That also puts a question mark over the future of the recommendations
of the Dr Amit Mitra panel on FM radio broadcast policy.
Though the information and broadcasting ministry had earlier shown
some interest in taking the panel recommendations to the cabinet
for a final view on some suggestions like opening up the sector
to foreign investment and allowing news and current affairs programming
on private FM radio stations, it lost steam somewhat as the minister,
Ravi Shankar Prasad, could not find the time to devote to the matter.
Once the Lok Sabha is dissolved, the ruling machinery becomes a
caretaker one till the next government is installed. It is also
not customary for a caretaker government to take important policy
decisions like allowing foreign investment in a certain sector of
A senior government official said, "The recommendations are
still being studied by the I&B ministry and it is highly unlikely
that any decision would be taken now." Though, there is some
inter-ministerial meeting on the recommendations is lined up in
the near future, nothing much is expected to come out of such meetings.
The FM radio industry was hoping that the government would push
through with some of the recommendations of the Mitra panel, which
was expected to bring some relief to the financially-beleaguered
It is also unlikely that the government would take a stand on conditional
access system (CAS), which is now in the domain of the Telecom Regulatory
Authority of India where the stakeholders of the broadcast and cable
industry are now fighting out their intra-industry battle. This,
despite the fact that the Delhi high court is slated to have a hearing
on a case related to CAS on 5 April.
The dissolution of the Lok Sabha also brings down the curtain on
the work on the proposed broadcast bill as well.
What looks interesting is that if the present coalition government,
headed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is voted back to power
the Convergence Bill may be brought out of cold storage. And if
Arun Shourie gets back the telecom and IT portfolio, then he is
sure to do that, political observors said.