Nripendra Misra's three-year stint as chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) will be remembered for a host of recommendations and a number of controversies. Controversial issues like the conditional access system, non-CAS pricing kept Misra, who retires as Trai chairman on March 22, 2009, in the news.
Misra's tenure will be remembered most for the pricing formula in the CAS areas of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, tariff order for broadcasters in the non-CAS areas and the interconnection agreement for direct-to-home operators, among others.
Under Misra, Trai fixed the upper ceiling of Rs 5 per pay channel in the CAS areas, much to the opposition of broadcasters. Also, fixing an overall pricing mechanism for the DTH operators was devised under his tenure.
Also to Misra's credit is submitting a record 15 recommendations to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, of which only one -- on Internet Protocol Television -- has been accepted and implemented. The telecom regulatory authority also issued over 30 consultation papers for the cable and broadcast sector. Because of which, Trai came under criticism from companies for not being effective, even though it had gone on an overdrive in the past three years, said industry sources.
"The job of Trai ends with the submission of final recommendation to the ministry concerned. And that is what we do," a senior Trai official said in response to the industry-criticism on being ineffective in getting the recommendations converted into action.
However, it's not just Misra whose tenure at Trai will end this month. The term of RN Choubey, the current principal advisor for broadcasting and cable services will also end on March 16. "There is a lot of work pending with Trai and we hope that people replacing Misra and Choubey will be as effective, if not more," said a senior executive from the cable industry.