Wednesday, Apr 13, 2005
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By Our Special Correspondent
NEW DELHI, APRIL 12. The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has proposed permissions for 20 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in the private FM (frequency modulation) radio sector but its position remains unchanged so far as the ban on airing of news and current affairs programmes by this sector is concerned.
At present, only foreign institutional investors (FII) investment up to 20 per cent of the equity capital is allowed in any private FM radio company, while FDI is not permitted.
"We have formalised the policy package for private FM radio and sent it to various ministries for obtaining their views, before taking it to the Cabinet," the Information and Broadcasting Minister, S. Jaipal Reddy, said today while talking to media persons on the sidelines of a conference organised by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham).
He said that his ministry had decided to restrict the FDI level at the existing FII cap. He, however, made it clear that the Government was not open to the idea of allowing news and current affairs on private FM radio. "There are certain reservations, especially on the front on cross-media ownership," he said.
The broadcast regulator, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), had also earlier favoured allowing FDI in private FM radio while making its recommendations on "Licensing Issues Relating to II Phase of Private FM Radio Broadcasting". It had pointed out that 20 per cent FDI is allowed in DTH (direct-to-home) and 49 per cent in the cable television industry and suggested review of the policy in a holistic manner and bringing about greater consistency in the rules for various segments.
Mr. Reddy had earlier this month announced that the ministry had agreed to a revenue-share model for private FM radio instead of the existing licence fee regime which made the business unsustainable.
To provide for liberal shooting conditions abroad at subsidised tariffs for Indian filmmakers, the ministry was all set to sign Co-Production Agreements with Italy followed by France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Singapore.
The Ministry would initiate for a policy decision for creation of a "single window system" with the Centre, the National Capital Region (NCR) Government of Delhi and other states so that film makers, both domestic and foreign, can obtain permission for shooting films at locations of their choice, Mr. Reddy said.
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