August 2017


We have a new I&B Minister- again! This is the 4th I&B Minister appointed by the Modi Government in just 3 years. Ms. Smriti Irani takes over at a time when several key decisions have just not been taken by the I&B Ministry.

Besides a new communications policy that has been promised and defining the role of the 'Censor Board' there are other grave issues.

TRAI has put forward more than 100 recommendations but almost none of these have been confirmed by the MIB in writing. They seem to be sometimes followed & otherwise ignored when convenient.

The TRAI's recommendation that DTH & CATV mergers should not be permitted where market share of the combined entity exceeds 30%, has been cast aside by the CCI and even the MIB, in the DishTV - Videocon d2h proposed merger.

Even more serious has been the MIB's move granting ARASU a 'provisional' DAS licence & even extending its validity thereafter. Our country has a large illiterate population that can be easily misinformed via television. Most countries prohibit political and religious owned TV channels. For more than half a decade the TRAI has been reiterating its recommendation that state governments, political & religious TV channels should not be permitted.

While the Congress led government resisted pressure and followed the TRAI's recommendations, the MIB under Venkaiah Naidu granted a DAS licence to ARASU.

Now, the Telengana state government has declared its ambitions to have its own satellite!

The new I&B minister has her hands full & it's to be seen if she will take the hard decisions necessary & provide clarity of vision that have been pending for the past 3 years.