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Further delay in Indian CAS rollout will affect indigenisation of STBs: Standing Committee on IT

NEW DELHI: The Standing Committee on Information Technology is concerned about the delay in the rollout of indigenous conditional access system (DAS).

The committee has cautioned the Department of Electronics & Information Technology (DeitY) that any further delay in the rollout will be detrimental to the indigenisation of set-top boxes (STBs). It has directed DeitY to inform the committee about the new rollout date.

Bengaluru-based By Design India has been shortlisted for the development and implementation of the India CAS in association with the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), the R&D wing of DeitY.

In its 22nd report, which was presented to both houses of Parliament on 22 December 2015, the committee noted that it was informed by DeitY that the review and steering group constituted to review the progress of CAS was held on 18 February 2015 and 30 June 2015, and that the progress made by By Design India and C-DAC in the project was found to be satisfactory.

During the examination of the demands for grants (2014–15), the Committee had told DeitY to make all efforts to ensure that the rollout of the Indian CAS system takes place by the targeted timeline of November 2015 since the first instalment of DeitY’s support amount has already been released to By Design India.

“However, as the November deadline is already over, the Committee apprehends that the Department has no choice but to defer the scheduled rollout of the Indian variant of CAS to a future date. The Committee once again emphasises and reiterates that time is running out for the Indian version of CAS to be developed and released to the market, and that any further deferring of deadline for the final rollout is detrimental to indigenisation of the system. The Department may apprise the Committee of the fresh deadline for rolling out of the Indian CAS,” the committee noted in its report.

The Committee noted that for promoting indigenous manufacturing of STBs the government has taken several fiscal initiatives such as imposition of basic customs duty (BCD) of 10% on import of STBs, extending the facility of Form C to STB manufacturers who had to pay CST equivalent to VAT rate (12.5%) and compulsory registration order for compliance to safety standards for curbing the inflow of sub-standard STBs.