Right from the time he took over, Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Prakash Javadekar has been concerned with the question why Digitisation at such a large scale was undertaken without the support of indigenous manufacturing of STBs. He has been putting all his mind to increase the production of indigenous set top boxes (STBs) so that Indian consumers stop using low-grade imported STBs as digitisation grows in the country.
The Minister has said while announcing the achievements of his Ministry in the first 100 days of Modi Government that he had called a meeting of manufacturers first on 21 June and then in mid-August to find out how to boost the indigenous production. He was surprised to learn that good quality Indian STBs were not only being made but were being exported to developed countries including USA and Europe.
To reduce the burden of taxes, he made the government declare STBs as telecom equipment, eligible for all duty exemptions on electronic components like the telecom equipment, reducing the cost to end consumer.
He therefore wondered why multi-system operators and local cable operators only installed imported STBs for which there was no arrangement for servicing.
According to Javadekar another 120 million homes have to be covered by digital addressable system (DAS) by the end of 2016 and he prefers that they all install Indian STBs. This will not only help the manufacturing sector but help consumers too with better after-sales service.
The I&B minister said the country had capabilities which were not being used and added that there needs to be some kind of incentivisation of indigenisation effort in Digitisation.
He said that considering the slow progress in the process of digitisation, government has already announced that Phase III of digitisation will be completed by December 2015 instead of December 2014 and the final phase by December 2016. He assured that the new government will take quick action to overcome the delays.
Minister said that earlier there used to be EGoMs for all inter- ministerial issues and we found out that lot of time was wasted in decision making. Now we just call each other, meet with officials concerned and in one meeting it gets decided.