Prasad says henceforth CAS only after states' okay

NEW DELHI: Taking a similar line to that he adopted on a just-concluded tour of South India, information and broadcasting minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said today that in future conditional access system (CAS) would be implemented in consultation with the state governments concerned.

"The first phase of CAS implementation has taught us many things. In future wherever CAS is rolled out, it'd be done after having consulted the state government concerned," Prasad told journalists today during an informal interaction after returning from his tour of South India, including Kerala.

According to Prasad, in places like Bangalore (Karnataka) and Kerala people urged him to bring their cities also under CAS. "I think barring some industry people, there is a growing demand from every walk of life to have a transparent system. CAS is all about that," he added.

He also said that he has directed his ministry officials to set up state-level implementation committee on CAS, headed by a secretary-level official from the state government, with representation from the industry and the Central government too.

In an aside, the minister also regretted that CAS had become a "politicial issue" in Delhi that had a cascading effect in cities like Kolkata and Mumbai too.

Meanwhile, ministry sources said that the I&B ministry may take up the issue of being made responsible for copyright-related cases, especially those relating to the broadcast, music and film sectors.

At the moment, I&B ministry cannot interfere in copyright issues as despite certain sectors falling within its jurisdiction, the apex Copyright Act empowers the human resources development ministry to take action.

"HRD ministry is responsible for copyright cases related to piracy, but it has not shown much interest in curbing the issue, though the sectors coming under I&B ministry are getting severely effected by untamed piracy, " a senior I&B ministry official pointed out.

However, observers in Delhi said it would be difficult to take away any responsibility from the HRD minister Murli Manohar Joshi, a hardcore right wing politician of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

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