Daily Editorial Analysis for 06th January 2023

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Towards making India an uplinking hub


  • There have been two major developments in the television industry in India in the last two years.

What are the Developments?

  • In 2021, the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994, were amended to include a statutory mechanism for redressal of grievances and complaints of viewers relating to content broadcast by television channels in accordance with the provisions of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995.
  • In 2022, the Union Cabinet approved the policy guidelines for the uplinking and downlinking of television channels from India.

About uplinking and downlinking

  • An uplink refers to the link from a ground station up to a satellite,
  • A downlink is the link from a satellite down to one or more ground stations or receivers.

Importance of these developments 

  • The amended Cable Television Network Rules bring in a strong institutional system for redressing grievances and make broadcasters and their self-regulating bodies accountable and responsible.
  • The policy guidelines for uplinking and downlinking are aimed at making India the hub of uplinking as they allow Indian teleports to uplink foreign channels.

An expensive and cumbersome affair

  • For almost three decades after television started in India in September 1959, broadcasting was solely under the control of the state.
  • In the early 1990s, there was a surge in transmission and broadcasting from foreign satellites in India.
  • In the early 1990s, cable television arrived in India unannounced. The government was unprepared to check transmission and broadcast through foreign satellites. Cable television networks mushroomed haphazardly, and foreign television networks invaded our culture through their programmes.
  • In order to regulate this burgeoning cable network industry and to make registration of cable operators mandatory, the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 was brought in.
  • But it was only in 2000 that the first license to set up a teleport — an earth station facility from where TV signals can be uplinked to a geostationary satellite — was granted.
  • The country’s first private television channel Zee TV was started in October 1992.
  • In the next few years, Business India Television; Asia Television Network, which was mainly a Hindi feature film channel; and Jain TV also began operating.
  • All these channels flew out tapes every day to Hong Kong, Singapore or Moscow for uplinking.

Setting up earth stations

  • Later, uplinking began on Indian soil through Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL).
  • The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB), Government of India, notified the ‘Guidelines for Uplinking from India’ in July 2000 and private broadcasters got permission to set up their own earth stations and to uplink.
  • The first license was given to TV Today Network Limited in November 2000 and the broadcaster started a 24X7 Hindi news channel, Aaj Tak, from December 31, 2000.
  • Aaj Tak became the first Indian private television channel to uplink signals from its own earth station.
  • The MIB issued uplinking and downlinking policy guidelines in 2011 for private satellite TV channels and teleports.
  • The Ministry published the draft policy guidelines on April 30, 2020, and invited comments and suggestions from stakeholders within 15 days.
  • After considering the comments and suggestions, the policy guidelines for uplinking and downlinking of television channels from India were notified on November 9, 2022.


The guidelines aim to create a conducive environment in line with the principle of ease of doing business on a sound regulatory framework. But more importantly, these are aimed at making India a teleport hub for other countries.

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