Transponder rentals: Prior MIB approval not needed for EEFC forex payments

MUMBAI: India’s ministry of information & broadcasting (MIB) has eased rules for broadcasters and teleport owners making foreign currency payments for transponder rentals for uplinking to foreign satellites. It has issued a notice that allows them to make payments from their Exchange Earners’ Foreign Currency (EEFC) accounts to them without approaching it for approval.

The notice reiterates that “all broadcast companies and teleport operators, as per MIB's advisory dated 25 June 2014, are advised to strictly follow the guidelines under provisions of the FEMA Act 1999 read with Master Circular No. 6/2014-15 dated 1 July 2014 along with Schedule II thereof issued by RBI. Proposals seeking prior approval would require to be sent to this Ministry only if the proposed remittance is from other than EEFC accounts.”

According to the provisions, it requires prior approval of the MIB for making remittance of foreign exchange towards availing transponder services on foreign satellite for up-linking of TV Channels/Teleport services/DSNG Operations/Temporary events. Rule 4 of Master Circular provides that, "No person shall draw foreign exchange for a transaction included in the Schedule II without prior approval of the Government of India.

However, a specific exemption is provided for EEFC account holders. Rule 6 (l) of Master Circular states that, "Nothing contained in the Rule 4 or Rule 5 shall 'apply to drawl made out' of funds held in Exchange Earners' Foreign Currency (EEFC) account of the remitter," according to the notice signed by under-secretary to the government of India Manmeet Kaur.

In the past, the ministry had been entertaining such cases where payments (usually, part payments) were being made from this account, and then issuing approval for remittances proposed to be made from other than EEFC Account.

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