Information & Broadcasting Secretary Uday Kumar Varma asserted today that the government is firm on the March 31 deadline of the phase II of digitisation in 38 towns.

Digitisation is happening smoothly. We have achieved 60 percent digitisation in the second phase. Subsequent to March 31, the process will be irreversible,” he said. Varma was addressing the valedictory function of the 14th edition of Ficci-Frames 2013, the annual convention of the Media and Entertainment (M&E) industry here in Mumbai organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

Control room for a smoother digitisation (Image credit: Getty Images)

Not pushing the deadline ahead (Image credit: Getty Images)

Varma said that out of the 38 cities that are going digital in second phase as many as 10 cities have achieved 75 percent digitisation. “Only four cities have been slow in implementing digitisation and have achieved only 30 percent,” he said.

Speaking about meeting the demand of set-top boxes (STBs), Varma said that only six million are yet to be installed. “Out of 16 million STBs that are to be installed, 10 million have already been installed while six million are yet to be installed. However, we are confident that these will be installed within the deadline,” he said.

Varma also said that the industry needs to keep the spirit of alignment to take the digitisation to its logical conclusion. “Digitisation will correct the aberrations of business model in the broadcasting industry and usher in era of transparency,” he said on a positive note.

Speaking on another initiative by the ministry, Varma said that the ministry is planning to set up 839 radio FM channels in 495 cities in the next one-year and that they have already started with the process of recruiting relevant e-auctioneers who will prepare the information memorandum.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari who was supposed the valedictory function earlier, however, addressed the audience through a recorded message.


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