Digitisation, FDI issues highlights of I&B Ministry in 2012
Digitisation of cable TV in the metros, clearing of a proposal for financial restructuring of Prasar Bharati, FDI in broadcasting and preparations for the centenary celebrations of Indian cinema marked an eventful 2012 for the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.
Coming to the rescue of Prasar Bharati which is facing financial problems, the government cleared a proposal for its financial restructuring while waiving off debt of over Rs 1,300 crore. The proposal was based on the recommendations of the Group of Ministers on Prasar Bharati which was constituted to examine various issues pertaining to its functioning.
Plan capital support by the government to Prasar Bharati will be in the form of grants-in-aid only and not in the form of loan.
The ailing broadcaster was also assured of other benefits. Prasar Bharati in its turn tried innovations like telecasting actor Aamir Khan's programme 'Satyamev Jayate' along with Doordarshan.
The year began with Ambika Soni as the minister and the government trying to implement the mandatory Digital Addressable System (DAS) or digitisation of cable TV. The initial deadline of June 30 for the first phase was missed because not enough set top boxes (STBs) were installed in the four metros.
And three days before the deferred deadline of October 31, Ludhiana MP Manish Tewari took over as the new minister with Independent charge in the I&B ministry.
With a massive publicity drive, the ministry managed to usher digitisation in Delhi, Mumbai and partially in Kolkata. In Chennai, the matter is still pending in the High Court.
In 2013, the ministry plans to implement digitisation in 38 cities in 15 states for which the deadline is March 31.
The year also saw Press Council of India chairman Markandey Katju making repeated demands that print and media needed to be brought under a stricter regulatory control.