DTH: Tatas, Sun got preference for satellite capacity, says PAC note

AM JIGEESH New Delhi | Updated on January 24, 2018

Calls for a transparent policy for allocation of satellite capacity

An internal note circulated in the Public Accounts Committee, which will become the basis of its draft report, has questioned the United Progressive Alliance Government for favouring the Tatas and the Sun Group in the allocation of satellite capacity for Direct-to-Home (DTH) services.

The note, seen by BusinessLine, states that despite being fifth in order of preference for allocation of satellite capacity, Tata Sky was chosen over Doordarshan. It also questions the commitment of the first right of refusal given to Tata Sky by the Ministry.

Loss to the exchequer

The note adds that the Centre’s agreement with Sun DTH had resulted in a loss to the exchequer, and recommended that the matter be further probed by the Centre.

The views expressed in the note are broadly in line with those of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its report ‘Management of Satellite Capacity for DTH Services.’ In it, the CAG had pulled up both the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Ministry of Space.

The PAC’s sub-committee on infrastructure, headed by Trinamool Congress leader Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, will study the report in detail.

The CAG audit had found that the Department of Space failed to realise the fulfill potential of the communication satellites. It said that foreign satellites are now providing 75 per cent of the transponder services to Indian channels. “The Department may explain why this was not anticipated,” the note said. Saying that the job of allocation, which was to be done by an inter-ministerial committee, was undertaken by the Department of Space, it concludes that “the other ministries in the committee owe an explanation as to why they did not object to this practice of the Department of Space.”

Published on February 13, 2015

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