TDP MPs meet PM to protest DTH LoI for Space TV

NEW DELHI: There is some opposition brewing to the information and broadcasting ministry's recent issuance of a conditional letter of intent (LoI) to Star India-promoted Space TV for starting a KU-band direct-to-home (DTH) operations in India.

A Telegu Desam Party (TDP) delegation, led by Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Indian parliament) member C Ramachandraiah, today met Prime Minister AB Vajpayee and submitted a memorandum to him decrying issuance of the LoI in "violation of the foreign equity guidelines finalised and approved by the Union cabinet."

The delegation, which comprised about 12 TDP Members of Parliament, brought to the notice of the PM an issue that they said was bothering them.

Those who were part of the TDP delegation included Ramachanandraiah, who is also the chairman of the parliamentary standing commiteee on science and tech, environment and forest, Yera Naidu, Aladi Rajkumar, Kala Venkatrao, Laljain Bashe, BK Parthasarthy and K Balakrishnamurthy.

Since we at indiantelevision don't take sides and let readers judge for themselves, we reproduce a copy of the memo that has been presented to the PM.


Dear Shri Vajpayeeji,

A mutiny in our mind, compels us to intrude on your valuable time and make this representation because we feel that when an irregularity of this nature and magnitude occurs, silence becomes a crime. The matter relates to the issue of letter of approval by the Ministry of I&B to M/s Space TV Private Limited, Mumbai (Space TV) for the grant of DTH licence in total violation of the foreign equity guidelines finalised and approved by the Union Cabinet under your leadership. We hope and trust that keeping in view the larger interest of our country you will take appropriate remedial action immediately.

On the 9th May 2003, the matter was raised and discussed in the Rajya Sabha when members, cutting across party lines, brought to the notice of the Minister of I&B various lapses committed by his ministry in considering the case of Space TV for the grant of DTH licence without the applicant company fulfilling the foreign equity eligibility criterion laid down in the DTH guidelines. These guidelines stipulate, inter-alia, that in order to be eligible for the grant of DTH licence the applicant must have an overall foreign equity limit of 49 per cent out of which the FDI component should not exceed 20 per cent. Space TV did not fulfil this condition and does not do it even today and yet on the 9th instant the Ministry issued, as per un-denied press reports, the letter of approval for the issue of Letter of Intent (LoI).

In reply to a reference from the Ministry of I&B, Ministry of Finance has categorically stated that the total equity in Space TV is foreign and cannot be considered against domestic equity. Of course the Ministry of Finance has left it to the administrative ministry, i.e. the Ministry of I&B, to decide at what stage this condition shall be enforced. This observation of Ministry of Finance in leaving to the Ministry of I&B the decision on the timing of enforcement of the foreign equity conditions, is in the nature of obiter dicta.

It under no circumstances can supersede the basic eligibility guidelines approved by the Union Cabinet which lays down that all eligibility criteria should be fulfilled before the letter of approval is granted to the applicant company. In his reply, during the discussion in the Rajya Sabha, the Minister of I&B conveniently avoided giving any answer to this point, as he did with many other significant queries germane to this issue. He however categorically assured the House that Space TV shall not be issued any DTH licence without following the guidelines strictly. Within a few hours of this assurance, an approval letter was given to Space TV regarding the Ministry's willingness to issue a DTH licence to it.

The Minister never disclosed to the august House that an approval letter was going to be issued shortly or is ready for issuance, despite categorical and repeated questioning by the members. This is a very serious lapse on the part of the Minister and raises a very serious question mark on the credibility of our parliamentary process.

This approval letter cannot be issued till all the eligibility criteria are fulfilled by the applicant as per the Ministry's DTH guidelines. Space TV does not fulfil the most important criterion of foreign equity and yet approval letter has been issued. This letter is null and void ab-initio and we request you to intervene and ensure cancellation of this letter immediately.

The DTH guidelines approved by the Union Cabinet under your leadership, we presume, are intended to preserve the security and cultural heritage, of our country from the invasion of the West so that India may uniquely develop on the strength of her own genius. As Gandhiji observed: "I would like to keep the windows wide open on all sides and welcome all noble ideas but I would refuse to be swept off my feet under foreign influence."

Our appeal to you Mr Prime Minister is that let this noble idea of the Father of the Nation be our polestar in the country's relentless march to progress. Let us not succumb to foreign influences after 55 years of independence. Therefore, please intervene and order withdrawal of the illegitimately issued approval letter to Space TV for the grant of DTH licence.

Latest Reads
Content a 'Game of Thrones'; AT&T's control over HBO, Cartoon Network, Warner Bros faces regulatory lens

The global media landscape is resulting in a new juggernaut as an internet and cable behemoth yesterday purchased an entertainment conglomerate making the former unmatched in its size and reach to consumers through home broadband, smartphones, satellite television and a battery of movies and cable...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
US$ 4.5 bn expected from IPL rights; SC recommends accounts scrutiny

The Supreme Court on Friday froze all financial transactions between the BCCI and state cricket associations by directing the apex body not to disburse any funds till it resolves to abide by the Justice RM Lodha panel recommendations on reforms by 3 December . The top court ordered that none of...

Television TV Channels Sports
TVS Tyres is co-presenter for Asian Champions Trophy 2016

Continuing its strong connect with sports, TVS Tyres has associated with Asian Champions Trophy 2016 by becoming the co-presenter. The Asian Champions Trophy is one of the premier hockey tournaments, a much sought after annual international competition promising some great hockey action. This...

Television TV Channels Sports
Q2-17: Zee Learn declares maiden interim dividend

The board of directors of the Essel group’s education company Zee Learn Limited (ZLL) have declared a first time ever dividend of 5 percent per equity share of Re 1 each for the quarter ended 30 September 2016 (Q2-17, current quarter).

Television TV Channels Factual & Documentary
Whether BARC action can stop unethical practices?

MUMBAI: Can businesses and industries practise their art of selling fairly although they have 'Fair Practices' training during academic courses, workshops and several ISO and other certifications? There seems to be the fear of the lawman, and not the law in India. If the traffic cop is watching,...

Television TV Channels Viewership
TV Superhighway: beIN, Yaddo, AfricaXP have joined us, says Magine CEO Ambuj Goyal

CANNES; Magine has secured partnerships with four of the industry’s most exciting sports, documentary and entertainment content providers. Partnerships with beIN, the international media group and owner of MIRAMAX; Yaddo, the new documentary streaming service headed up by former head of The BBC’s...

Television TV Channels Factual & Documentary
Colors emerges strong on strength of Naagin I & II

MUMBAI: One of the top rated shows Naagin Season 2 helped Colors reach a top-ranking position.

Television TV Channels GECs
Pakistan Broadcasters Association to oppose PEMRA Indian content ban

MUMBAI: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) shocked both Pakistan and Indian broadcasters when it issued an order blanking out  all Indian content from Pakistan’s television channels on 19 October.

Television TV Channels GECs
Sony Pix to telecast 'Jurassic World' on 22 October

Sony Pix will take the viewers on a thrilling, adventurous journey with cloned dinosaurs in their Billion Dollar Premiere property. The channel plans to air Jurassic World on 22 October at 1 pm and 9 pm.

Television TV Channels English Entertainment

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories