New Delhi: Government has declared set-top boxes (STBs) as telecom network equipment, a move that will help domestic manufacturers produce them at more competitive prices by availing tax exemptions.

Information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar says that there are Indian manufacturers who produce high-quality STBs for export to other countries such as US and efforts would be made to encourage them to produce for domestic consumption. “We have already declared set-top box as a telecom network equipment," he told PTI. The government is aiming to digitize the cable sector in the country by the end of this year which requires installation of STBs in cable TV homes.

However, in the first two phases of digitization, most of the STBs used had to be imported. Javadekar said that he has spoken to minister for communication and information technology Ravi Shankar Prasad on the issue of declaring STBs as telecom network equipment, which will enable domestic producers to produce them at more competitive prices.

“Now what we have done that is the beauty of the Modi government. Earlier there used to be eGoMs for all inter-ministerial issues. Here we just call each other, meet with officials concerned and in one meeting it was decided.

“And telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was kind enough to give immediate sanction and clarification that set-top box is a telecom network equipment. And so it is there, now they will get the benefit of “C" form as other telecom equipment. So it is a big boost," Javadekar said.

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