Government rules out FDI in FM sector

NEW DELHI: The move will disappoint private players, but the government has formally ruled out any possibility of foreign investment in the private FM radio sector.

"No," was the cryptic reply from information and broadcasting minister Jaipal Reddy to a question posed by, today, on whether the government would allow foreign direct investment in the sector.

One of the suggestions of the sector regulator, based on feedback from the stakeholders, was that the government could review the foreign investment norms for the FM radio sector.

At the moment, foreign investors are barred from this segment, while foreign financial institutions can invest in FM radio ventures as per Reserve bank of India guidelines pertaining to the sector.

The I&B ministry has also sent back its views on a set of suggestions on FM radio expansion to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), saying "certain points need to be discussed further."

It is interesting to note that officially the government has not taken a view on Trai's recommendations for either the FM radio sector or those pertaining to TV broadcast, DTH, conditional access, etc.

Speaking to on the sidelines of the Economic Editors' conference here today, Reddy added that some other recommendations of the broadcast and cable regulator relating to FM radio are being discussed with Trai.

Asked whether the government would accept a Trai suggestion on migration of private FM radio players from a licence regime to revenue sharing, Reddy said, "All I can say at this moment is that it's under consideration."

According to Reddy, the ministry would try to get cabinet clearance on various issues relating to FM radio broadcasting in a couple of weeks.

"The second phase of expansion of FM radio is in a fairly advanced stage and we are likely to seek Cabinet approval (on some issues) in the next two weeks," Reddy said.

In this connection, the ministry would also speak to a merchant banker to help it out with financial issues relating to the sector.

Pointing out that the merchant banker would be finalised over the "next few days," Reddy said, "We want to avoid the financial pitfalls (faced by the earlier government) and the merchant banker would be able to guide us properly."

The minister earlier had observed that despite the radio revolution being started by the previous government, certain policy decisions had impeded the growth of FM radio as well as community radio services.

With a view to kickstart the community radio services, which have failed to take off because of prohibitive policy guidelines, Reddy said the government is looking at "re-framing the guidelines" for such radio services.

"We are talking to other ministries like home and telecommunication, but we feel that the community radio guidelines need to rationalised as, at present, they are too restrictive," Reddy explained.

The government is of the opinion that if the right type of investment climate is created, there is scope yet for about 400 and 4,000 private FM and community radio stations, respectively in the country.

Latest Reads
TRAI, European regulator BERC sign net neutrality MoU

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) on Thursday signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" (MoU) on net nuetrality. The MoU, signed by TRAI chairman Ram Sewak Sharma and BEREC chair Johannes Gungl, also adopted a "Joint...

Regulators TRAI
ISRO/DoS relent on use of foreign satellites; MIB starts processing applications

MUMBAI: India’s Department of Space, overseeing the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), has eased up on its hitherto hard stance on Indian TV channels and teleports using foreign satellites’ capacity --- if the Indian customer has a long-term contract. In a communication to Ministry of...

Regulators I&B Ministry
RS Prasad launches Wi-Fi choupal project

NEW DELHI: The Indian government on Monday said that 5,000 villages would be turned into digital villages where Internet services would be offered the Wi-Fi Choupal project, which would go a long in empowering people as also expose them to a host of e-governance and entertainment services.  

Regulators I&B Ministry
MIB & Prasar Bharati make up, sign agreement on funds’ release

After lot of heartburning and media statements, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Ministry and Prasar Bharati, which runs Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR), have inked an agreement that was required for the release of financial allocation to the pubcaster, PTI reported today quoting...

Regulators I&B Ministry
TRAI stands up to DoT on use of foreign satellites for comms services on aircrafts

India’s telecoms and broadcast regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India today stood up again for the lawful right of satellite industry stakeholders. It reiterated that the nation’s policies and guidelines for on- board aircraft communications services like broadband should also allow use...

Regulators TRAI
MIB social media monitoring cell tender deadline extended

NEW DELHI: The Big Brother has arrived? Well the Indian government, being accused of proposing to unleash a surveillance of citizens, has gone in for another extension of the deadline seeking vendors for technical and logistics help to set up such a center.

Regulators I&B Ministry
MIB's new secy Amit Khare joins office

NEW DELHI: In what could be termed as challenging times, Amit Khare (third from left in the pix) yesterday assumed charge as secretary in the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting on superannuation of Narendra Kumar Sinha.

Regulators People
Star files caveat in Supreme Court on TRAI tariff order

So the slugfest on the pricing of digital television in India is entering the next round. And it is Star India which has approached the Supreme Court and filed a caveat with it on the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)’s tariff regulations and more specifically on the 15 per cent issue...

Regulators Supreme Court
HC orders stay on MIB's licence cancellation directive to Alliance Broadcasting

MUMBAI: The Delhi High Court has ordered a stay on a Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) directive to a channel where it had withdrawn the channel’s licence stating that it lacked security clearance.

Regulators High Court

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories