Phase III of Cable TV Digitisation in urban areas of the country by 31st Dec 2015

Phase III of Cable TV Digitisation in urban areas of the country by 31st Dec 2015 
Keeping in view the cutoff date of 31st Dec 2015 for Phase III of cable TV Digitisation, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had a meeting of the Task Force on 30th Dec 2015 to take stock of the situation of cable TV digitisation in urban areas falling in Phase III. The meeting was chaired by Secretary, Information & Broadcasting.

The Task Force assessed the progress of digitisation as being very positive. It was noted that seeding has taken place in most of the notified urban areas with STBs, while the seeding-dark area were only around 400 out of more than 6000 urban areas, many of which had population below 1000 while the rest were in areas having population of less than 5000. Further, the seeding figures as shared in the meeting indicated a high level of seeding in the country, to the extent of more than 75%, excluding Tamil Nadu where certain legal matters have restricted the process of digitisation. This figure was expected to be higher when all the registered MSOs provide their final figures.

Broadcasters were advised to ensure that no analogue signals are transmitted in Phase III areas after 31st Dec 2015 but without affecting analogue signals in phase IV areas.

It was unanimously decided that looking to the positive outcome of the Digitisation Phase III exercise and the fact that the notification for the cut-off date for phase III was issued more than a year ago, there was absolutely no requirement for extension of the cut-off date. Task Force noted that various awareness campaigns, Task Force and MSO sub-group meetings and orientation workshops for the state and district Nodal officers have been held during this period. A multilingual toll free helpline (1800 180 4343) has also been made operational. 

Government constitutes Committee for Holistic interpretation of the provisions of the Cinematograph Act/ Rules 
In most countries of the world there is a mechanism/process of certifying feature films and documentaries. However it has to be ensured that in doing so, artistic creativity and freedom do not get stifled/curtailed and the people tasked with the work of certification understand these nuances. Indian films have glorious history. A whole lot of Indian films have enriched the cultural milieu of the country besides making astonishing advances in technical aspects of film making. Keeping this in view and in sync with the vision of Hon’ble Prime Minister, a committee headed by Shri Shyam Benegal has been constituted to suggest the paradigm for ensuring such a milieu. The recommendations of this Committee are expected to provide a holistic framework and enable those tasked with the work of certification of films to discharge their responsibilities keeping in view this framework.

During their deliberations, the Committee would be expected to take note of the best practices in various parts of the world, especially where the film industry is given sufficient and adequate space for creative and aesthetic expression. The Committee would recommend broad guidelines / procedures under the provisions of the Cinematograph Act / Rules for the benefit of the chairperson and other members of the Screening Committee. The staffing pattern of CBFC would also be looked into in an effort to recommend a framework which would provide efficient / transparent user friendly services.

The other Members of the Committee include Shri Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Shri Piyush Pandey, Ms. Bhawana Somaaya , Ms. Nina Lath Gupta and Joint Secretary (Films) as Member Convenor. The Committee has been requested to submit their recommendations within two months. 

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