But that did not happen."An announcement on the final notification
of the price of the free to air channels may come by month-end,"
a government official said, indicating that the price may not be
announced in a hurry as the minister is understood to be studying
What had fuelled optimism on the announcement of the price of the
basic tier was the fact that the chairman of the government-piloted
task force, Rakesh Mohan, a joint secretary in the I&B minister,
was to proceed on a study leave for over a month.
"We were expecting that before Mr. Mohan proceeds on leave, the
price would be announced so that the industry can go ahead and look
into other aspects of CAS," a representative of a multi-system operator
According to the ministry sources, Mohan is already on leave from
yesterday and till he returns, additional secretary (broadcasting)
in the ministry Vijay Singh would be dealing with such matters.
The government sources also indicated that there is only a slim
chance of any change being brought about in the price of Rs 71.33
recommended by the task force.
Meanwhile, allegations and counter elucidation on CAS continue.
The cable fraternity continues to allege that the broadcasters
have managed to keep the price of the basic tier low so as to keep
the pay channels within the average monthly outgo of a cable subscriber.
To such allegations, the broadcasting fraternity have maintained
that it was the task force that has decided on the price and the
panel had adequate representation from the cable industry too.
Still, according to reports doing the rounds of the capital, some
broadcasters have sought an appointment with the chairman of the
Standing (parliamentary) Committee on IT and telecom Somnath Chatterjee
on 23 April.
It is also learnt that some top executives of a few broadcasting
companies operating in India met in Delhi to finalise the agenda
for the meeting with Chatterjee. What transpired in the meeting
is not clear.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) member Chatterjee is an influential
politician and his party had opposed in Rajya Sabha (Upper House)
the passage of amendments on CAS in the related act without a proper
It is also being said that in a recent meeting the Standing Committee
had questioned the government's move on implementation of CAS without
ensuring adequate number of set top boxes in the metros or their
easy accessibility to the consumers.
What is beyond comprehension is the fact that though the Standing
Committee is a parliamentary body and cannot act on its own on any
issue unless the parliament refers an issue to it. If the broadcasters
are hoping that the CAS issue would, and should, get referred to
the Chatterjee panel, then it can only be done if the Indian parliament
decides so. For that to happen, the matter has to be brought up
in parliament, which itself is a time-consuming affair.
So, the CAS merry-go round continues.
Bid to educate consumers on CAS