelines of the ongoing India Economic Summit organized by the World Economic Forum and the CII.

Asked about the status of the Convergence Communication Bill, which had been referred to the Standing Committee last year, Mahajan said, "The parliamentary panel has just submitted its report and in the beginning only some people have said whether the time is ripe for a Convergence legislation. I have not yet gone into the suggestion but will take a holistic approach once the report is studied."

The Standing Committee, which submitted its report a few days ago to Parliament, has highlighted the fact some people who had deposed before it and sent information on the Bill had questioned the very need for such a piece of legislation at the moment. 

According to Mahajan, if there is a need, after studying the Standing panel's report, 'another round of debate can be had in Parliament. "But I see the Bill being taken up (for discussion) by the Parliament only during the Budget session and that too in the latter half of the session after the (annual) Budget (of the country) has been discussed," he added. 

Mahajan said that he has asked his ministry to go into the Standing panel's report on the Convergence Communication Bill that will take into account various comments collated by the panel while preparing its report. "once that has happened only then I can make up my mind and if need be we can have another round of discussion (on the issue) in Parliament." 

Asked whether he is in favour of an overall legislation for the convergence space, Mahajan said, "Personally I am in favour of such a piece of legislation because sometime or other it has to come. Earlier the work on it begins, the better."

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