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We will kick-start Phase III on 1 April, says I&B Minister

NEW DELHI: Assuring the broadcast sector of the government’s commitment to implementing the remaining two phases of digital addressable system (DAS), Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar today said that the third phase of DAS will be kick-started on 1 April.

The government had recently pushed back Phases III and IV of DAS to December 2015 and 2016 respectively. The original deadline fixed by the previous government was 30 September and 31 December 2014 respectively.

javdekar“Digitisation is on track and we are going to complete the third phase in 2015 and the fourth phase in 2016. That’s what our commitment is,” Javadekar said during CII Big Picture Summit 2014.

“We will start the third phase on 1 April. We will take a final call on it and complete the phase by the end of the year. The fourth phase will start immediately after completion of the third,” he added.

Javadekar emphasised that the government was not delaying DAS roll-out. “We are not delaying because we want ‘Digital India’ to happen. Every person living in rural India must get digital entertainment,” he said.

Javadekar said that there lurks a great opportunity in the $50-billion Indian media and entertainment sector that can be taken to a higher level.

“You must think big. Thinking low aim is a crime. To say in 2014 that by 2020 our media and entertainment, which is already a 50 billion dollar industry, we’ll grow only double is not correct. Let us understand there is tremendous scope; we must aim high,” he said.

He stated that the aspiration of people has increased manifold. Besides basic necessities like food, clothing and shelter, people now want health, education and entertainment.

“People are ready to spend on entertainment and therefore $100 billion is not a big target. It can be even more ambitious and we can achieve it,” he stated.

He also said that the government will digitise the archives of Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR). “We are digitising it and we have already issued an expression of interest and six companies have already shown interest,” he said.

The best of the programmes in the archives can be clubbed together, rebranded and even put on even on the mobile apps, he added. He further stated that Doordarshan has three lakh hours of content.

On the issue of allowing news on FM radio, the minister said, “The issue is of the news, and we have said to start with AIR news. People thought it has to be only a clip from AIR news, so AIR bulletins in the same voice.”

Also read:

How DAS deadline extension can impact broadcasters

MIB notifies new DAS deadline, Phase 3 and 4 extended