With Prasar Bharati setting a 2017 deadline for itself to shift completely to digital mode, it might not be possible to implement the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (TRAI) recommendation to phase out analogue television by 2013, according to Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni.

“Doordarshan is actively converting to digital,” Ms. Soni said, noting that the government had sanctioned over Rs.1,500 crore to digitalise both Doordarshan and All India Radio under the 11th Plan. However, since this involved a timetable lasting till 2017, she felt the recommendations submitted by TRAI on Thursday may not be immediately viable.

“We have been asking TRAI to allow DTH [Direct-to-Home] operators to offer HITS [Head-end in the Sky],” Ms. Soni said, speaking to TheHindu on the sidelines of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) convocation here on Friday. “If it is somehow possible for cable operators to go digital without too much expenditure, then we can do it…It is a matter of the last mile,” she added.

Speaking at the IIMC convocation, Ms. Soni said four new IIMCs would be set up next year. The government has acquired 15 acres of land for each of the campuses, to be located in Jammu and Kashmir, Mizoram, Maharashtra and Kerala.

There are also plans to make the existing one-year diploma programme into a two-year degree course, and to start new courses in developmental journalism and corporate communications.

Keywords: TRAI deadlineDDAIRIMC