Television

Is CAS on or not from 1 September?

NEW DELHI: India's information and broadcasting minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will meet prime minister A B Vajpayee this evening on the issue of conditional access system(CAS), which may decide the fate of addressability in the country.

Last week after coming out of a meeting with the PM and deputy prime minister, a senior leader of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Madan Lal Khurana, had told waiting journalsists that CAS would be deferred in Delhi till the state elections that are scheduled to be held later this year.

When Prasad was confronted with this assertion, he had just smiled and said, "No decision has been taken yet." This could already be interpreted as CAS rollout still doubtful.Today's meeting with the PM should be able to throw some light on the future course on the CAS front, especially at a time when government officials too sound ambiguous on the issue.

At a Hathway function last week, where the MSO announced the formal launch of its digital conditional access infrastrucuture, I&B ministry secretary Pawan Chopra, apart from saying that everything depended on God, had also remarked that pay channels would be allowed to do their pricing. This also in a way, indicated the failure of the government to make pay channels toe the line of consumer-friendly low pricing of pay channels after making assertions to this regard many times.

With the sale/rent of boxes slow in the metros where CAS is supposed to be rolled area-wise, today's Prasad-PM meeting is important.

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