Pointing out that the ministry has outright rejected the suggestion
of the Singh panel, Swaraj added, "I think their understanding of
the DTH policy is not correct. If we go by the recommendation then
the government probably would have to allow upto 70 per cent foreign
equity in a DTH venture. This is not acceptable to us."
The minister said that the Parliamentary Standing Committee on
IT and Telecommunications has been informed of this decision taken
by the ministry on DTH and that, "the government does not plan to
make any changes in the policy at this moment."
She also prudently flaunted the name of two companies which have
sought permission for starting a DTH venture in India after over
18 months of the policy guidelines been announced.
"I have always maintained that media companies too, will take
time to firm their business plans regarding DTH. Two companies,
Space TV and ASC Enterprises, have applied for licence and their
applications are being processed," she said.
Dwelling on the various achievements of the I&B ministry, a bullish
Swaraj said that announcement of a liberalised uplinking policy
by the government earlier is "one of the most revolutionary" decisions
taken. (See earlier report: Prasar
Bharati lists achievements of last three years) "The media explosion
and growth that you see today in India is due to the uplinking policy
which aims at making India the hub for uplinking on lines of Singapore,
Thailand and Hong Kong. As of today 77 channels have been given
permission to uplink from India from a measely number that used
to do so when we (the NDA government) took over," Swaraj said.
On the FM radio front, a sector where private players are now realizing
revenues just trickle in, Swaraj said that out of the 37 bids which
had finally come, while 10 have started operations, the rest have
paid up their licence fee to start operation as soon as possible.
"So the criticism that the government stands to lose revenue because
of the delays in the FM radio sector does not hold good," the minister
She expressed the hope that the amendment to the Cable TV regulation
Act, 1995, seeking to implement the conditional access system, will
be passed in the Rajya Sabha (the Upper House of Indian parliament)
in the forthcoming winter session of Parliament.
Quizzed on the differences on the issues amongst political parties
in the Rajya Sabha, Swaraj said, "Let us say there is a consensus
on CAS and we are hopeful that it will be passed by Rajya Sabha
too." The Lower House has already okayed the amendments.
Speaking on the narrowcasting project being undertaken by Doordarshan,
Swaraj said that nine pilot projects are likely to be started soon
in places like Bellary, Coimbatore, Chennai,. Hissar, Akola and
Thiruvananthapuram where DD's low and high powered transmitters
will be used to air programmes for the immediate surrounding which
will be of local interest like agriculture.
"We are starting off with agriculture, but later other programmes
like those on sports too can be aired as part of narrowcasting.
For this DD has tied up with universities and organsiations for
sourcing content," Swaraj said.
Swaraj also dwelt on the industry status given to the film industry
- "a decision taken within 30 days of her arrival in the I&B ministry"
- and said that the decision was taken so that "good money could
be made available for good cinema." According to her, IDBI has said
that the recovery rate of money from the film industry is better
than other areas.