Monday, 1 March 2010

Time to budget

Industry has been waiting desperately for the Budget 2010 that was announced on February 26. India is out of the grip of the global recession and many priority activities must start this year like digitization of cable networks, adopting newer technologies of broadcasting before the Commonwealth Games kick-off, spreading broadband in the rural areas etc. The budget rode on the economy which has done well in 2009-10 with an increased industrial output and the confidence coming back into the consumer market. Expectations of achieving 9% growth in GDP and fiscal deficit down to 5.5% in the next year has brought cheers to the industry. However, common man is still facing the brunt of rising prices. Consumption levels going down will affect the industry adversely.
Cable Operators are not very happy with the Budget as no incentives have been given to them. Reduction of custom duty will benefit only the big players. Thankfully, the broadcasting industry is very optimistic of its growth in the year 2010. In the open house discussions on FDI between TRAI and the stakeholders last month, industry was not in favour of more FDI as it was felt that internal investment potential has not yet been fully exploited. More over the mood was against the control going over to foreign companies. 
TDSAT seminar on consumer issues in telecom and broadcasting was organized this time in Agartala in the north-east. It drew a good crowed as it was the first time that such an event took place in the north-east.
Green Telecom is another issue gaining momentum in view of the worldwide concern over depleting natural resources. In a seminar organized by PTCI Foundation adoption of cleaner technologies in telecom was advocated to save mother earth. It came out that optical fiber as a communication medium was the greenest of all existing technologies. 
News channels continue to get advisories from the government for programming code violations from time to time strengthening the need for tough regulatory measures. Ministry has decided to present the Broadcasting Bill in the Parliament in this Budget Session and hopefully it may get the clearance this time.
Issues pertaining to interconnection and tariff require more deliberations and are required to be tackled urgently as introduction of newer delivery technologies make the task more complex. TRAI is trying its best to find a viable solution.
Emergence of new media brought a slew of interactive technologies on various media platforms. We have turned the spotlight on it in this edition of cable-quest. 
Don’t miss the dates for Convergence India 2010 to be held on March 23-25, 2010 in New Delhi. We shall be pleased to meet you all there.

—— Lt. Col. (Retd.) K K Sharma


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