Cetma appeals for quick roll-out of CAS

Cetma appeals for quick roll-out of CAS

Sushma Swaraj

NEW DELHI: Consumer Electronics and TV Manufacturers Association (Cetma), an apex body of electronics goods makers in the country, today exhorted the government to ensure a quick roll-out of conditional access system (CAS), as it would enable the viewers to pay less for their monthly cable bill.

"CAS implementation would put India on the world map of digital television - for what may probably be the largest digital roll-out in the world," Catma secretary general Suresh Khanna said in a press release issued here.

Cetma has also appealed to the state and central governments to lessen the burden on consumers by waiving service and entertainment taxes for those who opt only for basic tier at Rs 72 (excluding local taxes) per month.

Further making a case for CAS rollout, Khanna was quoted in the statement as saying, "In the end, consumers get what they want at a reasonable rate. It is a transparent system, where by all the stakeholders - that is, the broadcasters, multi-system operators (MSOs) and cable operators get their fair share."

Cetma had strongly lobbied for CAS when the issue was being debated last year and had also assured the then information and broadcasting minister Sushma Swaraj that once addressability became common and demand for set-top boxes picked up, local manufacturers would be able to supply the boxes at cheap rates. The rates could be as low as Rs 1,500, they had stated.

Cetma had also given a working paper to Swaraj, who had used the data very effectively to have the necessary amendments related to CAS steam-rolled through the Parliament, last year.

Many Cetma members, notably Thomson Electronics India, have been on various panels set up for CAS and also on a panel of the Bureau of Indian Standards where the technical specifications and standards for boxes for CAS and KU-band direct-to-home (DTH) television service were discussed.

However, contrary to Cetma's assertions, very few companies operating in India have come out with plans to manufacture the boxes locally. All of them had cited reasons of uncertainty over CAS for deferring their plans, if any.