Delhi: A fresh approval of the union cabinet will be sought
for the maiden e-auction of Phase III of FM Radio licences
as certain new aspects have come to light after the earlier
Information and Broadcasting Ministry has prepared a note
that encompasses the news aspects and circulated it to the
concerned ministries/departments for their views, before it
is put up for approval of the cabinet in the next few weeks.
Information and Broadcasting ministry has said issues such
as charging of migration fee from existing permission holders,
and specific departures in the Requests for Proposals (RFP)
from agencies interested in conducting the e-auction on behalf
of the ministry, had not been taken into account when the
cabinet approval for the Phase III auctions were obtained
on 7 July last year.
issues relating to the e-auction were pointed out by the inter-ministerial
committee set up in November last year and headed by the then
additional secretary in the I&B Ministry Rajiv Takroo.
nine-member committee, with I&B joint secretary - broadcasting
Supriya Sahu as the member-secretary, was set up to 'guide
and supervise the process of e-auction and grant of licences
to private parties' in Phase III.
the ministry has decided to commence work on the e-auctions
and has called for tenders. The pre-qualification of the bidders
is expected to be completed in about another two months, following
which the companies that qualify will be allowed to participate
in the e-auction for FM radio Phase III licences. The e-auction
is expected to begin early next year.
Phase III Policy will extend FM radio services to about 227
new cities with a total of 839 new FM radio channels in 294
cities. A total of 216 cities and towns will get private FM
radio stations for the first time, out of the 302 identified
by the government and split into four categories.
Phase III, 67 of the 86 cities and towns which already have
private FM Radio channels will get additional channels. All
cities with a population of 100,000 and above are entitled
to get private FM radio channels in Phase III auctions.
committee was expected to finalise and seek approval for the
Request for Proposal document for selection of agency for
conducting the e-auction, review the auction framework, finalise
the auction documentation, conduct and oversee open house
sessions for stakeholders, and guide the agency selected for
separate Appellate Review Committee was also set up to scrutinize
the short-listing of prospective bidders headed by the Additional
Secretary and Financial Advisor in the I&B ministry. This
committee will scrutinize various details including the net
worth of prospective bidders and put them up on the ministry
website, scrutinize bank guarantees and oversee the other
work in that connection.
FM Radio broadcasters in North East (NE) Region and Jammu
& Kashmir (J&K) and Island territories will be required
to pay half the rate of annual license fee for an initial
period of three years from the date from which the annual
license fee becomes payable and the permission period of fifteen
years begins. The revised fee structure has also been made
applicable for a period of three years, from the date of issuance
of guidelines, to the existing operators in these states to
enable them to effectively compete with the new operators.
from the fee relaxation, Prasar Bharati infrastructure would
be made available at half the lease rentals for similar category
cities in such areas. The limit on the ownership of channels,
at the national level, allocated to an entity has been retained
at 15 per cent. However, channels allotted in Jammu &
Kashmir, North Eastern States and island territories will
be allowed over and above the 15 per cent national limit to
incentivise the bidding for channels in such areas.
total of 245 FM channels are currently operational in 87 cities,
each with a population of over 300,000 or more.
All India Radio (AIR) is working on a plan to increase the
coverage of its FM Radio channels from 37 to 90 per cent of
the population, in a modernisation programme undertaken since
2011 and expected to be completed by 2016. AIR has already
covered 99 per cent of the population with its analogue technology