Govt consitutes a committee for FM second phase

NEW DELHI: The government has constituted a committee to make recommendations for the second phase of opening up FM radio broadcasting to the private participation. 

The committee will submit its report by 30 September. The terms of reference of the panel, inter alia, will determine a transparent and effective bidding/ auction process to be adopted for allotment of frequencies, assessment of a viable licence fee structure for various cities and suggestions regarding extent of foreign equity participation to make the business more viable.

At present, only portfolio investments by foreign institutional investors, permissible under Reserve Bank of India regulations, are allowed in private FM radio ventures.

The other terms of reference for the committee would be:

* To study the desirability and legal implications of making modifications in the licensing regime of phase one licences. Should a different licencing regime be proposed for phase two?

* Examining the possibility of having non-commercial; non-advertisement driven channels to be operated/licenced by the same commercial broadcasters.

* Suggestions for improvement in the content being broadcast and considering the inclusion of news.

* Recommendations for a code of conduct in the programming matters and method of strict enforcement in case of violations.

*Assessing whether co-locating transmitters is necessary and desirable and if found otherwise, the approach to be adopted.

* Determining legal implications of the regime that may be proposed vis-?-vis the existing one.

* Formulating draft bidding documents and contract / licence agreement.

To be chaired by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industries (Ficci) secretary-general Amit Mitra, the 10-member panel would include Confederation of Indian Industry's Dilip Chennoy, Nasscom president Kiran Karnik, radio personality Ameen Sayani, wireless advisor P K Garg, All India Radio's engineer-in-chief K M Paul, Becil CMD KRP Verma and lawyer Shardul Shroff, apart from a government representative.

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