India’s Information & Broadcasting minister, Manish Tewari has told cable operators that any delay to the fast-approaching March 31st digital deadline for India’s largest cities will be harmful.
Tewari, who was appointed to the job just hours ahead of India’s phase-1 D-Day (a process which did not go wholly to plan) says any relaxing of this Phase II deadline must be resisted. Speaking at a New Delhi conference on education, Tewari said he was under extreme pressure to allow the Phase 1 date to slip. “But we decided that we would stay the course. I knew the pitfalls of reneging on deadline and the implications it has on the entire process,” he added.
He explained that with the benefit of hindsight he would have preferred a “social contract” between all stakeholders in the digitisation process, rather than forcing the changes by means of laws. “A social contract would have been possibly the most consensual way of taking this course forward. But the government in its wisdom thought it will do it in a legal compact by mandating it,” Tewari said.
Now, however, lessons had been learned, and all stakeholders, broadcasters, MSOs, local cable operators and consumers, were better informed. “No stakeholder in this process should feel shortchanged and that’s a responsibility that the industry has to take upon itself so that all the stakeholders are on board and it’s a win-win situation for all,” Tewari said.