Regulators

I&B Ministry gets CAS on Upper House Monday agenda

NEW DELHI:The information and broadcasting ministry has asked the business advisory committee of parliament to relist the Cable TV Networks Amendment Bill 2002 next week and this is most probably going to happen on Monday in the Upper House (the Rajya Sabha).

According to I&B ministry officials, if the RS transacts business on Monday and there are no adjournments, then the Bill, which aims at facilitating the implementation of conditional access systems (CAS), will be discussed on that day.

The officials agree upon one thing: about three hours have been allotted for debate on CAS in the Upper House. Even if the Bill, which has generated lot of heat and unleashed high pitched lobbying for and against it, is to be referred to a parliamentary committee (as is being demanded by a section of the broadcasting industry), it will require consent from the Upper House where the issue will have to be taken up and a motion passed to this effect.

Though Swaraj's meeting earlier this week with Opposition members of the Rajya Sabha was inconclusive, she is hopeful of pushing the amendments through in the Upper House too.

The Lok Sabha has already okayed the amendments through a voice vote. The Congress, which is opposing the passage of the CATV Amendment Bill 2002 in the Upper House and has raised several questions, however, had not opposed the Bill when it had come up in Lok Sabha.

According to political sources, Nilotpal Basu of the CPM, after his meeting with Swaraj, had said that the minister was not able to satisfactorily resolve some doubts raised by some Upper House members.

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