India plans financial incentives for digitalisation effort
Thursday 15 Dec 2011
India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting plans to push for financial incentives to ease the import of equipment to help speed up the process of converting India’s cable TV distribution system from analogue to digital, business daily LiveMint reports.
The steps being considered include raising the foreign direct investment limit for cable companies to 74 percent from 49 percent and launching awareness campaigns on the merits of digital cable.
The ministry will help the industry make a smooth transition to digital cable, Uday Kumar Varma, Secretary at the I&B Ministry, said at the second CEOs Roundtable on Broadcast.
Mr Varma’s remarks followed the passing of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2011, on Tuesday.
“The likely passage of the Bill in Parliament will show the commitment of government to the change,” Mr Varma said. “Digitalising will be beneficial for all stakeholders…(and) play an important role in the economy, particularly the broadcasting industry.”
An investment of US$8 billion will be required for digitalising Indian cable TV networks in the next three years, Mr Varma said.
The ministry is also in discussions with the Finance Ministry to provide financial incentives, give tax holidays and customs concessions, since most of the equipment – including set-top boxes – is usually imported.
By June 2012, roughly 8-10 million set-top boxes will be required for all four metros.
Nearly 230,000 people will have to be trained to ensure that the migration from analogue to digital takes place.
A capacity building programme has already been launched by state-run Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Ltd.