Regulators

Govt examining proposal to relax FDI norms in Print Media

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Image Source: financialexpress

NEW DELHI: After a recent slew of relaxations relating to foreign investment norms, the PM Narendra Modi-led government is said to be considering a proposal to liberalise investment levels in print media.

Quoting unnamed Finance Ministry officials, Bloomberg reported that the ministry is of the view that foreign investment norms in India’s print media could be raised from the present 26 per cent to 49 per cent, bringing it at par with norms for TV news segment.

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) under the Commerce Ministry will take a final call on the matter, the Bloomberg report quoted the government officials as saying.

Though, foreign investment in India’s print media sector is limited, but from time to time global giants like News Corp, having widespread interest in media, have evinced interest in investing here but stopped short because of restrictive policies and an inherent opposition from big Indian media groups.

In June 2016, the government had liberalised foreign investment norms in many sectors including airlines, retail, defence and TV broadcast carriage services like DTH, HITS, teleports, etc.

Recently, a delegation of  US-India Business Council (USIBC), which included some broadcast companies, had petitioned the Commerce Ministry to relax foreign investment levels in electronic news media that stands at 49 per cent at present, but just shy of giving majority controlling stake to any foreign entity.

Interestingly, in January 2015, the then Minister of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) and present Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had opined that restrictions on foreign investment limit in print media need to be debated afresh.

Delivering the inaugural JS Verma memorial lecture, organised by News Broadcasters’ Association (NBA), Jaitley had said the practicality of FDI norms in print media should be examined anew in a spreading digital age when such limits are becoming irrelevant as news products are increasingly being made available on the Internet.

Finance Minister Jaitley’s forward-looking views on foreign investment norms in India’s print sector --- and media in general --- could be viewed at

and 

Are such proposals under study a precursor to relaxations for TV news channels too?

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