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|March 26, 1999||
Proposals to amend Cable and Television Act okayedThe Union cabinet has approved a proposal to amend the Cable and Television Act, 1995, in an effort to regulate the country's $1 billion cable industry.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Pramod Mahajan told reporters after the cabinet meeting in New Delhi today that the amendment would allow government to impose a Programme and Advertising Code on foreign broadcasters. This would include compulsory beaming of DD-1 and DD-2 through cable networks and regulation of the pay channel business.
Mahajan said the government has received a number of complaints that some pay channels have been hiking fees on the eve of important events.
A penalty clause has also been inserted to make the cable operators responsible for any omission.
Replying to a question, Mahajan said that the Cabinet has yet to take a decision on direct-to-home television.
A group is already studying all aspects and a final decision will be taken only after the group submits its report.
According to official sources, the government is considering a comprehensive Broadcasting Bill to cover all aspects relating to broadcasting.
Today's decision of amending the Cable Television Act would ensure better quality of picture to subscribers, sources said and pointed out that over 50 channels are operating in India at present and subscribers prefer to take DD signals through the normal fork antenna.
Doordarshan is broadcasting its signals through PAS-4.
The cabinet meeting, which was presided over by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, also finalised the policy of uplinking for all future broadcasts under which broadcasters are allowed to set up their own teleports.
Mahajan told reporters that only Indian companies will be allowed their own teleports and they can beam the programme only on C-Band.
He said only those companies, in which 80 per cent equity is held by Indians, would be called Indian companies.
Mahajan said the government has already permitted seven Indian channels to use the uplinking facility provided by VSNL.
The satellite broadcasting companies need not go to VSNL, if they set up their own teleports facility. These companies will not be allowed to sell the uplinking facility to other broadcasters, he added.
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