The passage of the Cable TV bill for Digitisation of cable TV in India has been accomplished in such a great hurry, without even completing the recommendation of TRAI given in 2010. However, an infructuous Bill called the Second Amendment to Cable TV Act Bill, is pending finalization in the Standing Committee of the Parliament on Communication and IT. Very few in the industry know the existence of this Bill that will restrict the transmission of any unregistered channel on cable TV networks. Very introduction of such a Bill makes me suspicious of government intentions when there are already many provisions in the existing Cable TV Act that do not permit any cable operator to transmit any unauthorized content. Also, Guidelines for Downlinking do restrict downlinking of any unregistered TV channel.
It is also very strange that knowing fully well that many essentials like the tariff, interconnect regulations, equipment standards, infrastructure issue, content availability to digital networks, licensing and registration are not in place, Ministry officials are literally bullying the Cable Operators to digitalise or perish. During its first open house discussion with the industry organized by FICCI, Rajiv Takru, the Additional Secretary, I&B Ministry reiterated that even if no rules and regulations were in place, operators must start seeding STBs in consumer homes in the metros. Using an almost threatening language, he said that no additional time will be given beyond 30 June 2012 for the Phase-I and analog transmissions will be completely stopped after that. God knows from where does he get this confidence to be so certain that things can be done this way.